Chicken katsu – low calorie and lean protein recipe

Japanese chicken katsu coated with crispy panko. (Pinterest pic)

What is katsu?

In Japanese cooking, katsu is basically a simple dish of breaded and fried meat cutlet. The most popular is tonkatsu, or fried pork cutlet.

Of course if you don’t take pork, there is chicken katsu too, served with traditional katsu sauce, which pairs perfectly well with the fried meat.

Chicken katsu coating
• Coat the chicken cutlet with flour.
• Dip the chicken in beaten egg.
• Coat it generously with Japanese panko (bread crumbs).

Repeat the three steps above by coating the chicken with flour, dipping it in the beaten egg and then coat with panko again. Double dipping and coating ensures a crispy, light and crunchy exterior.

Optionally you can skip the flour coating in the traditional recipe. The flour tends to separate the chicken from the crispy crust, which you may not like.

You can make your own katsu sauce at home. (Saveur pic)

What is katsu sauce?

Katsu or Tonkatsu sauce is basically a Japanese-style BBQ sauce for fried meat. The main ingredients are Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sugar and other seasoning.

The taste is very unique, with tartness from the Worcestershire sauce, but also slightly salty and sweet at the same time.

While katsu sauce can be commercially purchased, you can also make it at home.


• 300g boneless and skinless chicken breast
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 dashes black pepper
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 cup Japanese panko or bread crumbs
• oil for deep-frying


• 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon mirin
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard


• Slice chicken breast horizontally into two equal-sized pieces. Season with salt and black pepper. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

• Mix all ingredients for the katsu sauce in a bowl, stir to mix well.

• Heat up a pot of cooking oil for deep-frying. Ideal temperature is about 350°F/180°C.

• Dip each piece of the chicken into the beaten egg, then immediately coat it with the panko. Shake off the excess.

• Dip the chicken into the egg again, and then coat with panko for the second time. Make sure the chicken is evenly coated with a thick layer of panko. Repeat the same for the other piece of chicken.

• Once the oil is fully heated, gently drop each piece of chicken into the pot and deep-fry until both sides turn golden brown. Dish out the chicken onto a plate lined with paper towels.

• Cut the chicken into strips, and serve immediately with steamed rice, katsu sauce and a fresh side salad.


• You can bake the chicken katsu instead of deep frying it but the end result is different as it will be drier and not as crispy.

• If you have an air fryer, you can certainly air-fry the chicken cutlet coated with panko.

• This chicken katsu recipe is only 383 calories. It’s a healthy dish and loaded with lean protein.

• This meal is best served with steamed rice and a fresh salad.

This article first appeared in

Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.