Today’s dish is a hearty main inspired by Duncan’s favourite dish at Wagamama’s, an Asian fusion restaurant, where we used to dine quite often during our busy London life.
I made a yasai katsu curry or veggie katsu curry, except that it contains no egg in the batter so really it’s a vegan katsu curry. Thick slices of juicy aubergine and sweet potato coated in panko breadcrumbs and shallow fried until crispy and golden brown are accompanied by an aromatic curry sauce, plain rice and a simple green salad.
Vegan katsu curry is a bit of a treat as it’s not exactly health food, but I’m sure we can roll with treating ourselves to a bit of golden crispiness now and again, can’t we? 🙂
- 1 large aubergine
- 1 sweet potato, peeled
- about ½ cup all purpose flour / rice flour for GF version
- salt & pepper
- about 1 cup gelatinous aquafaba*, homemade or from a tin of chickpeas
- about 100 g panko breadcrumbs** or GF breadcrumbs if required
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- high smoke oil for shallow frying
- 2 tbsp neutral tasting oil
- 1 large onion (I used red), finely diced
- 5 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 3 tsp ginger, finely grated
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- ½ Granny Smith (sour) apple, peeled and diced
- 1 heaped tbsp white miso paste (GF miso for gluten-intolerance)
- 4 tsp curry powder (I used hot madras curry powder)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 4 tsp tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) or maple syrup, to taste
- 1½-2 cups of your favourite rice, cooked or steamed
- 1 head of lettuce, I used lollo rosso
- a salad dressing: sesame oil, vinegar, mirin, tamari / soy sauce (all to taste)
- Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan with a matching lid. Add diced onion and sauté until almost transparent, add garlic and a minute or two later add ginger. Fry for another minute or two stirring frequently.
- Add sliced carrot, diced apple, curry powder and garam masala. Stir around and fry off for a minute or two.
- Dissolve 1 tbsp of miso paste in 1 cup of warm water and add it to the pan.
- Simmer, on low heat (with a lid on) for about 10-15 minutes until carrots and apples become soft.
- Transfer to an upright blender or use a stick blender to make a smooth, thick sauce. Season with tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.
- Prepare 4 plates. Pour about ½ cup of flour on the first one. Season the flour with generous amount of salt and pepper. Pour thick, egg white-like aquafaba onto the second plate. Pour breadcrumbs and a handful of white sesame seeds (if using) onto the third plate and line the fourth plate with double layer of paper towel.
- Cut aubergine and sweet potato into ½ cm or 0.2 inch thick slices. Don’t make them thicker or else the inside will remain raw.
- Fill a small frying pan or the bottom of a wok with frying oil and let it heat up.
- Dredge veggie slices in seasoned flour first, then in aquafaba and finally in breadcrumbs. Press the breadcrumbs into the slices and shake each piece gently before putting onto hot oil to allow excess breadcrumbs to come off.
- Fry for about 1-2 minutes on each side – until the coating becomes golden brown. Place freshly fried pieces on a plate with a kitchen towel to get rid of excess oil.
- Serve with rice, a simple green salad and a generous amount of curry sauce.
**My panko breadcrumbs had lots of big pieces in them so I ground them a little bit in a pestle and mortar before using to ensure that they stick to my veggies better.
The sauce has been adapted from Wagamama’s recipe.