Japan’s answer to the schnitzel, katsu is having a moment in Australia right now. Whether it’s sandwiched between slices of pillowy white bread, served with mustard and cabbage slaw, or slathered in a thick curry sauce, the Japanese katsu trend looks like it’s here to stay.
The classic katsu comes in two main forms: tonkatsu (pork) or torikatsu (chicken) fillets, both coated in crunchy panko breadcrumbs and fried to a crisp golden-brown. The secret to creating the perfect katsu is to ensure you pound your protein to an even thickness (about 1.5cm is ideal). Then simply dip in flour, then beaten egg, then cover with panko breadcrumbs, pressing gently to ensure they stick. Shallow-fry in hot oil over medium heat, then drain on paper towel. Try our recipe for tonkatsu for yourself.
In Melbourne, indulge in the killer katsu-sandos at Supernormal or Honcho Noodle, where juicy pork katsu fillets come encased in soft white bread with the crusts cut off, simply dressed with a squeeze of tonkatsu barbecue sauce or a squiggle of Kewpie mayo.
Sydney’s cute matcha café Kahii specializes in pork katsu rolls, here served with a smear of hot English mustard, a refreshing flurry of shredded cabbage and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.
Beyond those beer-friendly sandwiches, one of our favourite ways to enjoy katsu is with Japanese curry sauce. Whip up your own version at home by making this Japanese curry recipe, omitting the beef and chopping the vegetables quite finely. Serve the curry sauce with the katsu, steamed rice and a simple green salad.
Try this comforting dish for yourself at Wabi Sabi Salon in Melbourne’s Collingwood, available in chicken, pork or salmon varieties. In Brisbane’s West End, visit Bird’s Nest Yakitori Bar for a lunchtime special of tare-infused katsu curry served with a side of pickles and miso soup.
For more Asian dining inspiration, discover 10 of the best new Asian restaurants in Australia.
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