Katsu is a wonderful Japanese food creation. Sure, there are other versions of it around the world, like Schnitzel, but there’s something about katsu. I think it is the unique texture and lightness of Panko breadcrumbs. They are, in my opinion, the best breadcrumbs in the world. I have no idea how to make them, so I confess I buy them in.
Katsu can be served with a fruity sauce or curry sauce. If you are lucky and get to visit Japan, you will find specialist katsu restaurants. These take crispy, breaded cutlets to a new level. Elevated to lovingly made, art form, they are crunchy and crisp on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. Sometimes they will do a cheeky little tempura on the side.
As I have confessed, I buy readymade Panko breadcrumbs. Other breadcrumbs, I might be prepared to make out of stale bread. Another thing I buy in is Japanese curry sauce.
Japanese grocers sell many different curry sauce products. I favour the curry cubes, which are sold in little flat boxes with trays of solidified curry concentrate, waiting to be broken up and brought back to life.
Here is my pork katsu curry for cheaters like me. I hope you like it. I got my ingredients from the Japan Centre and See Woo. Hopefully they are not difficult for you to find.
Pork Katsu Curry for cheaters
2-3 pork loin chops
Salt and pepper
Half a mug of frozen peas
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin slices of 4-5mm
1 potato, peeled and cut into
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
Japanese curry sauce block
400 ml water
Japanese rice, cooked, to serve
A dessert spoon of pickled red ginger, to serve
A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, to serve [optional]
1. Beat the egg in a mug with a fork.
2. Using a meat tenderiser, smash the pork loin chops until around half and inch (1cm) thick and flat.
3. Set up three plates, which should be at least as large as the now-smashed pieces of pork. One should have Panko breadcrumbs (around two handfuls), one should have the beaten egg. The last should have plain flour, which you will need to season with salt and pepper.
4. In a small pan, fry the onion until soft in a little vegetable oil (10 minutes).
5. In the meantime, parboil the carrot and potato in another pan (10-12 minutes).
6. Take the pork pieces and initially dip in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Make sure the pork is covered liberally in the breadcrumbs to give lots of crunch.
7. Break up the curry sauce block or curry cubes, and combine with the water in a pan, when the curry has dissolved, put on the heat and add the onion, carrot and potato. Heat gently for 8 minutes.
8. Fry the breaded pork for 6 minutes in all, three minutes each side. It should be a lovely golden brown.
9. Add the peas to the curry sauce and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
10. Carefully cut the pork katsus into one inch thick (2.5cm) slices.