Vegetarian Katsu-don

Vegetarian Katsu-don

Yesterday, Herschell mentioned that he was making tonkatsu for dinner, which made me immediately think about katsu-don. Crunchy, battered pork cutlets drowned in sweet and salty sauce and topped with runny eggs sounded fantastic. Tonight, I present to you: Vegetarian katsu-don.

Obviously, there’s no pork in this dish. I made seitan out of some Arrowhead Mills vital wheat gluten first. I have no idea what that is, but it comes in powder form much like flour. I added some broth to the flour, mixed it around, and it somehow became seitan-like. After a minute or so of kneading, I flattened it into a patty and cut it in half. I fried those two halves up in some peanut oil just to give it more structure. Then I battered it with panko batter, and fried it till golden brown and crunchy on the outside.

For the katsu-sauce, I sauteed some sliced button mushrooms in just a little bit of oil in a sauce pan until they’re good and brown. Then I threw in an onion (french-cut slices). While the onions and mushrooms were reducing, I whipped up the liquid part of the sauce:

  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or veggie dashi)
  • A few tablespoons of soy sauce
  • About half as much mirin as whatever quantity of soy sauce I put in.

No, the measurements aren’t exact, but I basically just put enough soy sauce in the 1 cup of veggie broth till it tasted salty enough to be considered a sauce, then put in some mirin to balance out the saltiness. After the sauce is mixed, I poured it into the sauce pan with the onions and mushrooms and let it come to a simmer.

While the sauce was simmering for a minute, I sliced the katsu into 1/2 slices and gently placed them on top of the onions and sauce. I swirled together 2-3 eggs in a separate bowl but not until they were scrambled. You want the yolks to be broken, but still kinda “swirly” if that makes sense. I then poured the egg mixture gently over the tonkatsu, threw in some chopped green onion, and covered for about a minute or until the egg on top was about set. I like mine a little runny on top, but other people might like their eggs more solid.

I spooned the tonkatsu, eggs, onions, and mushrooms over a steaming hot bowl of rice, and poured in some sauce on top of that for an authentic presentation.

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