For maximum flavour, we recommend making the curry sauce a day ahead.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100 g pork belly or speck, cut into 1.5cm cubes
- 1 onion, grated
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp mild curry powder
- 1 small apple, grated
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 30 g butter, chopped
- 400 g vacuum-packed udon noodles (see Note)
- finely chopped spring onions, fukujinzuke pickles (see Note) and rakkyo (see Note), to serve
Tori katsu (chicken katsu)
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) milk
- plain flour and panko breadcrumbs (see Note), to crumb
- 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
- equal quantities of corn and vegetable oils, to deep-fry
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 20 minutes
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pork belly and cook for 2 minutes or until lightly coloured. Add onion and carrot, and cook for 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Add tomato paste, curry powder and apple, and cook for a further 2 minutes or until fragrant. Increase heat to high. Add stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until slightly reduced. Stir in peanut butter and butter until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm or, for maximum flavour, refrigerate in an airtight container overnight and reheat before serving.
To make chicken katsu, place milk, flour and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Cut chicken fillets in half horizonatally, then season with salt and pepper. Roll chicken in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in milk and coat in breadcrumbs. Place chicken on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oils and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in 2 batches, gently lower chicken into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 6 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Thickly slice each piece of chicken and keep warm.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add udon noodles, then remove from heat. Stand for 5 minutes or until warm. Drain and rinse under warm water. Divide among shallow bowls, top with chicken katsu and pour over hot curry sauce. Scatter with spring onions and serve with pickles and rakkyo.
• Udon noodles are available from select supermarkets and Japanese food shops. Use the vacuum-packed variety, not the dry.
• Fukujinzuke pickles, available from Japanese food shops, are a mixture of seven pickled ingredients including daikon, lotus root, ginger, eggplant and shiso buds that have been salted, then pickled in soy and mirin. They add a savoury, sweet and crunchy quality to the curry.
• Rakkyo, available from Japanese food shops, is a type of spring onion pickled in vinegar.
• Panko breadcrumbs are available from select supermarkets and Asian food shops.
Photography Brett Stevens