I've been making a lot of Asian food lately and today is Japanese cuisine day! I rarely make Japanese food because I don't know many Japanese foods but what I do know, I love. I only discovered katsudon a couple years ago and so after having it again recently, I tried to make it at home. There are many different variations I've seen but the most common and my favorite is pork katsudon. Delicious!
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
1 cup water
1/4 onion, cut into large chunks
1 garlic clove
green onion, white part only
1 dried shiitake mushroom
1 3x3 dried kelp
3 dried anchovy (optional)
2 tbsp bonito flakes
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2 pork chops, bone in
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup panko
oil for frying
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced thin
3 eggs, whisked
1 green onion sliced thin
rice for serving
- Make a dashi stock for the sauce by combining the water with the onion - anchovy, if using. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the bonito flakes. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and strain the liquid.
- Pour 1/3 cup of the dashi stock into a medium bowl, discarding the rest or saving it for next time. Add the sugar, soy sauce and mirin. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- Prepare the pork cutlets. Cover with plastic wrap and gently pound with a mallet to tenderize the meat. Remove the plastic wrap and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Pour oil 1/4 inch high in a saute pan. Heat to 350 degrees F.
- Dredge the pork in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the pork in the egg than coat with the panko. Carefully lay in the heated oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
- Heat the 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour the dashi sauce mix into the pan. Nestle the fried pork cutlets into the bed of onions. Top with the sliced green onion.
- Reduce heat to low and pour the whisked eggs evenly over the pork. Cover and cook until the eggs are almost set, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately with rice.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Katsudon is simple and easy to prepare, only relying on a couple ingredients. Therefore, it's important to have a great sauce base and to have good quality pork.
For the dashi stock, you can purchase hondashi which is a powder form of dashi that you just add water to or you can substitute just water. Keep in mind that this will not produce the best dashi stock. I will admit, even my dashi stock does have few ingredients that the basic recipe does not include, but I believe it makes a difference in the end.
For the pork, I chose to use bone-in chops this time, something that I have never done before for this dish. I always used to use pork butt which is incredibly tender; however, after trying fried pork cutlets with the bone in, I was convinced to go this route.
Pounding the pork with a mallet tenderizes the meat. To prevent you from tearing the meat a part, cover with plastic wrap (this also keeps your mallet clean!) Just don't go too crazy when pounding; you don't want your pork to be too thin! I kept mine at 1/2 inch thick.
This breading station is a classic used for many, many items including but not limited to zucchini fries, chicken cutlets, chicken mcnuggets, coconut shrimp, mushroom "lollipops", etc etc. It's a classic because no matter what ingredient you fry, it's fantastic with a crispy panko breading!
Make sure your oil is not too hot. Too hot means the outside will cook much quicker on the outside than the inside.
At this point you have created tonkatsu. You can serve the pork as is with tonkatsu sauce and rice and you have another popular Japanese dish. But you're going to take it one step further and make katsudon!
Saute onions, pour sauce, lay the pork and pour the eggs. Keep your flames on low so that the eggs don't overcook. You don't want them fully set; the idea is to get slightly runny and "wet" eggs when serving.
Typically restaurants have togarashi, a type of chili pepper, to sprinkle on top that completes this dish. Don't worry if you don't have though because it will still warm your stomach! To me, this is Japanese comfort food at its best. Fried tender pork coated in eggs with a sweet and salty sauce, what can be better?