A katsu curry doughnut? Tim Anderson turns tradition on its head with this Japanese-inspired creation
“If something on a London restaurant menu was described as ‘katsu curry doughnut,’ it would be a rather novel thing.
In Tokyo, just such an item has been around for nearly a century. In 1927 a baker named Toyoharu Tanaka began selling filled and fried ‘Western bread’, and it’s likely that kare pan was born from this.
Today, curry pan is ubiquitous – every conbini sells a decent version and they even appear in school lunches, but you can also get very nice ones made by bakers or curry restaurants.
It is best to make the curry the day before you need it so you can chill it thoroughly. You will need a probe thermometer for this one.”
Makes 6 doughnuts
For the curry:
• 15g (½ oz) butter
• ½ small onion, diced
• 10g (½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
• 10g (½ oz) curry powder
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 120ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) vegetable stock
• ½ carrot, peeled and diced
• 80g (3 oz) cauliflower, cut into small pieces
• 20g (¾ oz/scant ¼ cup) peas
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon ketchup
• hot chilli sauce, to taste (optional)
For the dough:
• 5 g (1 teaspoon) instant yeast
• 60ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) lukewarm milk
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• 250g (9 oz/2 cups) strong white bread flour
• 50g (2 oz/heaped ⅓ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
• 3g (½ teaspoon) salt
• 15g (½ oz/1 tablespoon) caster (superfine) sugar
• 80g (3 oz) butter, softened and cut into small pieces
To assemble and serve:
• 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water or milk
• 40g (1½ oz) panko
• vegetable oil, for deep-frying (about 1.5 litres/ 52 fl oz/6 cups)
1 To make the curry, melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the onion and fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
2 Stir in the flour, curry powder and garam masala, then cook the roux for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
3 Add the carrot, cauliflower and peas and cook until tender, stirring frequently to ensure the sauce doesn’t catch.
4 Stir in the soy sauce, ketchup and chilli sauce, if using, then remove from the heat and chill thoroughly.
5 To make the dough, stir together the yeast and milk until the yeast dissolves, then stir the mixture into the eggs. Place the flours, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl (use an electric mixer with a dough hook, if you have one) and mix lightly, then add the liquid ingredients.
6 Mix by hand or on a low speed for 2 minutes, then turn the speed up to medium and mix for another 7 minutes, or knead on a floured surface for 15 minutes.
7 Add the butter and knead or mix for a further 5 minutes until no chunks of butter remain and the dough is very smooth and soft. Wrap the dough in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for at least 2 hours.
8 Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Roll the balls out into rounds about 10 cm (4 in) across, then flatten out the edges a little (each round should be a little bit thicker at the centre).
9 Place a big spoonful of curry in the centre of each round, then fold over and press the edges together firmly to tightly seal in the curry (if they open even a little in the oil, the curry will come gushing out).
10 Crimp the sealed edges of each doughnut using a fold-and-roll motion like making a pasty, then turn the doughnuts onto a lightly oiled tray, sealed side down. Transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 1 hour.
11 Place the panko on a tray or plate. Brush each doughnut with the egg wash, then roll through the panko.
12 Cover the doughnuts loosely in cling film (plastic wrap) and leave to prove in a warm place for 1–2 hours, or until they have nearly doubled in size.
13 Heat the oil to 160°C (320°F) and carefully lower the doughnuts into the oil, 2 or 3 at a time, sealed-side down.
14 After a few seconds, flip the doughnuts over so the seam is now at the top (this will help prevent them from over-inflating, which causes the bread to be too hollow).
15 Fry for 8 minutes, turning frequently, until they are golden brown. Leave to cool slightly before serving.
Extracted from Tokyo Stories: A Japanese Cookbook by Tim Anderson (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography © Nassima Rothacker
Tokyo Stories won a Special Commendation at the André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards 2019
Founded in 1978, the André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards are the only awards in the UK to exclusively recognise the achievements of food and drink writers and are the longest continuous running awards of their kind. andresimon.co.uk