Katsu Then and Now
Originally, katsu, a shortened version of katsuretsu was traditionally made using beef. During the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the Japanese technique of cooking tempura was applied to meat coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried in oil. The forward-looking Emperor Meji wanted to to see Japan become a modern westernized country to lead in development, and that included embracing some new world cuisine. It was the western adaptation that introduced pork into the mix.
At the original restaurant in Japan where this was invented, the name of the dish was pork katsuretsu (cutlet) at first, but when it got increasingly popular, the word pork changed into ton (pig) in Japanese, then got shortened and became tonkatsu. Traditionally tonkatsu is served with a combination of pickled vegetables and a katsu sauce. The sauce is a thicker less-intense worcestershire sauce. With development, tonkatsu became popular to be served with Japanese style curry. This combination is perfect for a cold, winter meal, and it’s incredibly easy.
The tonkatsu sauce is a rich and thick sauce made by concentrating the flavor of vegetables and fruits. Sometimes the sauce can be sweet or spicy, or sometimes sesame sauce is used. The choice depends on personal preferences or on the area, such as in Aichi, Nagoya, there’s “misokatsu”, which uses miso sauce.
There’s shredded cabbage on the side when tonkatsu is served at restaurants. There’s reason for this side dish accompanying the deep-fried dish. Cabbage contains a nutrient called vitamin U which helps protect the stomach and intestines, as well as assisting in the digestion and absorption of oil inside the body.
Today, the popular katsu is available in different styles. There’s Katsudon (Pork Cutlet Bowl) with sliced tonkatsu on top of a bowl of rice, with chopped onions and a half-cooked egg. It’s common to have free miso soup and pickles on the side. Then there’s Katsu Curry (Curry with Pork Cutlets), with tonkatsu atop curry rice or a curry mix added to the dish.
Going Crazy for Katsu in Federal Way
Craving for katsu? Then drop by KTon, your Japanese restaurant in Federal Way where we serve a variety of katsu selections. We’ve got chicken, pork loin, white fish, shrimp, even potato and cheese katsu. Just delicious, less grease katsu to your heart’s content.