Sandwich #218–“Pending Vacation” Japanese Curry Chicken Katsu Wraps

By 300 Sandwiches

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218chickenkatsuLOE is obsessed with Japan.

He vacationed there by himself all over the country for two weeks right before we met, and swears he’s going to take me back there on vacation. “They have the best food, prettiest language and best architecture,” E brags. He also takes Japanese lessons weekly and often speaks it around the house, particularly when he’s trying to get a rise out of me.

“サンドイッチを作ってくれて!” Allegedly, that’s, “make me a sandwich!”

As awesome a cook as E is, the one thing he fails to cook properly is rice. It’s quite funny to me how the man can churn out duck confit, steak, tuna tartare and a perfectly cooked turkey, but cannot serve up a cup of rice without overcooking it, burning it or turning it into porridge.

Meanwhile, I can crank out pots of rice like no one’s business. “Wow,” E marvels. “Yeah, I just can’t for the life of me nail that.” We all have our strengths and weaknesses, my dear.

Last night, one of our rare nights in, we cooked dinner together and watched “Quantum of Solace”. To celebrate our recent inclusion in Spur magazine, we made japanese curry with chicken katsu for dinner. Katsu is basically fried chicken with panko bread crumbs in Japan, but since it Japanese it’s just that much better, according to E. I don’t know how Colonel Sanders would feel about that.

I handled the rice while E simmered the curry in our lovely Staub cast iron Dutch oven that E’s mom gave us for Christmas (thanks so much!) that’s amazing for soups and stews. Dinner was crazy good, and we had enough for leftover sandwiches for lunch the next day.

The chicken and curry made for a warm, spicy wrap that sticks to your ribs and keeps you cozy in the winter months, particular during, say a snowboarding session in Nozawa. “The snowboarding there is amazing,” E tempted me. “And they serve this and soba noodles at the ski lodges, not just pizza and burgers.” That’s enough reason for me to book a ticket.

There was this one time I was in Asakusa, and a guy came up to me and asked if he could have a picture. Figuring he wanted me to take the picture of his friend and him, I obliged. Though it turns out he didn’t want me to take his picture … his friend stood next to me and took a picture of me and him. Anyway I was totally weirded out by that. (Jitsuwa, nihongo ga hetakuso de sumimasen) Tonikaku, tanoshikatta. Mata ikitai! Mada benkyoshiteiru, soshite zen kai ni kurabete, nihongo ga jyouzu ni natta 🙂
1 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chicken stock (or water. Stock adds more flavor)
1 red pepper,
4 carrots, sliced
1 apple, diced
2 cubes curry sauce (you can find this sold at any Asian grocer. We used this at home.)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 egg
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups cooked rice
4 flatbreads or whole wheat wraps

First, place red pepper over an open flame until skin is black. Then wrap it in a bowl and cover with cellophane. The blackened skin will fall right off. Chop pepper into small pieces.

Next, in a large skillet, stir fry pepper, onion, apple, carrots and simmer in olive oil until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, then cover and turn down heat to low and simmer.

Meanwhile, crack egg into a shallow wide bowl. Take clean chicken breasts and dip in egg, then cover with panko crumbs. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet. Carefully place chicken in oil and fry in large skillet until chicken is brown.

When ready to wrap, lay out flat bread on workable surface, and scoop rice lengthwise down the middle of wrap. Then layer on chicken and vegetable curry sauce, and greens if desired. Wrap top and bottom in first, then sides. Cut in half and serve. Makes about 4 full sized wraps.

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