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Katsudon – Pork and Rice Bowl

March 23, 2012
Ingredients for Katsudon

This was my first foray into Japanese cooking a while back. I loved it! Everyone who eats it is a fan so this spurred me on to attempt other Japanese dishes. Now we have one a week on average at my house, sometimes more!

Anywho, back to the dish at hand. Katsudon is shortened version of the words “Tonkatsu Donburi,”  which, from what I can tell, means tonkatsu = panko breaded fried meat and donburi = rice bowl. I’ll tell you one thing, it certainly is delish!

First, you’ll probably need to go shopping for this one.  Check out the international isle at the supermegamarket of choice. You’ll need a short grain “sticky” or “sushi” rice. I use botan as you’ll see in the photo. You’ll also need mirin, a ricewine concoction; Kikkoman makes one that’s pretty easy to find. Pick up some dashi (fish soup base, like chicken bullion cubes – but fishy) and some panko bread crumbs.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup sticky rice
  • 1¼ Cups water for rice
  • 4 Tbsp. Mirin
  • 8 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Dashi
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Cup water for broth
  • 4 pork cutlets, flattened to ¼ inch thickness
  • Flour to dredge pork
  • 1 Egg to batter pork, 4 eggs more for finished dish
  • Panko bread crumbs to dredge pork
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Don’t hesitate to reduce the recipe. Just remember that the mirin should equal half the amount of soy sauce used and you’ll get the same taste with ¾ cups water instead of 1-1/2.

Rice

Rinse the rice in a colander under running water until the water runs clear. This takes longer than you think! Place the rice in a medium sized pot and add the 1-1/4 cups water. Put the lid on and heat to boiling. Don’t take the lid off during this time and don’t add salt. Let it boil for 1 minute. Turn the heat to medium low and let steam for 10 minutes. Turn off the eye and let steam for an additional 10 minutes. Fluff to serve.

Broth

Place the 1-1/2 cups of water in another medium pot. Add the tablespoon of granular dashi, 8 tablespoons soy sauce and 4 tablespoons mirin. Bring to a almost a boil and add the onion, halved and sliced very thinly so you have little crescent moon shaped threads (ok, a little think than a “thread”) where the pieces break apart naturally. Reduce heat till the pot simmers uncovered for at least 15 minutes or until you are ready to assemble your donburi.

Pork

Pound cutlets to quarter inch thickness if they aren’t already. Salt and pepper the pork to your taste. Dredge the pork in the flour – I add the flour and all 4 pieces to a gallon zip top bag and shake. Shake the excess flour off the cutlets and dip them in egg and straight into the panko. Bread both sides well and let sit till they reach room temperature. Discard the egg mixture (even though we are using eggs later – the egg doesn’t necessarily cook through depending on how you like your eggs so you could be eating oggie-boogies from the raw pork if you use the dredging egg). Heat a 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold all four pieces at once over medium high. Lightly fry each side until golden brown, add more oil if your pieces aren’t browning – panko is funny that way.

Assembling

Now the fun part!!  Cut each pork cutlet into half inch strips but keep the pieces laid out together.  Take a ladle of your now deep brown onions and broth (roughly a quarter of the broth) and ladle into your medium high skillet. Place the cut up pork cutlet on top leaving at least a quarter inch between the slices, and cover with a beaten egg.  Cook 1-2 minutes uncovered and then 1-2 minutes covered (cooks the top of the egg).  Fluff your rice and divide between the  four bowls while the topping is assembling itself in the skillet. When your egg topping is done slide the entire contents of the pan onto the rice. The doneness of your egg is up to you. Traditionally it’s on the runny side. I didn’t get photos of this since it happens pretty fast, hope my directions can get you through!

There, now you have a super yummy and easy donburi of your very own. I’ve since done this with chicken and non-breaded pork too. I cut the pork into cubes, sautéed it in just salt and pepper until the outside was done and then plopped it into the broth.  When the rice was done I ladled it, pork, onions and all on into the skillet and did the egg the same way, ridiculously good and less calories.  I must confess, when there is onion broth left I will sometimes make the egg topping and it by itself – no meat and eat it up. I love the dashi flavor with eggs – I hope you will too!

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