Monday, September 20, 2010

Cornflake Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu Dipping Sauce

I discovered tonkatsu (panko-crusted pork cutlets or sometimes chicken breasts served with a sweet dipping sauce) while I was living in China.  Since coming back to the US I have had far less opportunity to enjoy tonkatsu than I did while abroad.  Actually, the opportunity still exists, but the variety of Japanese food options here in the US far exceeds what I experienced in China, where my options were basically limited to conveyer belt sushi, various types of udon, and tonkatsu.  Here in NYC I can enjoy ramen at Ippudo, soba at Soba Nippon, tempura udon at Momoya, sushi everywhere (Sushi Yasuda if you're a purist or Sasabune if you want a really interesting omikase experience), yakitori at Yakitori Totto, etc.  Somehow tonkatsu and katsu-don (tonkatsu served over rice with an egg on top) never seem to make the cut.  But I have been thinking about chicken katsu recently, so I decided to make it at home.  I find that a combination of panko and cornflakes provides a better crust than just panko if you're pan-frying or baking your chicken.  I'm sure if you deep fried the chicken it wouldn't make a difference either way, but we all know how I feel about deep frying at home.

I really like baking chicken cutlets with a variety of different crusts, and serving them with a variety of dipping sauces.  This chicken was good, and an interesting departure from our usual chicken cutlets, but Alex and I both agreed that we preferred the Spicy "Fried" Chicken Cutlets with Honey-Tabasco Sauce and the Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce.

Recipe after the jump!


Cornflake Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu Dipping Sauce

For chicken:
1 lb. thin-cut chicken cutlets, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2/3 cup lightly crushed cornflakes
For dipping sauce:
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Create a breading station using shallow pans or bowls. The first shallow pan should have the flour and s&p. Stir to combine. The second shallow pan should have the lightly beaten egg, mixed with 1 tsp of cold water. The last shallow pan should have the panko breadcrumbs and cornflakes. Dip each chicken cutlet into the flour mixture, then the egg, and then the panko breadcrumb mixture. Be sure to shake off excess flour and egg before proceeding onto the next step. Coat both sides of the chicken cutlets in panko breadcrumbs, patting to make sure panko adheres if necessary.

Place cooling rack over a rimmed cookie sheet.  Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Place breaded chicken cutlets on cooling rack.  Make sure that chicken cutlets aren't touching each other to allow even air circulation and even crisping.  Spray top side of chicken cutlets lightly with cooking spray.

Bake in oven until the panko is crispy and golden, and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for dipping sauce in a small nonreactive bowl.

Serve chicken with steamed white rice, edamame or baby bok choy, and dipping sauce.

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