What is Donkatsu?
There are dishes that define a country for most foreigners. Japan has sushi. Korea has kimchi stew. Italy has pizza. Then, there are dishes that every country accepts and put their own twist. Think chicken and rice. Think curry.
Donkatsu (돈까스), commonly also spelled as tonkatsu, don-gaseu, or don-kkaseu, is a breaded pork cutlet deep fried in vegetable oil. The dish in Japanese roughly translates to “pork fry.” While the dish originated from Japan, the dish crossed the sea to Korea during the Japanese occupation in the early 1900s. Since then, Koreans have adopted and put their own twist on the dish.
While the Japanese version thicker and smaller, the Korean donkatsu thinner and bigger achieving a bigger surface area to be breaded and deep fried. This is possible since the pork cutlet is pounded similar to Austrian schnitzel. Having a larger surface area also allows the dish to be absorb more sauce and be more flavorful. The sauce is typically sweet, but Koreans have developed a spicier version to satisfy their propensity for spicy food. The dish is typically accompanied with rice, kimchi, a light salad, and pickled yellow radish.
Donkatsu has risen to popularity among the Korean population in the 1960s. The dish is considered a people’s food where everyone can afford to eat this delicious food while filling their belly! The dish can be commonly found at highway rest area restaurants and cafeterias. In addition, there are specialized restaurants that serve various combinations on donkatsu using different meats (e.g., chicken, fish) and sauces.
How to Make Donkatsu?
- 1 pound of pork loin or tenderloin
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cups bread crumbs
- 1 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
- 3 cups corn/vegetable oil
- 1 cup apple puree
- 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon tomato paste (or ketchup)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- Use the tenderizer to flatten the meet. If you don’t have a tenderizer, score the pork with a knife creating check marks on both sides of the meet. Then, use a pan to flatten the meat.
- Flatten until the thickness is between ¼ to ⅛ inches.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper
- Prepare three bowls – flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs
- Coat both sides of the pork in flour and dust off the excess flour
- Coat both sides of the pork in eggs
- Coat both sides of the pork in breadcrumbs. Press the breadcrumbs against the pork to ensure a nice crisp surface
- Refrigerate the pork while making the katsu sauce
- Mix the katsu sauce ingredients listed above using a pot in low heat setting. Adjust seasoning to taste
- Prepare a large pot with the oil until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Fry both side of the pork until golden brown. Use tongs to turn them over to prevent burning of one side. This should take about 9 – 11 minutes
- Take the pork out and remove excess oil using a paper towel
- Pour the sauce over the pork cutlet
- Enjoy our donkatsu!
You can always enjoy the dish with a heaping bowl or rice or a salad on the side.