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Katsudon – Fried Pork Cutlet over Rice

Katsudon (カツ丼) is a popular Japanese food, a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet, egg, and condiments.

The dish takes its name from the Japanese words Tonkatsu (for pork cutlet) and Donburi (for rice bowl dish).

It has become a modern ritual tradition for Japanese students to eat katsudon the night before taking a major test or school entrance exam. This is because “katsu” is a homophone of the verb 勝つ katsu, meaning “to win” or “to be victorious”. It also a famous gag of Japanese police films: many people think that suspects will speak the truth with tears when they have eaten katsudon and are asked, “Did you ever think about how your mother feels about this?” Even nowadays, the gag of “We must eat Katsudon while interrogating” is popular in Japanese films.

Variations

Variations include sauce katsudon (with Worcestershire sauce), demi katsudon (with demi-glace and often green peas, a specialty of Okayama), shio-katsudon (with salt, another Okayama variety), shōyu-dare katsudon (with soy sauce, Niigata style), and miso-katsudon (a favourite in Nagoya). Beef (gyū-katsu) and chicken (oyakodon) can substitute for the pork.

Katsudon - Fried Pork Cutlet over Rice
Ingredients
  • 4 cups Japanese steamed rice
  • 4 pieces tonkatsu, cut into 2cm wide pieces
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1¼ cup dashi stock
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 eggs
Instructions
  1. Put dashi soup stock in a pan and cook on medium heat. Add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in the soup and bring to a boil. Remove the heat.
  2. To cook 1 serving of katsudon, put one quarter of the soup in a small skillet. Add one quarter of onion slices in the soup and simmer for a few minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add 1 serving of tonkatsu pieces in the pan and simmer on low heat for a few minutes.
  4. Beat an egg in a bowl.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil on medium heat, then pour the egg over tonkatsu and onion.
  6. Turn the heat down to low and put on a lid. Turn off the heat.
  7. Serve 1 serving of steamed rice in a large rice bowl, then place the simmered tonkatsu on top of the rice. Repeat the process.

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