The beautifully light but comfortingly warm katsu sauce is amazing with the mighty eggplant.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (19 votes)


  • 175 g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 250 ml plant-based milk
  • 150 g panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggplant (about 300 g each)
  • 4 spring onions
  • sesame seeds, to sprinkle
  • 500 g cooked basmati rice (or use 2 x 250 g bags microwavable basmati rice), to serve
  • vegetable oil, for frying

For the katsu sauce

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 5 cm piece fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1½ tbsp (30 ml) toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1½ tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 350 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 1½ tbsp (30 ml) water

Cook's notes

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.


1. Line a large plate with kitchen paper.

2. First make the sauce: Peel and dice the onion. Peel and grate the carrot. Peel and finely grate the ginger and garlic.

3. Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and warm the sesame oil. Add the onion and fry for 3–4 minutes, stirring. Add the carrot and olive oil and stir for 5–6 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 2 minutes.

4. Add the soy sauce and curry powder and stir for 2 minutes, then transfer to a blender (liquidiser) along with the vegetable stock. Blend. Pour back into the pan and return to a medium heat.

5. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of half into the pan, catching any pips with your other hand. Sprinkle over the garam masala and sugar and stir. Reduce the heat to low. Taste and add more salt and lemon if required.

6. Put the cornflour and water into a small dish and mix together with a fork. Pour into the pan and stir to thicken.

7. Now make the batter. Put the flour, salt and milk into a mixing bowl and whisk to a smooth batter. Pour the breadcrumbs into a separate bowl.

8. Trim the eggplant and cut into 1 cm slices. Tip into the batter and toss to cover. Pick out one slice and roll it around in the breadcrumbs, covering it completely. Repeat to coat all the slices.

9. Fry the eggplant: Pour the vegetable oil into another large frying pan until it’s 2cm deep. Put the pan over a medium heat and heat until a wooden spoon dipped into the oil starts to bubble around the edges. Carefully add the eggplant slices and fry for 3–4 minutes on each side, until crispy and deep golden. Transfer to the kitchen paper for a minute to soak up any excess oil.

10. Meanwhile, heat the rice, if necessary, or cook following the packet instructions, then divide between plates. Arrange the crispy eggplant on top and drizzle over the katsu sauce. Finely slice the spring onions and sprinkle over with the sesame seeds before serving.

Recipe from Bish Bash BOSH! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby (HQ Non-fiction, $35).