They say a good takeaway can’t be replicated at home. But I disagree. In fact, I think making our own dishes can be even more rewarding. Such hands-on activities provide greater surety in what we eat, whilst putting less pressure on the purse strings.
And, by choosing our ingredients and setting the budget, we avoid encountering order limits, expensive delivery fees and lucky dips. Don’t even get us started on problems with the food — no one wants a lukewarm burger or soggy onion bhajis.
Better yet, keeping secrets from the internet is a hard thing to do; when professional tips and fantastic recipes are only a click away, you’d be a fool not give home cooking a try.
In this blog, you will discover how to cook the nation’s favourite fast food, the way it is meant to be served.
Notes to keep in mind
The number of ingredients listed will serve two. Adjust the quantity depending on how many people you are serving. For example, accommodating four people will require double the ingredients.
The ingredients are simple, homely, and nothing you couldn’t find in your local supermarket. There are plenty of opportunities for you to chop and change the dish for personal taste. Like things spicy? Throw in some extra chillies.
The legacy of katsu curry does not begin or end in the fast-food industry. Cooking in a westernised curry style is thought to have originated in Japan around the Meiji era, when its simple prep became a favourite to feed large families. So the dish really finds its footing through an intimate home cooking environment.
Yet many UK residents will recognise this dish from popular restaurant chain Wagamamas. Lucky for us, a leading chef in the chain has disclosed its secret recipe over a series of Instagram posts.
Katsu curry is family cooking personified and couldn’t be easier for you to make at home. Soon you will be eating restaurant-quality food without footing that restaurant-size bill.
- 1 onion
- 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of plain flour
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 300ml of chicken or vegetable stock
- 100ml of coconut milk
- Small piece of ginger
- Curry powder to taste
Panko fried chicken
- 2 skinless chicken breasts
- 50g plain flour
- 2 lightly beaten eggs
- 100g panko bread crumbs
- 2-3 tablespoons of Vegetable oil
Finely chop your onion. Crush the garlic cloves under your palm, then thinly slice.
Once done add a glug of vegetable oil to a pan and place on the heat. Wait for the pan to come to a low temperature, then add your garlic and onion to fry.
Grate a small piece of ginger (to taste) into the pan and allow to soften with onions and garlic. Next, add curry powder and turmeric.
After a minute or so, add a tablespoon of flour and stir. This will create the base of your curry, better known as a roux.
Slowly add watered-down chicken or vegetable stock a bit at a time, while stirring regularly. When done, pour in your coconut milk.
Finish with a small amount of sugar and soy sauce, allow to simmer for a few minutes. After which, remove your curry sauce from the heat and put to one side.
Cook your rice: add rice to a saucepan and pour in boiling water until the rice is submerged by 2cm.
Place the saucepan on the heat and leave for 10-12 minutes until rice is cooked. Take the saucepan off the heat and fluff the rice up with a fork.
Next, butterfly your fillets. Wash your hands and add lightly beaten eggs, flour and panko bread crumbs to separate bowls.
Turn your fillets over in the flour, then eggs and finally panko bread crumbs.
Now for the dangerous part: deep-fat frying. Deep-fry your chicken in vegetable oil (aim for about an inch in depth). Turn over using tongs and keep your hands as far away from the oil as possible.
Once fried, leave your chicken to rest on a sheet of kitchen towel.
Time to plate up! Start your curry with a bed of rice, then slice your chicken into strips and add.
Wrap up your dish by reheating your curry sauce and pouring all over — the more sauce, the better!
Piri-Piri chicken & sweet potato wedges
The fiery flavour of Piri-Piri has its roots firmly planted in Portuguese family cuisine, but we know it best as the staple of Nando’s.
The fast-food restaurant has become synonymous with this spicy style of cooking chicken, making it no less than a national treasure in the eyes of UK citizens.
Over the years, Nando’s has firmly established itself in British culture, becoming a right of passage for teenagers across the country. We all remember our first ‘cheeky Nando’s’, playing wing roulette and daring each other to glug the extra hot sauce.
But the food means more to us than just silly games. Nando’s is the answer to all childhood conundrums. Your first date? Take them to Nando’s. Your mate’s birthday? A Nando’s squad trip or bust. In our teenage years, Nando’s is heralded as the pinnacle of British fast food.
Unfortunately, once you join adulthood, that buble sadly bursts. And I would go as far as to say, my once favourite restaurant is greatly overrated.
Bring Piri-Piri back to its wholesome family roots with this recipe — I guarantee you’ll do a better job at home than grizzly chicken served with bottomless soda.
Inspired by Piri Piri Chicken | Jamie Oliver & FunForLouis
- 1 whole chicken (skin on)
- 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
- A few sprigs of thyme
- Pinch of salt
- Glug of olive oil
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Glug of olive oil
Using a mortar and pestle, grind together smoked paprika, thyme and salt. Add a drizzle of olive oil to create a marinade. Then put aside for a second.
Take your chicken and cut it in half, lengthways down the middle. Retrieve your marinade and rub it generously over each half of the chicken.
Finish by placing your chicken in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to marinate for 5 hours.
Cut up your sweet potato into wedge shapes and preheat the oven to 180°C. Place your wedges onto an ovenproof pan and leave on the counter.
When the chicken is nicely marinated, season with salt and place it onto a preheated griddle pan. Allow it to fry and get nice and crispy.
At the same time, place your wedges and chicken into the oven. Allow each to cook for about half an hour.
Remove from the oven and serve. It’s as simple as that.
Pulled pork burrito
When you think of beautiful Mexican cuisine, an array of colourful street food comes to mind. For me, burritos top the list — a delicious wrap filled to bursting point with passion and flavour.
Mexican food has made its way into the hearts and mouths of people everywhere, becoming iconic across the globe. From market squares and takeaways to chain restaurants, the aroma alone is enough to tempt us in.
I’m probably not alone in saying that I must have tried a hundred times over to recreate that same feeling at home. But I never quite get it right — the tortilla is always a little too crispy and the filling just too dry.
But what if I said that there is a recipe that lives up to your favourite burrito brand and tastes even better than the takeaways?
Give this easy-to-follow recipe a go next time you feel like opening that delivery app:
Inspired by Oven Roasted Pulled Pork
- 1kg pork shoulder (preferably boneless)
- 2 tablespoons, smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- Ground black pepper
- 350ml lager (dealers choice)
- 1 red onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 lime
- A handful of coriander leaves
- 1 cup of basmati or long grain rice
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Trim fat away from the pork shoulder and cut into large chunks.
In a bowl, make a paste with brown sugar, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin. Rub over pork chunks, ensuring every part of the meat is covered.
Transfer pork to a casserole dish. Poor the lager in too, then cover with the lid. Place into the oven and leave until the pork is tender and falls apart. Expect to wait around for 2-3 hours.
While the pork is in the oven, you can make a start on the salsa.
Finely chop your red onions and add to a small bowl. Cut tomatoes into small pieces and add to the bowl too.
Season the salsa with a squeeze of lime juice, a pinch of salt and pepper and a handful of chopped coriander.
If you want a finer consistency, throw your salsa into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. When you are happy, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to keep it fresh.
You should still have time before the pork is ready to come out of the oven. Don’t worry if not — simply take the casserole dish out and let it sit, while you continue with part 3.
Add rice to a saucepan alongside a chunk of coconut oil. Then boil water in a kettle. Once the water is boiling, pour it into the saucepan until the rice is submerged by 2cm.
Place the saucepan on the heat and leave for 10-12 minutes. By this time the rice should have softened and absorbed the water.
Take the saucepan off the heat, fluff the rice up with a fork, and allow to cool.
The pork is done, the salsa is fresh and the rice is cooked — now it’s time to construct your burritos!
Line your components up in a conveyor-like fashion, starting with the pork, then rice and finally salsa.
Take a tortilla and lightly warm it under the grill for twenty seconds. Place a sheet of foil (slightly larger than the tortilla) over a plate. Retrieve your tortilla from the grill and place it on the foil sheet.
Add the pork, rice and salsa to the middle of your tortilla. Finish with some grated Monterey Jack cheddar.
To keep that takeaway feeling, you must get the roll just right — follow this ZAGAT video guide to perfect your technique.
A foodies roundup
Of course, your favourite fast food is still an option — I’d be a hypocrite to take that away from you. But it just goes to show that we can live without such a luxury, and it’s totally possible to make your own delicious food yourself. In actual fact, we may sometimes be better off cooking at home. The point is, there are plenty of fun fakeaway recipes out there, so get creative and give them a try!