Crisply crumbed deep-fried chicken is irresistible, right? I certainly think so and using panko crumbs only makes it even more irresistible. Resistance becomes futile in the face of such delights.
However, there are things to consider. First, you need to make sure that your chicken will remain tender and juicy, which means that you need to marinate it. Secondly, you really need your oil to be hot, so that it cooks quickly enough that it is cooked through and also so that the coating becomes golden and crisp. Hot oil also means that the goujons won’t be oily. To ensure that it cooks quickly, you need breast rather than leg meat, so marinating is even more important because breast dries out easily.
So, this is chicken katsu rather than just plain chicken goujons because I marinated the strips of chicken breast meat in a mixture of Japanese soy sauce and mirin. The chicken was then floured, egged and crumbed in the usual manner and left to chill in the fridge until required.
The goujons were deep-fried in hot oil at 180C in two batches for about 4-5 minutes. You do not want to overload the fryer because this will lower the temperature of the oil.
To accompany the chicken I made a selection of Japanese-influenced salads.
First there was a grated carrot salad, made by grating a couple of carrots on a microplane grater to give a really fine result, soft and with a silky texture. This was dressed with some Japanese soy sauce, Japanese rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and some black and white sesame seeds.
The second salad was some finely sliced peeled cucumber, dressed with Japanese rice vinegar, lime juice and more sesame seeds.
The third salad was red and white cabbage, thinly-sliced and dressed with a mixture of mirin, Japanese rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and, once again some black and white sesame seeds. I like sesame seeds. They have a nice flavour and make the food look pretty.
There was also some wasabi paste to provide heat and more flavour to the chicken and salads. I didn’t have any actual katsu sauce, so I used some French’s Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce instead. Katsu sauce is a Japanese copy of western bottled brown sauces anyway, so you can use anything you like, even HP Sauce works.