Student Recipes: Vegetarian Katsu Curry

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Humanity Hallows Issue 6 Out Now
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By Hannah Reeves

When I decided to go vegetarian for good just over a year ago, I was devastated at the thought of never eating chicken katsu curry again. The Japanese dish was one of my favourites, especially from the chain restaurant Wasabi, so I scoured the internet looking for a meat-free alternative. This recipe is the result of that, and many tests runs on friends and family. It substitutes the chicken for breaded aubergine and courgette (sweet potato also works well) and the chicken stock for vegetable stock.

This is not exactly a budget recipe, but definitely a lot cheaper than eating at a restaurant.

Ingredients (for 2 people, 3 if you skimp on servings!)

For an alternative to breaded chicken:

  • One large aubergine, chopped into 1/2 cm slices
  • 1 large or 2 smaller courgettes, cut to a similar width and at an angle, so you get the most surface area
  • 2 eggs (Or egg substitute, this is the only part that makes the recipe non-vegan)
  • Flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Any breadcrumbs you fancy. Recipes recommend Panko, but I couldn’t find them anywhere so settled for Tesco’s own natural breadcrumbs
  • Oil of your choice to shallow fry the breaded vegetables

For the sauce:

  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour (plain or self-raising are fine, I generally don’t see a difference when I’ve used self-raising, it’s all I had in the cupboard)
  • 1 tablespoon mild/medium curry powder
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

To serve:

  • Boiled Japanese sushi rice, 250g usually works for 2 people

I highly suggest making the sauce then setting it to the side to heat up later if you’re cooking this on your own. You will find yourself cooking the sauce and rice while also shallow frying the veg and that’s just not fun.

For the sauce:

  • Fry off the onions and garlic cloves for around 2 minutes.
  • Throw in the carrots and leave to cook on a low heat for 10 minutes with the lid on until everything is softened and starting to caramelise. You will have to stir it every so often.
  • Next, stir in flour and curry powder and cook for just a minute.
  • Pour in the veg stock until everything is combined. Add it slowly so that lumps of flour don’t form.
  • Add the sugar and soy sauce.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until you think the sauce is thick enough. (If it thickens too much or congeals while cold, just add more water or stock and heat again)
  • Add the garam masala.
  • Sieve the sauce so the lumps of veg are removed, and you have a smooth sauce.

For the breaded veg:

  • I find it useful to lay out three dinner plates; one with seasoned flour, one with egg and one with breadcrumbs for this.
  • Dip the veg first into the flour, then egg then breadcrumbs until evenly coated. You only need to coat them once.
  • Use a frying pan with reasonably high edges on it and fill with about a half a centimetre of oil. I use olive oil to shallow fry on a medium/high heat.
  • Place as many vegetables as you can into the pan and fry on each side until they become golden brown. It should take 2 minutes ish on each side but definitely keep checking them.
  • Remove the veg from the frying pan and place on a plate lined with kitchen towel to soak up excess oil.

To serve, I like to shape the rice into a small bowl then place it on the plate. Pour sauce on top of the rice then add the fried vegetables to the side. It actually looks kinda pretty and is also delicious.

Let me know how you get on with the recipe! It’s one of my favourites and actually pretty easy to pull off  ❤️

You can view more of Hannah’s vegetarian recipes on her blog here and if you have a go to student recipe that’s been helping you make it through uni, let us know at @HumanityHallows

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