Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Recipe: Vegan Chick'n Katsu

Another family favorite, inspired by the delicious "local style" food I grew up on. Chicken katsu is a favorite in Hawaii, served at many local eateries such as Blane's Drive-In, L&L, etc. It's served "plate lunch" style with heaping scoops of macaroni salad and white rice. The chicken katsu itself is dipped in a special sauce. It is so tasty that even the more upscale restaurants in Hawaii serve their own versions, usually with the same sides but with a fancy twist.

When our family stopped eating animals, we thought our chicken katsu days were gone forever. Then we found the meatless Gardein Chick'n Scallopini in the frozen section of Harris Teeter (now also found at Wal-Mart). It is a little less than $4 a bag, making each piece about $1, but you don't have to trim any fat, skin, tendons or any other yuck like you would a real piece of chicken. Not only are they meatless, but they also do not contain eggs or dairy (and no gluten either, for those who are intolerant).

My husband never cared for steak or porkchops, but he loved chicken. He had real chicken katsu in Hawaii numerous times when we'd visit so he knew what it should taste like. He was very surprised at how good this vegan version was. We were both blown away by the flavor and texture. With this dish, we've never looked back.

Vegan Chick'n Katsu

2 bags of Gardein Chick'n Scallopini (each bag contains 4 pieces)
non-dairy milk (we use soy)
panko (must be panko, NOT any standard breadcrumb)
sea salt
canola oil (for frying)

Prepare three bowls, large enough for dipping a piece of the chick'n. Your first bowl should have flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. The second bowl has the non-dairy milk. The third bowl contains the panko, and seasoned with salt and pepper if desired.

Dip each piece of chick'n in each of the bowls, first the flour, then the non-dairy milk, then the panko.

Heat about one inch of oil in a frying pan. Add chick'n, no more than about two pieces at a time. Cook on each side until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a plate with a napkin for draining. Once cooled enough, place on a cutting board and chop into strips.

For the sauce:
vegan Worcestershire sauce

The amounts really depend on personal preference. To start, combine about 1/2 c. ketchup and 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce. Adjust to taste. Some people are perfectly fine with dipping the katsu in plain ketchup, but my husband and I prefer the sauce mixture to get the full experience.

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