April 12-15, 2021
Tonkatsu, or “pork katsu,” has become a beloved Japanese dish! And with good reason—it’s a highly refined version of a boneless fried pork chop that is crispy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside. But did you know that it is a 19th Century fusion dish? Enjoy this Curious Table journey inspired by the Japanese diaspora!
Sliced pork loin coated in panko, seasoned and lightly fried, served with shredded cabbage
*Plant-based option: Tofu Katsu
Sweet & savory Japanese bbq sauce
Sunomono Cucumber Salad
Lightly pickled sliced cucumbers in rice vinegar with shaved carrot
Add-on Option: Manju Green Tea Cookies with Anko (red bean paste)
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Plating & Reheating
If needed, keep the lids on and reheat the katsu for 90 seconds and the rice for 60 seconds. To plate, serve the chicken katsu and rice with the katsu sauce. Enjoy the cucumber salad on the side.
Tonkatsu, or “pork katsu,” has become a beloved Japanese dish! And with good reason—it’s a highly refined version of a boneless fried pork chop that is crispy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside. But did you know that it is a 19th Century fusion dish? It began as yoshoku in the late 1800s as Japan was obsessed with creating its own versions of European dishes.
Tonkatsu was invented in Tokyo in 1899 at a restaurant called Rengatei as Japanese people were transitioning to a meat-based diet. In fact, the food term katsu is a litteral translation of the French term “escalope” or cutlet. Many varieties of katsu exist, from chicken katsu in Hawaii brought there by Japanese immigrants, Salmon and tofu katsu, and even the decadent gyukatsu that features steak breaded in panko and fried katsu style.
But the word “katsu” is also a spontaneous shout of enlightenment in Zen Buddhism! As defined by Damien Keown in A Dictionary of Buddhism, katsu means:
In Japanese zen, an expletive uttered by one who has had a breakthrough experience,
such as solving a kōan or realizing enlightenment (bodhi; satori).
In ordinary usage, it is a verb meaning ‘to win’ or ‘to gain dominance over’.
Curious Table believes that these traditions of good food are worthy of a full-hearted katsu-style shout! Enjoy this week’s traditional preparation of tonkatsu and sunomono salad–truly delicious!
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From our table to yours…
Eat well, be well!