Cooking unchained


Beat the chain restaurants with this alternative to a Wagamama classic

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By Grace Marsh

Britain is plagued by chain restaurants. Mass produced food churned out all over the country with the sole aim of greedy investors making money. Do you ever walk out of Frankie and Benny's feeling like you've just had the best meal of your life? Hopefully not. It doesn't take a genius to cook up a burger or spaghetti carbonara, but we're still willing to pay PS10 for someone to serve it up for us. Are we simply a lazy generation, or do the majority of us actually just prefer to eat pre-prepared flavourless rubbish? Wagamama is an exception to the rule. Despite its chain restaurant label, the food is of a reasonable standard, nutritious and very fresh. The restaurant's all-time bestseller is Chicken Katsu Curry, a dish you can easily reproduce at home from mostly store cupboard ingredients without the extra cost.   Chicken Katsu Curry (Serves 2)
Photo Credit: Kate Mitchell
Photo Credit: Kate Mitchell
  Ingredients: 1 onion 2 cloves garlic, crushed Small piece of ginger, chopped Pinch of chilli flakes Two tbsp mild or medium curry powder 1 tbsp plain flour 250ml chicken stock squeeze of honey splash of soy sauce 100g basmati rice, washed 2 skinless chicken breasts 1 egg, beaten handful of plain flour handful of breadcrumbs (panko are best)   Method:
  • Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the rice in the boiling water for 10 minutes until cooked, and all the water is absorbed. It should have a sticky texture.
  • Fry the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli flakes in a tablespoon of oil for a few minutes until the onions are soft and beginning to caramelise. Spoon the flour and curry powder into the pan and stir for a minute.
  • Gradually pour in the chicken stock and stir simultaneously to avoid lumps forming. Add the honey and soy sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened, but still pourable. Then blend it until smooth or pass through a sieve.
  • Whilst the sauce is cooking, slice into each chicken breast and open like a book into a butterfly shape. Season with salt and pepper, then dip in the flour, followed by the beaten egg mixture, then finally the breadcrumbs.
  • Fry the chicken breasts for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Remove from the pan and drain off the excess oil.
  • Drain the rice and serve in a mound on the plate. Cut the chicken breast into strips, then place on the rice. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken.