Saturday, 21 November 2009

Kiev Katsu Kurry Don

Quite recently I caught an episode of Alex Riley's BBC programme on Britain's Really Disgusting Foods. It was on the meat products that we buy, and the various fillers that go into them. Chicken Kievs were covered in the programme, and it turns out that the EU and the FSA, for all their various regulations about food labelling, don't actually have any for Kievs.

This meant that there are no minimum requirements for the actual chicken content in a Chicken Kiev. The lowest they have found so far was the Tesco Value one at 30%. This piqued my curiosity, and given that both my former and current roommates are both fans of the breaded chicken dish, I thought that it would be a good idea to have a look at what the Sainsbury's Basics equivalent would consist of.

I'm glad to report that the chicken content is much higher than the Tesco Value one, at 50%. Unfortunately, the rest of it consists of textured wheat protein, chicken skin, and necessary items to bind it all together.

While the Kiev was baking in the oven, I was deliberating over what should go with it. I'm a big fan of Japanese Katsu Curry Don, which effectively is a breaded chicken or pork cutlet topped with Japanese curry sauce and served with rice. I realised that I have spent the last few blog posts covering mainly British items and there was now an opportunity to recreate items that my fellow countrymen may miss whilst studying or working here. In addition, I've been intrigued by the Basics curry sauce that people have been talking about on the MoneySavingExpert Sainsbury's Basics forum thread, and bought myself a bottle to try. Based on the above, I decided to create a variation of Katsu Curry, substituting a Chicken Kiev for the cutlet.

The Basics Curry Sauce's claim to fame was its initially ultra low price point of 4p. More recently however Sainsbury's has raised it to 9p, and then to 12p. This still makes it extremely cheap relative to the regular own brand curry sauces, which typically cost 86p.

This low price point does have its drawbacks. It is a very generic curry sauce, more akin to Japanese curry, and not even closely resembling one of the myriads of curries that are available, known and loved in this land. The sauce contains a few raisins, seemingly added there as an afterthought.

So while the Kiev is cooking, I cooked what was left of my Basics long grain rice and proceeded to prepare an improvised Japanese curry sauce. To four tablespoons of curry sauce, I added some Basics frozen mixed vegetables (yes I know, they have been featuring very heavily, I do want to get rid of it all), a tablespoon of water, and put it in the microwave on 800W for 2.5 minutes.

A couple of tips about cooking Basics rice. Firstly, rinse the rice with water. I'm aware that this is not usually common practice amongst the British, but it rids the rice of unnecessary starch. This should remedy some of the complaints that various people are having about the Basics rice coming out as one sticky glop. Secondly, use less water than usual. Common practice dictates that the water level should be one finger joint above the rice. For Basics rice however, you would want to have about four-fifths to three-quarters of a finger joint.

The Kiev leaked some garlic butter while it was cooking, which was disappointing, as I was hoping that it blending with the curry sauce would make for interesting results.

Place the Kiev on the rice, cut it open to inspect contents...

And then top with prepared curry sauce.

This adventure actually made for a very lovely lunch, and has given me an idea. The British supermarkets stock Chicken Kievs with a wide variety of fillings. Since the British love their curries, I would imagine that a curry-filled Chicken Kiev would be very popular. I'm aware that some people from Sainsbury's do read this blog, so it would be interesting to see if this follows through as a real product.

The Basics Chicken Kiev actually proved to be very pleasant to eat, if one forgets for a moment that it does not consist entirely of meat. Those of you who have trouble with that could try the regular ones (frozen or fresh), which typically contain 91%-100% chicken meat. The curry sauce was actually a good find as far as non-Indian curries are concerned. Given that Japanese curry sauce mixes are £2.50-£3 for 4-6 servings (working out to be about 40-75p per serving), the Basics curry sauce would actually make a pleasant and highly cost-effective substitute.

Finally, I would like to make another suggestion. The Sainsbury's that serves me also serves many students, some of whom are from my home country. Given that we are big fans of breaded chicken, I would imagine that stocking the Basics Chicken Kiev would prove to be very popular. It would also mean that I would not have to take the trouble to go to Finchley Road just to buy it.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Chicken Kiev£0.832, 250g+£0.40 - £2.46 for 4 at 568gHigher chicken meat content. Recommended.
Curry Sauce
£0.12440g+£0.74 for 500gMore authentic sauce, greater variety. Recommended.

Thanks to ExNicotineQueen of the MoneySavingExpert Forums for locating the Chicken Kiev.


  1. I've tried the Basics rice, curry sauce and vegetables which are all seriously nice but not the Kiev yet. I'll get one next time! Great review.

  2. Just tried this, and it is very nice - a lot nicer than you'd think - very tasty and filling!


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