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. Today's recipe is going to be a classic Japanese comfort dish, katsudon. There are many different variations but the most common and my personal favorite is pork katsudon. You just can't go wrong with pan-fried pork cutlets simmered with sweet eggs on a bed of steamed rice!
- 1 cup water
- 1 3x3 inch dried kelp
- ¼ cup bonito flakes
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 2 pork chops bone in
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 eggs whisked
- ½ cup panko
- oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon 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 dried kelp. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bonito flakes. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and strain the liquid.
- Pour ⅓ cup of the dashi stock into a medium bowl, 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 ¼ 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 then 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 tablespoon 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 of 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 make your own dashi. To make dashi, simmer dried kelp with water for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add bonito flakes, cover the pot and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Strain the liquid, discarding the kelp and bonito flakes and you have homemade dashi! Without a doubt, the easiest stock to make.
For the pork, pound the meat with a mallet to tenderize it. Cover the pork chops with plastic wrap to keep the mallet clean and to prevent the meat from tearing. No need to pound the pork too thin, ¼-inch is perfect.
Now it's time to set up your breading station. This breading station is a classic used for many, many items including but not limited to zucchini fries, chicken cutlets, chicken McNuggets, etc. It's a classic because no matter what ingredient you fry, it's fantastic.
Pan-fry the pork in oil over medium heat, making sure your oil is not too hot. If the oil is too hot, the outside will cook much quicker 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 the sweet soy 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. Serve the katsudon over steamed rice and dig in. Typically restaurants have togarashi, a type of chili pepper, to sprinkle on top that completes this dish.
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?
For more pork inspiration check out this twice cooked black pepperpork belly recipe!