Easy Lazy Eggless Baked Chicken Katsu (Breaded Chicken Breast)

Categories Chicken and Turkey, Japanese

baked_chkatsupTonkatsu 豚カツ (breaded pork) and especially chicken katsu チキンカツ are among those Japanese dishes I could eat practically every other day. Until recently, I thought they had a huge disadvantage : being deep-fried. (I don’t find deep-frying difficult, complicated or dangerous and actually like it, but avoid it due to the fat and calorie content.) This was until I discovered Nami’s (Just One Cookbook) revolutionary solution : baked chicken katsu. Thanks to her, suddenly, tonkatsu and chicken katsu have switched from a rare special treat to a guilt-free staple!

If you have ever deep-fried chicken katsu or tokatsu, the ingredients of this lighter baked version are the same: flour, beaten egg and panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), all used to coat the meat. The only difference is that panko is stir-fried until golden before the meat is coated, which takes only a while, so the process is quite easy. However, since I’m a lazy cook, always in search of shortcuts, after a dozen of baking sessions I started to wonder what would happen if I skipped the flour and egg coating stage… One day I simply brushed chicken breasts in oil (to make them stickier), coated in stir-fried breadcrumbs and baked as advised in Nami’s recipe. Even though oil-brushed meat is less sticky than an egg coating, the amount of panko is enough to make it still deliciously crisp. This baked chicken katsu might look less attractive than its deep fried version, but it’s so much quicker, lighter and easier, I just couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Personally I find both the three stage-coated and this lazy, one stage-coated chicken katsu equally delicious, but it might not be to everyone’s taste, so check the beautifully photographed Nami’s Baked Chicken Katsu together with a very helpful video.

TIPS: You can use any fat or oil of your choice. After many tests I have become crazy for coconut oil in both panko frying and meat brushing stages. The final flavours have only a hint of coconut aroma and I love it.

You can fry some panko crumbs in advance, cool them down and keep in a closed jar for several days. Strangely they still keep crisp and you can skip their stir-frying process.

Chicken katsu and tonkatsu are served in Japan with a special tonkatsu sauce (easily available at Japanese groceries but I prefer much more less sweet homemade version) and ground white sesame seeds. I also like it with ponzu (yuzu citrus and soy sauce mixture) and… mayonnaise+ taberu rayu (garlicky chilli sauce with sediments, see how to make it here).

Quick Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments
Quick Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments

Preparation: about 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves two):

2 small chicken breasts or 1 very big (if you use very big chicken breasts, halve them lengthwise)

8 heaped tablespoons of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1 tablespoon coconut oil+ 1 more for meat brushing

salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan (at low heat). Slowly stir-fry the panko crumbs (don’t stop stirring because at a certain point they quickly burn) until they become golden.

Once they cool down, place them on a plate.

Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Coat the chicken breasts in panko, pressing with your hands (pat more with your hands if you want more of the crunchy crust!).

Place on baking paper and bake for about 20-25 minutes (depending on the breast size and the oven) until, when pierced with a tooth pick the running juices are clear, not pink.

If you intend to eat with chopsticks, cut the breast into bite-sized pieces before serving.

You can serve them with tonkatsu sauce (in every Japanese grocery shop), but personally I love them with mayonnaise and hot sauce (such as sriracha or taberu rayu) and, in a lighter version with ponzu (soy sauce and Japanese citrus sauce).

10 thoughts on “Easy Lazy Eggless Baked Chicken Katsu (Breaded Chicken Breast)

  1. I read this post with great enthusiasm Sissy, my husband adores this type of chicken and always orders it when we are out, I am sure he would love it if I made it for him, but healthier like you did! Crisping the panko in a shallow frying pan is actually very clever because it never really browns as evenly as the deep fried cousin! Omitting the egg wash is also interesting and quite surprising that it didn’t make that much difference flavour wise, it’s a short cut and calorie savings I’m happy to try. What an interesting plate, the design is relatively abstract but it really reminds me of lotus root chips! It shows off your chicken beautifully.

    1. Dear Eva, thank you so much for all these kind words. As I’ve noticed, we both often try to find good balance between the delicious and the light, so I’m sure you would love the idea of baked breaded meat (though – don’t tell anyone – the juiciness of deep-fried version, when made in fresh oil and at correct temperature, is unbeatable, but let’s try to forget it 😉 ). There is a difference in taste between mine and Nami’s 3-step version, so check maybe both… but frankly I like this lazy one as much as Nami’s, so I think I’ll never bother with eggs and flour. The important thing to remember is the thickness of the breast (not too thin: I prefer it whole actually) and the timing. Each oven is different, so it’s easy to obtain dry results… don’t be put off if you first experiment is too dry (or check often the juices with a toothpick). I’d start checking after 15 min.
      Thank you soooo much for the comment about the plate. I am so proud of my find! I brought two of these from Japan – in spite of several kilos of other stuff waiting to be packed – because I have fallen in love with them…. You are right! It’s lotus root (renkon in Japanese), one if these vegetables I love (I always order it at tempura places!) and cannot get fresh here (frozen it’s juts too mushy…), so whenever I use the plate, it brings back Japanese restaurant memories… It’s actually quite a frequent design on Japanese tableware! (I have two more plates… though not as beautiful).

  2. Since I am always watching my weight this recipe sounds and looks absolutely tailored to me! As always you made me drool in front of my screen!

    1. Thank you so much, Katerina. YouI also watch my weight and waist, so I loved the discovery of the baked version, even more the lazy way.

  3. Hi Sissi!!!! Okay, I feel very nostalgic coming to your site (feels like visiting your home!) and I definitely miss it. How are you? Thanks so much for trying this baked chicken katsu recipe! Your recipe list is shorter and it’s crazy impressive! I’ve never tried eggless option (or never thought of it, frankly). How clever! More people can try this recipe with your eggless option! Love the renkon plate too. Super adorable. Hope all is well with you and thank you for linking back to my post!

    1. Hi Nami, ohisashiburi!!! Thank you so much for such kind words and for visiting! So glad to see you and so happy you don’t disapprove of my lazy changes 😉 Whenever I can skip a step or save time, I try doing it, so this is how this idea came. Anyway, the most important event for me was discovering your baked version!!! Katsu that doesn’t make fat 😉 (I looooooove renkon and tableware with renkon to… Couldn’t resist this one.)

  4. I wasn’t aware that there was a 3 layered/coating of chicken katsu. I did see this at Nami’s site a while back and thought this was THE way. It looks so good! It’s on my list to try, but still haven’t gotten around to it. Looks like it’s time. Thanks for the push Sissi. I can always count on you. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, MJ, for the kind words. This quickest version makes me eat chicken katsu much more often! (And since it’s the baked, guilt-free version, I do bake it all the time!). I cannot say this version is better or worse. Certainly it has less breadcrumbs than the full 3-stage one, but I don’t mind. I hope you will try either of the versions and enjoy them as much as I do!

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