Katsu ramen is a meal one would never regret trying. Creamy, crunchy, and flavourful. This particular Japanese dish will satisfy any ramen enthusiast out there.
The versatility of instant noodles has led to various unique dishes such as tantanmen and kewpie mayo ramen. Katsu ramen is simply another variation, and it is as mind-blowing as its other famous siblings. Plain instant noodles might never be a bad idea for a quick craving fix.
However, this one will make you want to go the extra mile in preparing your next hot bowl of comfort.
What is Katsu ramen?
For those who are curious, ‘katsu’ is short for ‘katsuretsu’ (カツレツ), which is a transliteration of the word cutlet. Interestingly, restaurant chefs in Tokyo invented it in the late 1800s to offer Japanese dishes with Western-style meat chop.
Like the German schnitzel, it is a fried meat cutlet (chicken, pork, or beef) covered with Japanese panko breadcrumbs. Therefore, this comfort food is, in fact, ramen with fried breaded meat!
Crunchy and crispy katsu is the epitome of comfort food for many in Japan. Similarly, nothing beats a hot, comforting bowl of ramen after a long day. It is a warm hug in the form of food and rarely disappoints. Moreover, many claims that katsu ramen is a terrific combination that gives you the best of both worlds.
In modern Japan, ramen has become a staple dish that can go from simple to out of this world. Chicken Katsu Ramen is one of Japan’s extraordinary food innovations, and what makes it so popular is its unique taste. There are just so many that a bowl of it can offer. So there’s no reason to say no to it!
It is big on flavour and offers layers of textures with creamy broth, gooey soft-boiled egg, and crispy fried cutlet. But, you might wonder how can it stay crispy while being soaked up in the broth. Well, that’s probably one of the charms of this comfort food because it stays crispy!
Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) is the country’s speciality. However, many people opt for chicken katsu made with tender chicken breast as a healthier option. Therefore, chicken katsu ramen is one of the famous Japanese foods loved by children and adults alike.
A bowl of this slurp-worthy dish typically contains about 600 calories. Truly comforting in every way, health-watchers can also enjoy it with the use of hearty ingredients.
The main ingredients to make this blissful meal are noodles, meat cutlets, panko breadcrumbs, and a broth or stock. You can find these ingredients in most grocery stores due to the increasing popularity of Japanese delicacies worldwide.
In choosing your cutlets, any kind– pork, beef, or chicken – will go well with the dish. But it is best to go for a chicken cutlet if you wish to make the katsu ramen meal healthier. Tofu or plant-based meat are also great substitutes if you want to turn the meal vegetarian or vegan.
When it comes to the noodles, there are a few types which you can choose from:
- Fresh Noodles: fresh noodles are the best to incorporate into your dish. They are the tastiest and the healthiest option, but they can be hard to find, even at Asian grocery stores.
- Dried Noodles: Unless you’re up for some fun in making fresh noodles from scratch, dried noodles are easier to find. These noodles can be found in local Asian supermarkets and are similar to Chinese-style noodles packed in bundles.
- Instant Noodles: These are the most convenient and cheapest type of noodles. They can be found almost everywhere. Easy to cook and time-saving, they are perfect for when you want to satisfy a sudden craving for katsu ramen.
You can use a broth or a stock as the base to make the soup. Please note that using stock will make the soup thicker. On the other hand, broths are usually thinner and more flavourful. Chefs commonly add miso paste to give the broth a savoury taste. Despite that, you can also use different flavours like Shio, Shoyu, and Tonkotsu instead.
Many chefs top off a steamy bowl of katsu ramen with soft-boiled eggs and scallions. Even so, this should not stop you from being creative in making your meal a feast to the eyes and tastebuds. There is no specific rule on how you should garnish your dish, so you can include whatever you like!
Make it spicy with chilli flakes, or add some zest with a slice of lime. You may even add a hint of Korean taste with some kimchi or go bold with some sriracha sauce. Other toppings perfect for this soupy dish include sesame seeds, seaweed, mushrooms, tofu and sweet corn.
While you can enjoy it just by itself, there is no harm in having a side dish or two with it. Usually, katsu ramen and gyoza is the go-to combination. However, tons of other side dishes are great in making it a complete meal. Just like the toppings, you can never go wrong with the side dishes as long as it satisfies your appetite!
Other great additions that you can enjoy with the noodles are spring rolls, takoyaki, edamame, and aburaage (fried tofu). A salad is always a good and healthy choice for a lighter side dish. Plus, the classic leafy greens will add more crunch to your meal. Japanese salads like wakame and hijiki can also add to the Japanese vibe of your feed.
How to make Katsu Ramen
The process of making this lip-smacking dish is straightforward. First, the fried cutlet is prepared by dredging it with seasoned panko breadcrumbs and frying it in a skillet over medium-high.
Meanwhile, the noodles and soup can be prepared instantaneously or from scratch. Once cooked, they are poured into a bowl and topped with the katsu and other garnishes.
- Pound the cutlet before coating it with panko breadcrumbs to make it more tender.
- If they are left sitting in the soup for too long, the noodles will soak up the broth and become mushy. Therefore, you should store the noodles and soup separately before serving them in a bowl.
- When making the soup from scratch, make sure to caramelize the onions for natural sweetness. Then, cook some garlic and ginger until aromatic before pouring in the broth.
- You can also add coconut milk or other preferred milk for a creamier broth.
Chicken Katsu Ramen Recipe
For the noodles and soup:
- ½ medium onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 inch ginger thinly sliced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 6 tablespoon cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon miso paste
- 1-2 squares ramen noodles
- 2 cups baby spinach chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 soft-boiled egg for serving
- Preferred garnish
For the katsu:
- 1 chicken cutlet
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 4 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- Prepare a soft-boiled egg by boiling an egg for 6 minutes. When done, please place it in an ice bath to prevent overcooking. Then, peel for serving later. Fill the panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds in a shallow dish or a bowl. Then, season with salt. In another bowl, whisk together two eggs and add some water if needed.
- In a Dutch oven, add the garlic, onion, and ginger. Stir and cook on medium-high until caramelized for 3 minutes. Then, pour in the broth, milk, and soy sauce. Whisk in the miso paste and lower heat to medium-low. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- To make the katsu, cover the chicken cutlet with corn starch and dip it in the egg wash. Then, dredge it with the breadcrumbs and place it on a plate. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet and fry each side of the chicken for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Once fried, slice it into thin strips and season with salt.
- Add the noodles, spinach and sesame oil into the soup. Leave them to cook for a few minutes until the noodles are soft.
- Place the noodles in a bowl and pour in the soup. Add the fried chicken cutlet and top with the soft-boiled egg and other preferred toppings. Serve your chicken katsu ramen!
- Add some chilli flakes or chilli paste into the broth to make it spicier.
- While dredging the cutlet, press it with your fist to pound the breadcrumbs in.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
How did your homemade cutlet ramen turn out? We would love to see them! So tag us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks and share with us your masterpiece.