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Friday, October 25, 2013

Tonkatsu Karē Donburi (トンカツカレー丼)

I seriously cannot believe that I haven't blogged about this recipe before. I've talked about it numerous times, so I have no clue why I haven't shared this recipe with you yet.

Actually, scratch that. I know exactly why I haven't: I hate frying.

I hate frying because I am great at creating epic messes when I cook. My dog hovers outside the kitchen hoping something will drop, and Mr. Mochi usually retreats a safe distance to avoid the Willy Wonka atmosphere I tend to create, complete with weird noises and puffs of smoke and flour.

So when you throw in hot oil and breadcrumbs, I basically destroy my kitchen.

Eggshells in the sink. Flour on my shirt. The dog bursting forth into the kitchen and frantically licking up breading that was flung off into space. Even the bowls for mise-en-place when I'm not frying end up stacked hap-hazardously on all counters like the tea cups of Alice in Wonderland. 

I am a world-class culinary mess maker. A lot of people tend to downplay their faults, strive to make their lives seem perfect from the outside. I can tell you that most food bloggers don't start their posts by telling their readers their faults.

Whatever. I can't pretend that I'm anything more than chaos and entropy, blonde hair and boobs. I don't even know how anyone puts up with me.

Don't fret, I'm sure you will manage to cook this without any of the daikaiju wasteland side-effects. It's actually a really simple recipe with only a handful of ingredients, and shallow frying makes the tonkatsu a breeze to prepare. And if I'm in good company and you're a fellow Godzilla of the kitchen, one bite of this will convince your own Mr. Mochi to help you clean up.

This is not hot at all, don't worry!
Tonkatsu Karē Donburi (トンカツカレー丼)

1/2 box of a Japanese block-style curry roux
3 cups of water
2 boneless pork chops (1/2" thick)
2 tbs all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
canola or peanut oil for frying
2-4 cups hot white rice
What 1/2 a box looks like.
shichimi togarashi for garnish

Heat the water until boiling, then take off the heat. break the curry roux block into smaller pieces and dissolve in the water. When fully dissolved, place back on the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Keep warm by letting the pot remain on the stove while you fry the tonkatsu. Stir ocassionally, or alternatively you make ahead of time and refrigerate, then microwave it before serving.

For the tonkatsu, trim the excessive fat off the pork chops and make cuts along the edge of the meat to keep it from curling. Then, either tenderize by making cuts all of the surface of the meat or giving it a couple good whacks with a meat mallet. Season with salt and pepper, then dredge in the following order: flour, egg, then panko crumbs. Make sure the pork is completely coated, paying attention to the edge of the cutlet. Pour the oil into a saucepan, you only need about 1.5-2" of oil. Heat the oil to 350°F and fry the cutlets, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total. If it's a small pan, fry one piece at a time or two, don't crowd the pieces or the temperature of the oil will plummet. After the panko is a rich golden brown, remove cutlet from oil and drain on a wire rack. Cut into 1/2" strips.

In a donburi bowl, place 1-2 cups of rice and arrange one of the sliced tonkatsu on top. Pour over a generous portion of karē sauce on one side of the bowl and garnish with shichimi togarashi. If desired, serve with extra karē on the side. This is more traditionally served on a plate, but I love the ease of a bowl. This is usually served with a spoon as well as chopsticks. Serves two.

Another tip: I love making a batch of tonkatsu, they actually reheat better than you'd expect for a fried food, and it's the same amount of clean-up if I'm frying two tonkatsu versus six. This is an even better idea if you find a great deal on pork! After frying, simply let the tonkatsu completely cool before wrapping it well and placing it in the freezer where it will keep for a month. To reheat, place frozen cutlet in the oven or toaster oven at 400°F for about 5-8 minutes depending on how hot you want it. 

See Also:
Uomoto Style Karē
KFC Katsu Karē Donburi 
Japanese Curry Turnovers 
Karē Tamago Kake Gohan 


  1. I'm the same way when it comes to frying. I make a huge mess. I love donburi. This would be a great meal for the cooler weather.

  2. I can honestly eat this everyday! Looks so delicious! I think I got curry bug. I have to make it myself... this happens all the time when I see delicious curry and I just have to eat it otherwise cravings drive me crazy. ;)

  3. Omg, your description of what happens when you cook is hilarious! It's so refreshing that you don't give the impression it's all perfection from prep to clean up like so many other food bloggers do. :)

    I've never had katsu curry with shichimi before! I'll have to give that a try. I'm very partial to tonkotsu sauce... :)