Katsudon: Tonkatsu Donburi


Remember a while ago when I wrote a blog post about tonkatsu, deep fried pork cutlets? Yes, of course you do, it's when I confessed that I used to be scared of raw pork. I mentioned in that post that there were many ways of eating tonkatsu like on a stick, in a bowl of ramen, in a sandwich, or as katsudon! 

Donburi, which I have also written about, is a genre of Japanese dishes that involves meat and/or vegetables, cooked in a broth and served over white rice in a bowl. It is usually pretty quick and easy, and has the most delicious flavor combos.

I had been wanting to make tonkatsu again, but it's so much work to get out the deep fryer, and the coconut oil I like to use is expensive. So the other day when I was making korokke, I thought I would take advantage of already using the deep fryer and make tonkatsu. Thinking it was a shame that I couldn't use it for a blog post, since I already had, I decided to make donburi with it so I could double up posts. Pretty thrifty, right?

This meal has become a "soul food" of Japan. In fact, it used to come up in old TV crime dramas as a meals to break a criminal's silence during interrogation. Apparently feeding them katsudon and reminding him of his mother to warm his heart is more effective than "good cop, bad cop". It's an incredibly cheesy image that has become a cultural joke today.

Another way that katsudon has lived up to its "soul food" title is the tradition of students eating it the night before a big exam. This is because katsu (here used as a shortening of tonkatsu) is a homophone of katsu, meaning to win. I can't speak to wether this works, as I didn't take any tests the day after eating it, but I can see where eating this delicious food might give you a warm sense of wellbeing. 

The recipe I used was from Japanese Cooking 101, and after making the tonkatsu it literally took five minutes to put together. The sauce is easy enough, just the Japanese essentials, but cooking the crunchy tonkatsu in it gives a great juicy contrast. Add to that the rich egg and fresh green onion and you have another major flavor league hitter. 

Wether you're trying to get a confession out of your friends or need a little extra luck, or simply want some good food, this dish is perfect. I'm going to be eating this again soon and I hope you try it as well.

Until next time, you too can win in the kitchen, with katsudon!