Katsudon is Tonkatsu (deep-fried pork) and eggs cooked in a sweet and salty broth and placed over rice. Don (donburi) means a bowl, and Donburi dishes are a popular kind of casual rice dish in Japan. Because you have to prepare Tonkatsu first, it is a little bit of work involved since you cannot cook everything in one pan. Katsudon is a hearty dish compared to other Japanese food because Tonkatsu is breaded and deep-fried, but the taste is so good that you will not mind the extra calories from the oil. Besides, since deep-fried Tonkatsu is cooked in tasty broth and is crunchy yet juicy, you may not notice the grease at all (well, maybe, just maybe, calories might stay in, or near, your tummy).
Katsudon was once portrayed as a hearty, soul food in Japanese culture. A typical scene for it was in TV detective dramas: a criminal gets interrogated by a tough detective intensely first, and then the detective asks if the criminal wants to have Kastudon. While they eat, the detective asks how the criminal’s mother is doing in his home town in the country, and as you may guess, the criminal confesses with tears. That’s a pretty old fashioned drama, and we don’t see it much today (fortunately?), but Katsudon was the symbol of tasty and warm food that can melt even the coldest part of a criminal’s heart 🙂
Just like Oyakodon, Katsudon is a very typical lunch dish you can get at casual restaurants. Udon noodle shops, small corner restaurants, and bento shops all have this tasty dish. If you don’t want to deal with a lot of cooking oil at home, it is much easier to eat out or buy Katsudon from stores. However, a lot of us here are outside Japan and may not have good Japanese restaurants nearby who serve tasty Katsudon. So once again, we can make it at home! And it really is not as difficult to make as you might think.
We didn’t here, but you can add sliced brown onion and cook in the sauce before adding Katsu and eggs if you like. Also the recipe below is for one person because it is easier to make individually, but you can multiply and make a bunch at once in a bigger pan when you serve for your entire family.
- 1 Tonkatsu
- 1/4 C Dashi
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp Sake
- 1/2 Tbsp Mirin
- 1-2 eggs
- green onions, chopped (optional)
- Steamed Rice
- roasted seaweed (Nori), thinly sliced
- Cut Tonkatsu into strips, set aside.
- In a small frying pan, add Dashi, soy sauce, sugar, Sake, and Mirin, and cook at medium heat until it boils. Reduce heat to low-medium.
- Add cut Tonkatsu to the sauce in the pan. Beat egg(s) in a small bowl and pour over the Tonkatsu. Cover and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle chopped green onions if you like.
- Slide Tonkatsu and egg(s) with sauce over rice in a bowl.
- Sprinkle sliced Nori on top.