As we speed, unrelentingly, towards the end of the year, I can’t help but roll my eyes at the girl who sat here in January and wrote about her “year of living mindfully“.
When it has been a difficult year for so many of us, for both big and small reasons, it’s easy to slip back into the language of bad habits and “one-offs”. Comfort food. Skipping exercise. Overcommitting. Staying up way too late.
I’m still struggling to say “no” and to live in the moment, and I’ve spent much of 2016 in a professional and creative slump. But, at the risk of vaguebooking, I might have managed to get a handle on what I want to do with my one precious 2017, if I can pull off all the preparatory work properly…
Plus stability, for now, is 100mg, which despite a recent increase means I’m still 50mg down on last year.
I’ve also skimmed off enough of the scum from my lungs and my arteries (NB: not actual science) that exercise and eating well have become, if not yet something I actively delight in, something I don’t like to do without.
Which brings us to the concept of the fakeaway.
I know, I know: I’ve titled this post like it’s going to be part of a series, and I doubt that will be true. That said, I’ve adopted a fair few tasty recipes based on takeaway favourites over the years: Martha Stewart’s take on pork fried rice, for example; or the sticky Chinese beef recipe Sera from The Style Guide Blog shared on Instagram a few months ago, which has become a household favourite.
But these recipes take time, which doesn’t help when you’re tempted to order in. What if there was a quicker, easier way to recreate the taste of your favourite restaurant cuisines at home – while staying in control of what goes into them?
If you find it, let me know – but until then, there’s always the katsu curry kit from Japanese food brand Yutaka.
Yutaka first began selling authentic Japanese food products in the UK in 1995, and their range now includes sushi, sauce, soup, rice and noodle ingredients as well as their easy to use meal kits. I was sent the three components of the traditional katsu curry for review: panko breadcrumbs*, “Japanese-style” curry paste cubes* and some sushi rice*.
You’re probably already pretty familiar with katsu curry – it’s one of the biggest sellers in the likes of Wagamama. It’s not something I have ever actually ordered due to my nervousness around sauces, so I was pretty pleased to discover that the sauce only involves solid paste, hot water and an onion.
My attempt didn’t look all that restaurant-worthy which is, in part, down to my lack of experience/equipment for deep-fat frying (I later discovered, via the recipe on Yutaka’s website, that I could have oven-baked the chicken instead which obviously would have been a healthier alternative). But it tasted good, and that’s what counts. I mean, unless you’re writing a blog post and have to take accompanying photos, obviously.
To make the curry required a couple of extra ingredients: the chicken, obviously (or your protein of choice), a little flour and egg wash and an onion. First I prepared the rice, following the instructions on the packet. I washed and drained it, simmered it for 10 minutes and then left it off the heat to soak up the remaining water. Top tip: my usual approach, which involves underestimating the amount of water required so as not to risk mushy rice, didn’t work here and the finished product was a little tougher than even I would like. Something to bear in mind when I’m making this again.
I seasoned the chicken, coated it in flour, egg and the panko breadcrumbs, and then attempted some DIY replica of deep fat frying which involved filling the wok, as my deepest pan, with as much oil as I could stomach and heating it until it smoked. The idea is that you fry the chicken in the oil until it floats then turn it over, but since mine wasn’t quite submerged I had to judge it by eye. The chicken was a little too tough to slice through properly when finished (as you can see from the photos!) but still turned out okay. I’ll definitely give the oven method a go next time around though.
Have you tried Yutaka products? Any tips for recreating the takeaway experience at home?
This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.