Two years ago I spent my Christmas Holidays with my wife – then fiancée – and her family over on the other side of the pond, in England. I’d been before, so seeing Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and all those other year-round tourist attractions, though still a treat, didn’t make my list of top highlights. Instead, given the holiday season, there were so many other exciting things to see and experience: traditional Christmas markets, the lights on Oxford Street, the Christmas Day service at Canterbury Cathedral, and New Years Eve fireworks while drinking sparking wine on the banks of the Thames. There was one experience, however, that was just as awesome and awe-inspiring the second time I experienced it: Wagamama’s Chicken Katsu Curry.
I can’t fully describe Wagamama to you as my knowledge of it is limited. I know that it’s a restaurant found all throughout Great Britain that labels itself as a “Japanese Restaurant + Noodle Bar”, and that at this particular restaurant the patrons sit on benches, at long wooden tables, together with strangers. I know nothing of their cuisine other than what I’ve seen on the menu and what appears on the plates of others around me, because I have one simple goal when I dine there: devouring the delicious meal you see below.
Having done absolutely nothing exciting or special this New Year’s – aside from my first ever attempt at a paella (from none other than Jamie Oliver, in fact) – I knew I needed to make something special both to start this blog, and feel a little bit closer to our family back in the UK. Plus, I’d been frying like a mad man lately under the excuse that I was bound to gain weight over the break regardless, so why not do it as much with battered and breaded and fried food as with cheesecake? So with all these things in mind, I started searching for knockoffs. The recipe I chose was a rather simplistic attempt the dish (there were more complex deconstructions out there) but it was the first Google result, and it ended up being quite delicious. I’m sure a side by side comparison would reveal some inadequacies, but I was left quite satisfied in my attempt.
The recipe came from a poster going by “Annicakes” on the “allrecipes UK/Ireland” site. I tried to take a picture with all the listed ingredients, but shortly after starting I realized I’d forgotten soy sauce and probably one or two other items. In any case, pictured here are the requirements with an omission or three.
Once I get the hang of this whole blogging thing I’ll probably have my posts streamlined with recipe variations, actual cooking times (I’m 50% slower than most on a good day) and tips and tricks I found useful. Today, with another recipe probably on tap for tonight and the Canada/Russia World Junior Final set to start before I even get home from work, I’ll end this post with a picture of the final product: my poorly-lit, unartistic, cell phone shot of the very tasty recipe 01 – Chicken Katsu Curry.