Autumn brings colder, dark nights. By the time I get home from work it’s already dark. I’m often tempted to turn up the central heating, but perhaps a cheaper and more satisfying option is to make a thick, spicy, sweet/sour Japanese katsu sauce to keep warm.
Not only does this sauce work well with crispy, breaded vegetables, but if you have any left over it’s great poured over hot chips or mashed potato. It also freezes well.
For the sauce
A splash of sunflower or other flavourless oil
1 onion – chopped
1 large carrot – finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic – chopped
1 tablespoon sugar – preferably brown, but white will work fine too
500ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 heaped teaspoons paprika powder
1 taspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add the onion and fry gently till translucent. Add the carrot and garlic and fry for a further 10 minutes. Add the flour, paprika and curry powder and stir, coating the vegetables and cooking off the flour a little. Now slowly add the stock, stirring all the time so as not to form lumps. Add the soy and sugar and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or so until the carrots are tender and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and blend with a stick blender, food processor or by pressing through a sieve.
For the vegetables
2-3 tablespoons sunflower oil
250g breadcrumbs – panko if you can get them
1 small aubergine
1 sweet potato
Peel the sweet potato. Slice the potato and aubergine into 1cm thick rounds. Place the egg in a shallow bowl and beat. Place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl.
Take a slice of either and dip in the egg, then in the crumbs to coat. Sometimes it is worth repeating to make sure the slice is well coated.
When all the slices are coated in breadcrumbs, heat the oil in a frying pan then gently fry for around 10-12 minutes, turning once. The sweet potato and aubergine needs to be soft and the crumbs, brown and crispy.
Serve the fried sweet potato and aubergine with the sauce, boiled rice and a green salad.