yōshoku

November 8th, 2011

At the turn of the 20th century, Japan ended its national seclusion and began to adopt a number of Western philosophies and practices.  In particular, it was determined that the American and European diet would yield a taller race.  An early Japanese entrepreneur who bought a McDonalds franchise even went so far as to suggest that after 1000 years of eating hamburgers, Japanese would come to have blond hair.

Many Western dishes began popping up with decided Eastern spins and this form of food was called yōshoku, which differed from their traditional washoku, by the larger ratio of meat in the dish.  Paired with rice, topped with sweet/sour sauces and eaten with chopsticks gave many Western dishes a completely new life.

Among the most favorite yōshoku, both in the East and the West, is Katsu, an innovative spin on Schniztel.   It is most often prepared with ton (pork) and is equally good made with chicken, veal or beef.  The meat is seasoned, dredged in flour, dipped in an egg wash and then heavily coated with Japanese panko crumbs.  A brief swim in hot oil renders up a crunchy and tender morsel of meat, quickly sliced and situated atop a bed of shredded cabbage.  Drizzle on some sōsu and dig in.

Tonkatsu

Related Recipes

Tonkatsu

A Japanese version of Schnitzel!

For four cutlets:

  • 4 slices pork loin, about ½ inch thick, trimmed of fat
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs whisked with 2 tablespoons milk or water
  • sea salt
  • finely ground black pepper
  • Peanut oil or lard
  • Sōsu (sauce), to drizzle over cooked cutlets
  • Shredded cabbage, as garnish

Prepare a dredging station with a plate of flour, a shallow bowl of the eggs and a plate of breadcrumbs.

Put the peanut oil or lard in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven to a depth of one inch and preheat to 350 degrees.

Season pork with sea salt and pepper on both sides.  Dredge in flour, dip in egg, and coat with the breadcrumbs.  Allow to rest in the breadcrumb plate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

When oil is heated, slide in the cutlets and cook until browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Drain cutlets briefly on paper towels and slice.  Place on shredded cabbage and top with the Sōsu (sauce).

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.