Katsu Curry

Katsu Curry

Second only to ramen as Japan’s favourite food, katsu curry
is a complete meal of pork cutlet doused with curry sauce
served with rice and a side of shredded cabbage.

Katsu curry is a prime example of the Japanese penchant for adopting foreign culinary ideas, known as yoshoku. From the Western use of pork (Japanese Buddhist society originally favoured vegetarian dishes) and curry powder (from the British), to the roux (from France) that gives the sauce its characteristic thickness, distinguishing it from Indian or East Asia-style curries.

You’ll need
Curry Sauce
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1 tsp turmeric, ground
1 tbs curry powder
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and
1 tbs honey
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice flour or plain flour
dissolved in 2 tbs of water

Pork Cutlet
4 pieces pork loin (approx
250g (9oz) Japanese panko or
ordinary breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
Plain flour for dusting
Oil for frying

To Serve
Plain boiled rice
Finely shredded cabbage

Cooking Method
1 Prepare the pork cutlet by flattening each with the back of a knife or a rolling pin to tenderise the meat.
2 Dust each cutlet with flour, dip in the beaten egg then coat with the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
3 To make the curry sauce, dry-fry the spices and curry powder in a saucepan for a few minutes to release their aromas, then add the  oil, onion, honey and soy sauce and cook for a few minutes until the onions have softened.
4 Add the flour mixture and cook until the sauce has thickened. Set aside.
5 To cook the pork cutlets, fry them in a pan with oil over medium heat, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook both sides of each cutlet until the crumbs are golden. Drain the cooked cutlets on a wire rack or paper towel.
6 Serve the pork cutlets with plain boiled rice, topped with the curry sauce and garnished with the shredded cabbage.

Tasting notes
It might seem like a bit of a production line, buying a meal ticket from a vending machine and queueing up for seats at one of Japan’s curry houses, which are likely to serve only one type of katsu curry and have their own cult following. Crisp and juicy deep-fried pork cutlets served with gooey, mildly sweet but still pungent curry, rice to soak up the sauce and balance the crunch, and raw shredded cabbage to refresh the palate, make for a satisfying meal. Despite its richness, the Japanese enjoy katsu curry just as much in the summer as winter, believing spicy foods to be good for stimulating the appetite, washing it down with an ice-cold beer or soft drink.

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