Katsudon is a big bowl of love and comfort. Crunchy katsu (deep-fried cutlet) topped with soft, fragrant Japanese style eggs over a bowl of fluffy rice. Learn how to make this much loved Japanese dish with my easy recipe.

Chicken Katsudon

For those days when you just need something restorative in your tummy, this classic Japanese 'donburi' 丼, translated quite literally as 'bowl' is a healing, hearty fix to any hunger/hanger situation. Katsudon is just one in a long line of tasty donburi options.

What is donburi?

Donburi is the Japanese classification that we in the English speaking world call rice bowl. Dishes served in an oversized Asian soup bowl on a bed of steamed rice. Dishes can range from fish & seafood to meats and vegetables. They're a fast-food for those on the go, and a filling hearty option to satisfy hunger at all stages.

There are countless variations of don/donburi to enjoy, all served over rice, all across Japan. These are a few of my favourites.

  • Gyūdon - 牛丼 - Beef Bowl (beef simmered with onion in a sweet dashi broth)
  • Tentamadon - 天玉丼 - Delicious crunchy tempura fish or vegetables simmered in an egg dashi sauce
  • Oyakodon - 親子丼 - One of my personal favourites; chicken served with a sweet egg/dashi mix and fresh scallions
  • Tamagodon - 玉子丼 - Another favourite (because I'm obsessed with eggs) of dashi scrambled eggs over rice. Simple and utterly delicious.
  • Unadon - 鰻丼 - Soy glazed eel fillets, charred over hot coals. A super tasty, humble and simple donburi to make at home.

Japanese Comfort Food

Donburi dishes are filling, all due to the rice, which is a great way to pack you full! This dish, katsudon (using katsu / katsuretsu - meaning 'cutlet') adds more hearty ingredients. The final bowl is a splendid marrying of textures and flavour. While there are a few steps, katsudon is not difficult to make yourself at home.

How to prepare Katsudon

  1. Thin cutlets of chicken or pork are breaded in panko breadcrumbs, deep-fried then cut into slices (leftover katsu is often turned into katsudon the next day).
  2. Rice is cooked and waits for the next stage.
  3. Onions are cooked in donburi pan in a dashi mixture including sugar, soy, mirin and sake until soft.
  4. The katsu cutlets are laid on top of the onion.
  5. Beaten eggs are poured over the katsu and the lid placed over to steam.
  6. The cooked dish is eased from the small pan in one layer over a large Asian bowl of hot rice.
  7. The katsudon is garnished with scallions and pickled ginger.

Crunchy Katsu or Soggy Katsu? You decide.

Traditionally, this dish used leftover katsu as a quick and easy throw together kind of meal, but these days, katsudon it's made fresh and therefore remains crisp and crunchy. I'm never going to be mad at a crunchy katsu, but there is something to be said for a katsu that's a little soggy. The breading has soaked up all that delicious onion braising liquid, which is actually nothing to be upset about.

Frankly, I'm torn but I'll devour either. As it happens, I'm now very strategic with my egg pouring pat of the recipe - I'll make sure to leave some of the katsu untouched by egg, in turn getting the bits of crisp and bits of soggy. Best of both worlds. Which do you prefer?

More Katsu recipes

Lastly! If you're looking to have more fun with katsu, you should try my ridiculously simple Katsu Curry recipe - it's my Japanese go-to hangover special. Crispy katsu with rice and a sweet Japanese curry sauce. I can't get enough!

How to make my Chicken Katsudon

Chicken Katsudon

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Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 2
Calories (per serving) | 930

Ingredients

  • 2 small chicken breasts (pounded into flat cutlets)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1 small bunch spring onions (finely sliced)
  • pickled ginger (for garnish)
  • Seaweed rice seasoning (for garnish)

Seasoning sauce

Instructions

  • Create a coating station! 1 small bowl of flour, another of egg and the last one of panko breadcrumbs.
  • Take a chicken cutlet and press into the flour on both sides. Shake off any excess flour then dip into the egg to coat fully. Shake off the excess egg then place into the panko. Press firmly to fully coat the chicken on both sides. Set onto a plate while you repeat the process with the second cutlet. Place the chicken in the fridge for 30 minutes. This time to dry will stop the breadcrumbs falling off when you fry the chicken. Discard the leftover coating ingredients.
  • Heat the oil in a deep frying pan until rippling hot, but not smoking. Carefully slide in each chicken cutlet and fry for 4 minutes each side until fully cooked (depending on the thickness). Drain on paper towels and set aside.
  • Cook the rice gently in 4 cups of simmering water until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat. Cover with a clean tea towel, then a lid and set aside. Alternatively, change your life forever and buy a rice cooker - TRUST ME!
  • To make the katsudon, you'll need 2 small frying pans as you'll be making each portion separately but at the same time! You can also buy special Katsudon frying pans (see link in recipe introduction)
  • To make the seasoning sauce combine the Hondashi mix with the hot water and stir to dissolve. Mix with all the other seasoning sauce ingredients and set aside.
  • Break two eggs into two bowls and beat. Set aside.
  • Divide the the onions equally between the two frying pans. Pour over half the seasoning sauce into each pan. Turn on the heat and bring each pan to a light simmer. Pop over a lid and let the onions cook gently for 5-6 minutes until soft.
  • Take your cutlets and slice each one into 1 inch slices. Leave the cutlets in their original shape as you carefully place them on top of the simmering onions. put the lids back on and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Pour the beaten egg over each cutlet and return the lids. Let the eggs cook for 1-2 minutes before removing from the heat.

Serving

  • Divide the rice between 2 Asian soup bowls. Using a flipper, gently slide each cutlet and soft egg over the rice (it should slide from the pan in one layer like a soft omelette) - tuck the edges down. Garnish each with the spring onion, pickled ginger and Seaweed seasoning and serve!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Katsudon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 930 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 16g100%
Cholesterol 537mg179%
Sodium 1769mg77%
Potassium 1209mg35%
Carbohydrates 88g29%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 68g136%
Vitamin A 893IU18%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Calcium 169mg17%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course | Main Course
Cuisine | Japanese
Keyword | donburi, japanese rice bowl, katsudon
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