L & L Hawaiian BBQ is a small chain that Eric and I love to visit whenever we are hungry for some good Hawaiian comfort food. A couple summers ago, two of our friends and us took a fantastic vacation to the wonderful island - Oahu, Hawaii. We sampled some tasty treats from Germaine's Luau, and plenty of island food all during our trip. Whenever I think of Hawaii, I think of chicken katsu because it's one of the favorite foods served at the Hawaiian luaus aside from the traditional roasted pig. Plus, it's easier to make chicken katsu at home than a roasted pig!
Chicken Katsu is a staple of Japanese cooking typically served with curry sauce, but in Hawaii it's served with a sweet Asian barbecue sauce instead. One of the key ingredients in katsu is the panko (bread crumbs) because the flakes are bigger and crunchier than normal breadcrumbs. You can find panko at the grocery store in the Asian aisle or at the Asian markets. I tried to make a healthy version by baking the chicken instead of deep-frying it - it's not as crunchy as I would like but still a delicious dish. The katsu sauce makes plenty so you can save it for the next time you make more Chicken Katsu. Enjoy!
Adapted from Food.com & Food Network
4 chicken breasts, cut in half, and pounded flat
1/2 soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups water
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 chicken bouillon
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 to 3 dashes sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon corn starch, mixed 1/2 cup water
Combine the soy sauce, honey, pepper flakes, and sesame oil in a Ziploc bag and shake it together. Add the chicken pieces and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Remove the chicken from the bag and dry it with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare your 3 dipping dishes - 1) flour 2) eggs and a little bit of water and garlic powder and 3) panko bread crumbs.
Dredge the chicken in the flour, then egg mixture, and then the panko. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven when finished cooking.
While the chicken is baking, prepare the katsu sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat - add all the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch water mixture and let it dissolve and thicken.
Slice chicken into thin strips and top with a drizzle of katsu sauce. Pair the dish with a side of white rice and macaroni or green salad. Serve remaining sauce on the side for dipping.
Review: The key to making this chicken is that it needs to pounded flat and lightly breaded with panko if you want more of a crunchy katsu or if you prefer the traditional taste- go ahead and deep-fry it. I was trying to take a healthy approach and bake the chicken katsu instead. The Hawaiian chicken katsu was cooked all the way through, and still very juicy and flavorful.