For the longest time, I didn't particularly love chicken katsu. I know...this is a semi-controversial statement. BUT, hear me out! Most places I ordered from would overcook it and it would taste too dry. There's nothing I dislike more than dried chicken breast! It's like eating a rolled up ball of paper towels.
To my surprise, my opinion changed after trying chicken katsu (done correctly) in Japan. Of course it would be delicious there, and of course it would change my life (like many foods I tried in Japan).
I will never, ever be able to replicate the version I had at Tonkatsu Maisen Aoyama Honten in Shibuya, Tokyo. However, I was convinced I could make a simple version at home that was juicy and tasty enough that I would want to eat over and over again.
While I know I can make my own tonkatsu sace at home, I opted not to. It seemed like a lot of extra work when I knew I could get a pretty decent pre-made bottle instead. Instead, I bought Bull Dog Tonkatsu Sauce. It was really good and saved me a lot of time!
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 20 min
2 chicken breasts (boneless)
~1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
~1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
Canola or other frying oil
Recommendation: Bull Dog Tonkatsu
Optional: Green onions (for garnish)
*You will also need a large Ziploc bag (gallon size, if possible), a meat pounder (or 1 heavy can of food), and meat thermometer.
Place chicken breasts on cutting board. Butterfly the breasts by using a sharp knife and carefully cutting horizontally. Stop cutting once you get close to the opposite side (about 1/2 inch before cutting off the half breast completely). This will allow you to open up the breast like a butterfly.
Transfer 1 butterflied chicken breast in your Ziploc bag. Do not zip or close the bag. Place the bag over a cutting board or a surface you do not mind roughing up.
Use your meat pounder (or a can) and pound the chicken breast until it is flattened.
Note: This is an important step to help evenly fry the the chicken without over-drying it.
Replace the flattened chicken breast in your Ziploc bag with your second breast and repeat the steps to flatten. Season both sides of the flattened breasts with salt and pepper, then set aside.
Set up 3 separate bowls. Fill one with flour, fill the second with the beaten eggs, and fill the third with Panko bread crumbs.
Note: Substitute bread crumbs will not yield the same results. You must use Panko (Japanese style bread crumbs).
In a large frying pan or pot, add oil (enough to fill about 1/4 inch) over medium high heat. Wait for oil to get hot before starting the next step.
Dredge your first chicken breast completely in flour, then in beaten eggs, then generously in Panko bread crumbs. Carefully add the breast in the pan. Let sit for about 4-5 minutes (or until bottom is nicely golden brown). Turn the breast over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Place your meat thermometer in the chicken. As soon as it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, transfer chicken katsu to a plate with paper towel (to soak up excess oil). Repeat for the second chicken breast.
Note: It's very important that you watch the internal temperature closely. You do not want to over cook it. Otherwise, it will become dry.
Once you're done frying, transfer both chicken katsu to serving plates. Drizzle tonkatsu sauce over the chicken, and serve with your preferred sides (rice and/or vegetables).