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Cauliflower Katsu Curry with Sticky Rice

Everyone I know loves katsu curry, that lovely velvety curry that is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. Traditionally it comes one of three ways, either with rice, served over noodles, or as a filling in a pasty, a kind of curry pastry. It is pretty much always meat-based with the use of either chicken or pork and always breaded.

The version I have written here is vegetarian and uses the hearty and versatile cauliflower, which is full of antioxidants and vitamins, including B6 and C, and includes fiber which assists with weight loss and digestion. Cauliflower works perfectly as a steak as long as you cut through the root, as I have done. The florets can also be used to add texture and form a more chunky presentation.

In Japan, katsu is most often served with mixed pickles (fukujinzuki) or pickled spring onions (rakkyo). I have used fresh spring onions, which adds freshness and crispness to the final dish.

Tips from Chef Spencer Westcott

  • An immersion blender is a great addition to any kitchen. It comes in handy for finishing sauces and making the silky smooth or making fresh mayonnaise or even pesto.
  • Never blend hot sauces in a sealed kitchen or bar blender. The steam is unable to escape and you will end up with more sauce covering you and your kitchen than you will in the actual blender.
  • The cauliflower can be shallow fried, sprayed with oil, or oven-roasted to cut down on the oil, but the overall presentation will differ.

Spencer WestcottAuthorSpencer WestcottCategoryMain Dishes

For the sauce
 2 tbsp vegetable oil
 1 onion, chopped
 1 garlic clove, crushed
 2 tbsp mild curry powder
 2 tsp plain flour
 1 cup vegetable stock
  cup coconut milk
 1 tsp light soy sauce
 1 tsp honey
The main recipe
 1 whole cauliflower - cut into 1cm steaks through the root
 2 cups Jasmine rice
 4 cups water
 3 tbsp plain flour
 2 eggs, lightly beaten
 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
 ½ cup vegetable oil, for deep frying
 1 bunch coriander
 1 spring onion

1

Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Over medium heat, cook gently until the onions are transparent.

2

Once transparent, add the curry powder to the pan and mix well, combining all the flavors. Continue to cook on low heat for another minute before adding the flour and cooking for a minute.

3

Add the warm vegetable stock slowly to the pan, stirring continuously, and mixing well so as not to leave any lumps.

4

Once the stock is added, add the coconut milk and stir well.

5

Season the sauce with the sugar and soy sauce.

6

Blend using an immersion blender and keep warm.

7

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.

8

Stir in the rice, adding a good pinch of salt; cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed.

9

Taste the rice to make sure it is cooked to your liking. If the rice is still too hard, add a few more tablespoons of water and cook for 1 more minute.

10

Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let the rice relax and absorb any excess water.

11

To pane the cauliflower steaks, first coat in flour, shaking off any excess, then add to the beaten egg, shaking off again and then coat in the breadcrumbs.

12

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fat fryer to 175c and gently add the steaks to the pan. Cook until golden brown and crispy.

13

Place the cauliflower steak onto paper to drain the excess oil.

14

Place a spoon of sticky rice onto the plate and some of the hot curry sauce next to the rice.

15

Sit the cauliflower steak on top of the sauce and garnish with coriander and finely sliced spring onions. This dish goes well with wok-fried greens or a simple Asian influenced salad.

16

Serve hot and enjoy!

Ingredients

For the sauce
 2 tbsp vegetable oil
 1 onion, chopped
 1 garlic clove, crushed
 2 tbsp mild curry powder
 2 tsp plain flour
 1 cup vegetable stock
  cup coconut milk
 1 tsp light soy sauce
 1 tsp honey
The main recipe
 1 whole cauliflower - cut into 1cm steaks through the root
 2 cups Jasmine rice
 4 cups water
 3 tbsp plain flour
 2 eggs, lightly beaten
 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
 ½ cup vegetable oil, for deep frying
 1 bunch coriander
 1 spring onion

Directions

1

Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Over medium heat, cook gently until the onions are transparent.

2

Once transparent, add the curry powder to the pan and mix well, combining all the flavors. Continue to cook on low heat for another minute before adding the flour and cooking for a minute.

3

Add the warm vegetable stock slowly to the pan, stirring continuously, and mixing well so as not to leave any lumps.

4

Once the stock is added, add the coconut milk and stir well.

5

Season the sauce with the sugar and soy sauce.

6

Blend using an immersion blender and keep warm.

7

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.

8

Stir in the rice, adding a good pinch of salt; cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed.

9

Taste the rice to make sure it is cooked to your liking. If the rice is still too hard, add a few more tablespoons of water and cook for 1 more minute.

10

Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let the rice relax and absorb any excess water.

11

To pane the cauliflower steaks, first coat in flour, shaking off any excess, then add to the beaten egg, shaking off again and then coat in the breadcrumbs.

12

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fat fryer to 175c and gently add the steaks to the pan. Cook until golden brown and crispy.

13

Place the cauliflower steak onto paper to drain the excess oil.

14

Place a spoon of sticky rice onto the plate and some of the hot curry sauce next to the rice.

15

Sit the cauliflower steak on top of the sauce and garnish with coriander and finely sliced spring onions. This dish goes well with wok-fried greens or a simple Asian influenced salad.

16

Serve hot and enjoy!

Cauliflower Katsu Curry with Sticky Rice
Spencer Westcott
A multi-ethnic trained chef, Spencer began his classical training at Thanet College (now East Kent College) before heading to London and working his way up the ladder gaining the knowledge and experience needed. Starting as a commis saucier at The Ritz Club at the Ritz Hotel, the journey took him to a number of the high-end restaurants, casinos and private members clubs within London to include the British version of Iconic USA steakhouse group ‘The Palm’ as executive chef. After 24 years behind the stove, he is consulting privately while preparing exquisite recipes for Dish Miami.

Photo credit: Ruben Cabrera

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Photo credit: Ruben Cabrera

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