Around our house we like to name our food random things. For some reason, if their food has a funny or cool name, my boys will eat more of it. Even if it’s something they like anyway, they eat more of it if I call it something fun.
Case in point: meet Ninja Fried Chicken.
Boys. What are you gonna do?
We also like to make Tonkatsu (pork is used traditionally instead of chicken). Either way, this recipe is really easy to make and is very satisfying. Yes it is fried. At our house where the kids are trying to pack in some calories this is a great thing. The thing to know about frying food is that it doesn’t have to be greasy at all when you are done. The key is in cooking at the proper temperature, and there is really no way to know that for sure without a deep fry thermometer. There are many kinds out there and the one I have is a deep fry/ candy version. I use it every time I’m frying something to make sure I am at the right temperature and maintaining it. It is a great kitchen tool to have and mine only cost $10.
The sauce itself is a modified ketchup with a twist and is a little spicy, sweet and sour. You can use it sparingly since it packs a significant punch and a little goes a long way. Just ask my husband who drenched his chicken and then made a few funny faces. I’ll admit, the sauce is more for me. My boys dipped theirs just in regular old ketchup.
Chicken Katsu aka Ninja Fried Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
2 cups Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs
Canola oil for frying
Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface and sprinkle it lightly with some water. Place a chicken breast on one half of the plastic wrap and fold the other half over it so it is in the center of a square of plastic wrap (alternately you could use a gallon plastic ziptop bag). Use a kitchen mallet or flat bottom of a frying pan (or even a rolling pin) to pound the chicken to about 1/2-inch thickness. Repeat the process with each chicken breast.
Set up your breading station by placing the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow disk and stirring them together to combine. In another shallow dish whisk the egg together with the water. Then in another shallow dish (or gallon ziptop bag) place the Panko bread crumbs. Dip each chicken breast on both sides into the flour, shake off the excess, dip it in the egg with one hand, then use your dry hand to dip it in the bread crumbs, coating both sides thoroughly and pressing the crumbs into the chicken to get a nice coating. Place breaded chicken breasts onto a clean plate and repeat the process with the remaining pieces and set aside.
In a large pan with high sides, place about 1-inch of oil for frying. Start heating the oil over medium-low heat to about 375 degrees F – when the oil is ready it will shimmer and a small piece of the panko bread crumbs can be used to test the temperature. It should sizzle as soon as it is dropped in the oil. Cook the chicken breasts in batches, two at a time since they will be quite large when pounded out, and fry them for about 2 minutes per side or until a deep golden color on each side. Remove them from the oil and place they cooked chicken on a large, paper towel lined platter. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. When ready to serve slice the chicken breasts into strips and serve with the sauce.
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
pinch of ground allspice (optional)
Whisk together in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and all the sugar is melted and ingredients are combined. Set aside and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.