Naturally lower-carb and vegan katsu curry sauce to go with aaaaall the vegetables and proteins! This vibrant Japanese-style sauce is nutritious and uber-delicious. Feel free to go as spicy as you dare. Oh, and it freezes like a dream!
Peel and chop the onion and garlic; peel and grate the ginger. You will be blending the sauce, so don't worry too much about the size.
Heat your oil of choice in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat, and add the chopped and grated vegetables. Once softened lower the heat and add the bay leaves, curry powder, turmeric, black pepper and cashew nuts. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes, adding a smidge more oil if necessary to prevent sticking.
Pour in the coconut milk, vegetable stock, soy sauce, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat, pluck out the bay leaves, and blend to a silky-smooth sauce by either using a stick blender or transferring to an upright blender. Taste and decide if you need a bit more sweetness from a no-carb sweetener or brown sugar - katsu curry sauce is a touch sweet.
Serve warm over or under rice/shirataki (no-carb) 'rice', roasted vegetables, or panko-crumbed and baked /fried tofu, chicken or fish. Lovely garnishes for a complete dish are toasted sesame seeds, sprigs of coriander/cilantro, sliced spring onion/scallions and a splash of lime juice or Japanese vinegar.
Peel, seed and slice a small-medium butternut squash or other winter squash - 8 wedges from my smallish one. Coat in a minimum of oil - about 1/2 tbsp - and lay on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Roast in an oven preheated to 180C fan/400F for 40 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly singed in places. For more protein, lightly oil slabs of sliced organic tofu and add to the tray after 20 minutes. I served mine with quick-pickled carrots and cucumber.
Nutrition information is based on 2 servings, although we have it for 3 servings. Use the nutrition label for guidance only.
Sweeteners: Instead of ketchup you could also use a teaspoon or so of brown sugar or coconut sugar. Ketchup or sugar balance the sauce, and give it the quintessential katsu curry sauce flavour.
No nuts, please: instead of cashews, use either potato starch/tapioca starch (1/2 tbsp), or plain flour (1 tbsp). Add this option at the end of the vegetable sautéing and before adding the liquid. Or you could use pan-toasted sunflower seeds if this is acceptable to you. Nuts and seeds make exceptionally good sauce thickeners.
How hot? Curry powders in the UK typically come in mild, medium and hot strengths. For a highly aromatic but heat-free option use garam masala. This sauce is meant to be punchy, but it doesn't need to be hot!
Freezeable: place in a lidded container or suitable freezer bag (labelled!) and use within one month for best flavour. Defrost before reheating.
What can I do with my katsu curry sauce? You can do a "proper" katsu curry - katsu meaning panko-crumbed and fried cutlets (usually chicken). To do this you would dip your protein choice in beaten egg - or a gram flour and water batter - then into panko crumbs, then shallow frying until cooked through. This is suitable for chicken, tofu and fish. Or, skip the frying and bake. For this option you would oil the crumbs (toss them in a bowl with oil), then coat your egg/batter-dipped protein. Bake as appropriate for your protein. And, of course, you can serve with roasted vegetables - as thick wedges or as a chunky dice - until golden and serve drenched in katsu curry sauce.