Hot on the heels of my Oyakadon (chicken rice bowl) recipe is the mighty Katsudon; a rice bowl dish of delicious crumbed pork with a tasty miso sauce. There is a specific sauce (Tonkatsu sauce) to eat with crumbed pork in Japan but I decided to try out a miso sauce on this occasion. You can get all ingredients for the sauce easily from an Asian grocer as well as ready to use Tonkatsu sauce (I recommend Bulldog brand or Kikkoman) if you aren’t partial to the miso flavour .
Pork is a pretty versatile meat and for this reason it is well loved in Japan, as well as for the fact that it is an economical meat. As such, there are literally thousands of recipes using pork meat such as Gyoza, Japanese Pork Belly (Buta No Kakuni) and Ginger Pork. Pork also gets the Pank0/deep frying treatment in the form of Tonkatsu (crumbed pork) which is an all-time family favourite. Kami Tonkatsu (Paper-thin Crumbed Pork) is the use of thinly flattened pork to make extra crunchy Tonkatsu.
Sadly, pork isn’t particularly cheap in Australia but there are some bargain cuts around and leg schnitzel pieces are well priced. If you’re feeling flash, then pork fillet is extra tasty (just flatten with a mallet) but given the sauce packs a fantastic flavour punch, the more modest cuts are perfectly fine to use. You’re also after a crunchy finish so the thinner the cut, the better. If you have time and can do the paper-thin crumbed pork, get your schnitzel pieces flattened out further with a mallet.
Tonkatsu/Katsudon isn’t hard to make but it isn’t a bad idea to pre-prepare your crumbed meat if you’re going to be in a rush later. The frying process doesn’t take long as the pork isn’t thick and Tonkatsu is best served straight off the pan before the juicy meat gets the crunchy Panko coating soggy.
You can serve your Katsudon with some blanched snow peas or sugar snap peas, or whatever vegetable accompaniment you like.
Katsudon with Miso Sauce (serves 3-4 people)
3 medium pieces of pork leg schnitzel
one clove of garlic, minced
salt & pepper to season
1 1/2 cups of Panko (it’s best to get Panko or make your own coarse breadcrumbs)
one egg, beaten
1/3 cup of plain flour to coat meat
vegetable oil for shallow frying
8 blanched or steamed snow peas (or as desired per person)
To make: If you prefer an extra thin Tonkatsu, flatten meat with malle, otherwise use as bought (should still be less than 1cm thick anyway). Season pork with minced garlic (smear over meat) and salt and pepper. Cover one dinner plate with half of Panko. Coat meat well with plain flour, dip into beaten egg and lay on the Panko covered plate. Use remainder of Panko to make sure each piece of pork is well coated. You can cover crumbed meat with wrap and put in fridge until ready to fry. If ready to fry, heat up enough oil in a medium fry pan to shallow fry (say 1.5/2cm). At medium/high heat, fry pork until golden on once side and then turn over. If your meet has been flattened, then you won’t need to fry too long. As long as both sides are golden brown, remove from oil and drain on paper. Slightly thicker cuts will need longer but be careful not to let burn! Once drained, cut immediately into 1cm strips and serve on top of rice bowl. Garnish with snow peas and spoon on the miso sauce.
1 tablespoon miso paste (I used a red/white miso blend but any type is fine)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Japanese worcestershire (Wustaa) sauce (this is a little different but you can use regular worcestershire too)
small dash of soy (or to taste)
teaspoon of dashi or hot water to thin out
To make: Mix all ingredients together well and adjust according to your taste. You may want more sugar if you like a sweeter sauce.