Chicken Katsu Coconut Ramen Recipe

If you aren't familiar with katsu, it may be best to start a few steps back. You've likely heard of the Germans' schnitzel, or at the very least, you've enjoyed an Italian milanese. While belonging to different cultures, the three dishes are similar, all using the same technique of dredging, breading, and frying a thin cutlet of meat. In the case of katsu, meat (often pork) is breaded in a specific breadcrumb called panko, which is made from crustless white bread and shredded once toasted crisp. This larger, fluffier breadcrumb absorbs less oil and results in the airy, crispy texture you notice in dishes like tonkatsu and coconut shrimp. 

In this recipe developed with Michelle McGlinn, chicken cutlets are coated in panko and coconut before being lightly fried to a beautiful, crispy golden brown. To make it better, the chicken is placed on top of savory, warming coconut broth, which has a delicate flavor of umami from shiitake mushrooms and sheets of kombu. It's a deeply filling, cozy meal that takes hardly 30 minutes to make from scratch. Save this one for a rainy day — you won't regret it.

Everything you need for chicken katsu coconut ramen

For the chicken katsu, you'll need four pieces of chicken cutlet. The chicken breasts need to be about ¼-inch thick to fry correctly in this recipe, so if you can't get chicken cutlets, opt instead for 2 chicken breasts and slice them in half yourself. Dredge the chicken in flour, eggs, coconut flakes, and panko, then fry in canola or vegetable oil. You won't need a lot of oil for katsu, since it doesn't need to cover the chicken in the skillet.

For the ramen, you'll need mushrooms (we prefer shiitake here, but any variety will do), scallions, fresh ginger, garlic, one Thai chili, and some soy sauce. If you can't find Thai chilies, use serrano peppers instead. Then, simmer in canned coconut milk, chicken broth, and kombu. Kombu is kelp, and can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores near sushi-making supplies or Japanese ingredients. Kombu is different from nori, which looks very similar — and can be swapped in a pinch. With the broth made, you'll just need a few pucks of cooked ramen to serve with (instant works fine).

Dredging the chicken

To dredge the chicken cutlets, prepare three shallow bowls on a table. Fill the first bowl with flour, the second with beaten eggs, and the third with coconut flakes and panko. Align them in order, then use them as an assembly line for the chicken. Press the chicken into the flour first, coating both sides, then into the egg for a full, wet coat. With the egg coating the chicken, press the cutlet into the panko mixture, pressing firmly to adhere. Set the chicken aside while the oil heats up.

Frying the katsu

Using a deep skillet like a cast iron, which retains heat well, heat the oil until hot enough to brown a piece of panko immediately. If the panko doesn't sizzle right away, the oil isn't ready. Carefully add the cutlets to the oil and fry on either side until crispy golden brown. Since the chicken is very thin, this doesn't take very long, so don't walk away from the skillet. Once browned, drain the chicken on a wire rack or paper towel.

Making the broth

If you're a skilled multitasker, you can start the broth while the chicken is cooking and have them both ready at the same time. Start by lightly browning the mushrooms, cooking until golden and glossy. Add in the aromatics and stir until fragrant, then splash in the soy sauce. Stir in the coconut milk — if yours is solidified, break it down using the back of a spoon until smooth. Stir, then add the broth and kombu and bring to a simmer. If you're in a rush, simmer for 10 minutes to develop umami flavor. If you have more time, try simmering for upwards of 30 minutes for a stronger, richer flavor and thicker texture.

Serving the ramen and chicken katsu

It might seem tempting to save a pot and boil the noodles directly in the broth, but McGlinn says it's better to cook the noodles separately to avoid a gummy, chewy texture. Drain the noodles and divide them into bowls, then ladle broth over the top until covered. If you are preparing to have leftovers, store extra noodles in a separate container from the broth to avoid next-day gummy texture and starchy broth (you can do this after serving, too, by simply separating the noodles from the broth with chopsticks).

To serve, layer the chicken katsu on top of the ramen and sprinkle with green onion. If you'd like a spicier ramen, try topping with chili crisp; for crunchier, try fried onion or sesame seed.

Chicken Katsu Coconut Ramen Recipe
5 from 18 ratings
This comforting coconut ramen recipe combines crispy chicken katsu with a warming broth for the perfect rainy day meal.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chopsticks in a bowl of ramen
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup coconut flakes
  • Oil, for frying, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 scallions, white parts chopped, green parts reserved
  • 1-inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai chili, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 sheets kombu
  • 4 pucks ramen noodles (About 12 ounces), cooked
  1. To make the chicken katsu, first dredge the chicken cutlets. Assemble three shallow bowls: Put flour in the first bowl, the beaten eggs in the second, and the breadcrumbs and coconut flakes in the third bowl. Stir breadcrumbs and coconut flakes well to combine.
  2. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then coat completely in egg. Shake the excess, then press into the panko mixture to coat. Coat both sides completely in panko, then set aside on a sheet tray while warming the oil.
  3. In a skillet, heat ¼-inch oil over medium heat. Once hot (A breadcrumb will sizzle immediately), carefully add the cutlets, working in batches so as not to crowd the skillet. Fry until dark golden brown on each side, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Once both sides are crispy, remove and drain on a wire rack.
  4. To make the ramen, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot or Dutch oven. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden, about 3 minutes, then add the scallion whites, ginger, garlic, and chili. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes (You should smell the ginger before proceeding).
  5. Add the soy sauce and stir to coat the vegetables, then add the coconut milk and combine. Once smooth, add the chicken broth and kombu, then bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes for stronger flavor.
  6. When ready to serve, divide cooked ramen noodles into bowls. Pour broth over noodles, then top with prepared chicken katsu. Top with the reserved green parts of the scallions, cooked kombu, and mushrooms.
Calories per Serving 1,398
Total Fat 63.0 g
Saturated Fat 34.6 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 285.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 118.1 g
Dietary Fiber 8.1 g
Total Sugars 9.7 g
Sodium 2,603.3 mg
Protein 90.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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