Kushikatsu is pieces of deep-fried pork, like Tonkatsu, on a skewer. It is a comfort food Japanese people love. There are a lot of Kushikatsu restaurants/bars in Japan, and it is usually a kind of food you eat out of the house, however, it is easy to make at home for dinner or a fun dish to serve for a large crowd.
Although you can get Kushikatsu in any city in Japan, Kansai (western Japan), especially around Osaka, has a lot of Kushikatsu restaurants. These restaurants first appeared in the up and coming neighborhoods of Osaka where a lot of manual labor workers lived, nearly a hundred years ago. The hearty skewers of deep-fried meat were created to satisfy those workers. Today Kushikatsu bars are also popular among office workers, and they stop by to get some food along with drinks after work. A lot of Kushikatsu restaurants are not very big, and sometimes there is only a counter around a small kitchen. Some shops don’t even have chairs, but that is good for people who want to have a quick bite.
Kushikatsu is similar to Tonkatsu, but there are differences. Kushikatsu is a little more casual. It is typically pork, but not necessarily. There are lots of kinds you can find at restaurants, such as beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, sausage, and also seasonal vegetables. When you make Tonkatsu, the meat is dipped and coated separately in flour, egg, and then bread crumbs. You can still do that at home, but at Kushikatsu restaurants they “traditionally” use dip in a batter of flour and egg, and then coat with fine bread crumbs to be able to prepare faster. Often each restaurant has a dipping sauce of their own secret recipe. The sauce is usually in a communal container on the table or counter with a sign saying “no double dipping.” Hope all the customers keep the rules, but good luck.
It may be a little work to skewer all the ingredients, but it is not difficult to make at all. The hard part is choosing what kind of meat and vegetables you want to use. You cannot get the experience of the ambiance of quirky Kushikatsu restaurants with home made Kushikatsu, but If you make it at home, you don’t have to worry about how sanitary the sauce is, and best yet, you can eat it sitting down!
- pork tender loin
- brown onion
- Japanese green pepper
- Shiitake mushroom
- Renkon lotus root
- Tonkatsu sauce
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 2 Tbsp oil
- bread crumbs, fine
- Slice tenderloin to bite size pieces. Cut brown onion to small wedges. Cut stems from Shiitake. Peel lotus root and slice into 1/2"(1cm) pieces. Skewer all the ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 2 eggs, milk, and oil. Dip meat and vegetables in the batter, then dip in the bread crumbs.
- Deep-fry at 350F until brown.