Katsudon or Katsu-don’t? That is the Question.
The answer is Katsudon. Obviously. The very name rings with power. This creation, a rice bowl topped with soft onions, egg, tonkatsu, and a sweet broth, is the ultimate Japanese comfort food. It’s pretty typically seen in both Japanese anime and live-action dramas as a quick, cheap meal, one detectives often eat when they are in a hurry. Alternatively, detectives in Japanese dramas also eat it when they’re questioning a suspect, or they use it as a sort of bribe. If the suspect talks, they get the katsudon. Presumably, the lure of a tasty, hearty, and filling meal is enough to break anyone’s resolve.
Hataraku Maou-Sama uses this very technique! Alsiel downs his katsudon with ferver, accepting the bribe whole-heartedly.
I actually distinctly remember eating this dish on two occasions. Once, my first time, when I thought it would be impressive to order the same thing as a boy I liked despite that it has egg, which, if you didn’t read my last post, I really hate. I remember being so surprised at how good it was! I gobbled it up. Despite probably looking like a heathen at how fast I downed my first katsudon, that guy still thought it would be a good idea to date me, so it’s nice that worked out.
The second time I ate it was actually my first night in Japan, when I went there for an internship last summer. It was during the rainy season, so it was damp and humid out, and I was feeling jet lagged and out of place, but when I got my katsudon, that all fell away. I felt so much happier with a warm meal, and got a great night’s sleep after that (although Japanese pillows are kinda weird).
For me, the katsudon is full of good memories, so I did my best to recreate it! Read on for the recipe 🙂
How to make Katsudon
As with most don‘s (btw, don means bowl in Japanese, and katsu is short for tonkatsu, which is breaded, fried pork cutlets. So, katsudon means pork cutlet bowl), there are three components to this dish. The rice, the meat, and the sauce/topping.
1/3-1/2 cup per serving of rice, depending on how hungry you are.
Cook according to package or rice cooker instructions. Place rice in bowls just before dishing out the katsu.
The Tonkatsu (recipe for 4)
4 pork cutlets (I just cut a pork chop in half, so that it was about 1/2 inch thick)
1/2 cup Flour
1 1/2-2 cups Panko bread crubs
2 medium eggs or 1 large egg
Salt and pepper
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
Prep your pork cutlets with salt and pepper, and don’t be shy. This is the only seasoning they will really get on the pork itself, so apply liberally. Then, set up your work station. You should put the flour on one plate, a bowl of the scrambled eggs next, and then a plate of Panko.
Begin coating your cutlets, starting by coating in flour, then egg, then finally panko. Do this will all of them. They should look like this when done:
Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, place in cutlets carefully and allow to cook on both sides until they become golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. If not sure, cut open a cutlet before you take them all off the heat. Once they are all done, allow to drain, and then slice in preparation for the don.
The Egg/ Onion Mixture
First, we need to make a quick dashi stock!
2 cups water
1 piece konbu
1/2 cup bonito flakes
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2.5 tablespoons mirin
Bring water and konbu to boil. Remove konbu, and add in bonito flakes. Turn the heat down and let simmer for a minute, and then turn heat off and let bonito flakes steep. Then, sieve out the bonito flakes. Add in sugar, soy sauce, and mirin, and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Next, prep the onions!
1 yellow onion, 1/4 per serving
Thinly slice the onion.
Now, scramble your egg.
1 large egg per serving
Scramble up egg in a bowl, and add in salt.
Put it all together!
Put 1/4 of onion in a pan along with about 1/3 cup dashi on medium heat. Allow to cook down until onions become transparent, 1-2 minutes.. Then, place 1 sliced pork cutlet on top of onions. Pour egg mixture all around the cutlet and slightly on top of the edges. I kinda messed this part up a little and didn’t get the egg over the tonkatsu enough.
Let cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the egg starts to firm up just a bit. Then transfer everything onto the top of your rice bowl. I used green onion as a garnish, but in the actual anime the garnish is something different, I just couldn’t tell what.
And now it’s done! It was delicious, just as I’d hoped it would be 🙂 Thanks so much for reading! Questions, comments? Please feel free to leave a response below.