With its exacting nature and meticulous presentation, Japanese food can seem like one of the more intimidating cuisines to try at home. But it doesn’t have to be – there are Japanese dishes that can be prepared without paper-thin ginger or perfectly filleted fish. Take the katsu curry don. Tomoyuki Kita, of Sydney ramen house Tenkomori, has collaborated with Broadsheet on a version of the dish that can be made in Australian kitchens with a minimum of fuss.
Why the katsu curry don, in particular?
“We have lots of different types of curry in Japan, but katsu curry is the sort of dish that a Japanese family would make at home,” he says. And while a lot of Japanese dishes use ingredients that aren’t particularly straightforward to source in Australia, this isn’t one of them: “Woolworths or Coles, you will find everything,” Kita says.
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Anyone lucky enough to have been to Japan, or at least to a Japanese restaurant, will most likely have encountered the katsu curry don in one form or another. One of the appealing aspects of this dish is its versatility – there are infinite variations on the basic formula of fried-and-crumbed meat with a spicy sauce. Kita explains that, in fact, the katsu curry don is essentially two dishes combined: pork katsu and curry.
“Sometimes [in Japan], we just have pork katsu [a crumbed, deep-fried pork cutlet] as a main dish, and sometimes just the curry,” he explains. “But [in combination], it’s very popular, especially with the young.”
This also has the happy consequence that the dish can be adapted easily for vegetarians – you simply replace the pork with a plant-based substitute. Kita suggests using tofu instead.
“Preferably you’d want to use firm tofu,” he says. “Cut it up to bite size. Deep fry it for five minutes, and it’ll be ready to eat.”
So are there any pitfalls or tricks that people trying this dish for the first time should look out for?
Just one, says Kita: “When you make this curry, you need to be careful how high you have the stove up. Once you put the curry paste [in the water], the soup will become very thick. If you keep it on the boil, it’s easy to burn the soup. But really, it’s very easy. Everyone can make it. Just make sure to turn down the fire.”
Tenkomori’s katsu curry
Quantity: 6-8 serves
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
30g vegetable oil
500g onions, diced
300g potatoes, diced
200g carrots, diced
1 S&B Golden Curry Mild 92g curry sauce mix
1 S&B Golden Curry Medium Hot 92g curry sauce mix
600g pork loin
Pinch of salt and pepper
30g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked rice
Vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
Heat vegetable oil in saucepan and stir-fry the vegetables on medium heat for a few minutes. Add water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and remove foam on the top of soup. Keep simmering for 10–15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Break the S&B Golden Curry Mix in block pieces and add to pot. Once roux thickens, turn off the heat. Assemble a bowl with a serve of rice on one side and put the curry roux on the other.
To prepare the meat, pound the pork loins to tenderise. Add salt and pepper and then coat the pork in flour. Next dip it in the beaten eggs, followed by the breadcrumbs, ensuring the surface is well coated.
Prepare oil in a pan at 170–175°C. Deep-fry the meat for 4–5 minutes or until the pork floats. Remove pork from oil and leave 5 minutes to rest before slicing into 4 pieces. Place on the curry bowl and serve.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with S&B Foods.