Bruce Lee meets Colonel Sanders – this is one of those dishes that just works. We’ve experimented with lots of variations and this is our favourite – it has a lovely slightly aniseedy taste. Panko breadcrumbs are a must so keep some in your store cupboard.
50g plain flour
1 large egg
100g Japanese panko breadcrumbs or dry white breadcrumbs 200ml sunflower oil
hot mounds of steamed rice, for serving
3 tbsp sunflower oil 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
25g chunk of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp medium curry powder
1⁄2 tsp ground star anise
1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
20g plain flour
500ml chicken stock (made with 1 chicken stock cube)
2 tsp tomato purée freshly ground black pepper
First make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and add the chopped onions. Cover with a lid and gently fry the onions for 8–10 minutes until well softened, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, increase the heat a little and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring often, until the onions are pale golden brown. Reduce the heat, add the ginger and garlic and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir the curry powder, star anise, turmeric and a few twists of ground black pepper into the onions. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle over the plain flour and stir well. Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring constantly until it is all incorporated. Add the tomato purée and bring to a simmer, then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. If you don’t have a stick blender, let the sauce cool for a few minutes and blend in a food processor until smooth. Cover with cling film and set aside while you prepare the chicken.
One at a time, place the chicken breasts on a board and cover with cling film. Bash the thickest part of the chicken with a rolling pin until the pieces have an even depth – just under 2cm. Sift the flour on to a large plate. Beat the egg in a medium bowl with a metal whisk until smooth. Sprinkle half the breadcrumbs over a small tray. Take a chicken breast and dust it in the flour. Shake off any excess and dip it straight into the beaten egg, then coat it in the breadcrumbs until evenly covered. Put the chicken breast on a tray while you coat the rest, adding the reserved breadcrumbs after coating 2 breasts. Chill for 30–60 minutes if you have time, as this will help the breadcrumb coating to ‘set’.
Pour the oil into a deep non-stick frying pan and set over a medium heat. DO NOT ALLOW THE OIL TO OVERHEAT AND NEVER LEAVE HOT OIL UNATTENDED. Using tongs, gently lower 2 of the chicken breasts into the hot oil. Cook for 5–6 minutes on each side until the chicken is crisp, golden brown and cooked through – there should be no pinkness remaining in the centre. Keep these chicken breasts warm while you cook the others. Five minutes before the chicken is ready, remove the cling film from the curry sauce and pour it into a pan over a low heat. Slowly bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Slice the crisp chicken breasts thickly and serve on warmed plates with steamed rice and some hot sauce, or place the sauce in small dishes to serve alongside. Serve immediately.
Recipes taken from The Hairy Biker’s Great Curries, Si King and Dave Myers, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, £20 new book out on 28 February