Menchi Katsu (Ground Meat Cutlet) メンチカツ

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  • Have you tried hamburger that is both extra crunchy and juicy?  One of the popular yoshoku foods (western style Japanese food) in Japan, these Menchi Katsu (Japanese Ground Meat Cutlets) deliver the satisfactory of flavorful meat and the x-factor of deep fried goodness.  Breaded in golden panko breadcrumbs, they are seriously good!  

    Menchi Katsu (Ground Meat Cutlet) served with homemade tartar sauce.

    In comparison to well-known western style Japanese food (yoshoku) such as hamburger steak, omurice, and Japanese curry, Menchi Katsu (メンチカツ) may not be as recognizable outside of Japan. However, if you are at butcher shops and delis in Japan, you will get to buy freshly made, juicy and delicious minced meat cutlets aka Menchi Katsu. They are actually pretty easy to make, so give this recipe a try at home!

     

    What is Menchi Katsu?

    Simply speaking, Menchi Katsu (メンチカツ) is ground meat cutlet. In Kansai (Osaka area), it’s called Minchi Katsu (ミンチカツ) as Minchi or Menchi in Japanese means “minced”, and katsu is “cutlet”, anything panko-breaded and deep-fried.

    If you have tried hambagu (Japanese-style Salisbury steak), Menchi Katsu is basically a hambagu that’s breaded in panko breadcrumbs like tonkatsu, and then deep-fried. Like a smaller size hamburger, but with an extra layer of crunchiness from the flake-like panko.

    Menchi Katsu originated in a western style Japanese restaurant in Tokyo during the Meiji era, which is over 100 years ago. Then early Showa era, it became popular in Kansai region where it’s known as Minch Katsu.

    Today, one of the best places to enjoy Menchi Katsu is at the butcher shops as they use the freshest quality meat to make the patties and deep fry at the store.

    Menchi Katsu (Ground Meat Cutlet) served with homemade tartar sauce.

    3 Easy Tips to Remember When Making Menchi Katsu

    1. Use the combination of beef and pork

    Typically menchi katsu is made with both beef and pork, with beef being slightly more than pork.  You can adjust the ratio as you like, but using these two types of meat makes the patties juicy and tender.

    2. Knead the meat mixture until sticky and pale in color

    It’s important to knead the meat well with your hands or wooden spatula. The mixture will turn into a pale color and become sticky.

    3. Rub the oil on hands before shaping the meat mixture

    To avoid the meat sticking to your hands, make sure to use a small amount of oil to rub on your hands before shaping the meat patties with your hands.

    4. Release the air by tossing the patties

    When the air pockets appear in the patties, it can be easily broken into pieces.  Make sure to toss the patties between your hands and let the air escape from the meat patty.

    5.  Refrigerate the patties for at least 30 minutes

    While you are shaping the meat mixture into patties, some fat gets melted. To achieve juicy patties, you will need to solidify the fat that has melted. Refrigerate the patties for 30 to 60 minutes before moving to the next step will do the trick.

    Menchi Katsu (Ground Meat Cutlet) served with homemade tartar sauce.

    Enjoy Menchi Katsu with Homemade Tartar Sauce

    Menchi Katsu is delicious as it is without any sauce, but sometimes it is served with tonkatsu sauce, Worcestershire sauce (Japanese Usuta-sauce), or a combination of the tonkatsu and Worcestershire sauce.

    I like to serve Menchi Katsu with homemade tartar sauce. The creamy egg and mayo along with tangy pickles go really well with Mechi Katsu.  In general, deep fried food goes well with tangy sauce, which is why Tonkatsu or Worcestershire sauce works best.

    If you don’t have time to make the homemade tartar sauce, just serve Menchi Katsu straight up or with a simple sauce like Tonkatsu sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

    No Deep Frying at Home? How about Baked Menchi Katsu?

    You can use my pre-toasting panko technique to make Baked Menchi Katsu just like the Baked Chicken KatsuBaked Tonkatsu, and Baked Croquette recipes.

    Enjoy Menchi Katsu with a bowl of steamed rice and a side of miso soup.

    Menchi Katsu (Ground Meat Cutlet) served with homemade tartar sauce.

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    4.67 from 3 votes
    Menchi Katsu (Ground Meat Cutlet) served with homemade tartar sauce.
    Menchi Katsu
    Prep Time
    30 mins
    Cook Time
    30 mins
    Resting time
    30 mins
    Total Time
    1 hr
     

    Breaded in panko breadcrumbs and deep fried to golden color, these Menchi Katsu (Japanese Ground Meat Cutlet) are one of the popular yoshoku foods (western style Japanese food) in Japan.

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: menchi katsu
    Ingredients
    • ½ onion
    • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 lb ground beef & pork combination (normally 70% beef & 30% pork) (454 g)
    • 2 Tbsp panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    • 1 Tbsp milk
    • 1 large egg
    • ½ tsp nutmeg
    • ½ tsp kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 cups neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (700 ml)
    For coating patties:
    Sauce options:
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
      Menchi Katsu Ingredients
    2. Mince the onion.
      Menchi Katsu 1
    3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute onion until translucent and golden brown.
      Menchi Katsu 2
    4. Transfer the onion to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
      Menchi Katsu 3
    5. In the large bowl with the onion, add the ground meat, 2 Tbsp panko, 1 Tbsp milk, 1 large egg, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

      Menchi Katsu 4
    6. Knead well with hands until the meat mixture becomes pale and sticky.
      Menchi Katsu 5
    7. Roughly divide the mixture into 6 balls.
      Menchi Katsu 6
    8. Toss each ball from one hand to the other hand repeatedly about 5 times in order to release air inside the ball so the meat patty won’t break when you deep fry.
      Menchi Katsu 7
    9. Now shape each ball into an oval shape patty and place on a plate. Cover with plastic and rest in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes in order to solidify the fat.
      Menchi Katsu 8
    10. Prepare 3 separate bowls: flour, beaten eggs, and panko. Dredge and coat each patty in flour, egg, and panko.
      Menchi Katsu 9
    11. When you are coating panko, fix the patties into nice oval shape. If you don’t cook right away, cover with plastic wrap and flash-freeze in the freezer (until frozen), then transfer to a freezer bag. You can keep in the freezer for up to a month. When you are ready to cook, do not defrost. Deep fry the frozen patties.

      Menchi Katsu 10
    12. Heat the oil to 340 ºF (170 ºC) and gently place the patties into the oil. Do not crowd the oil as meat patties will decrease the oil temperature too fast.
      Menchi Katsu 11
    13. Deep fry for 3 minutes on each side (total 6 minutes). For the first 2 minutes, don’t touch the patties as they are soft and easy to break.

      Menchi Katsu 12
    14. Drain oil for 1-2 minutes and the remaining heat will cook inside the patty. Pick up the crumbs in the oil as they darken the oil and stick to the new patties.
      Menchi Katsu 13
    15. Serve immediately with tonkatsu sauce, Worcestershire sauce, the combination of the two sauces, or the homemade tartar sauce. To store, let cool completely and freeze for up to a month.

    Recipe Notes

    Tonkatsu Sauce: Homemade recipe, click here.

     

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 14, 2011. The images, the content, and the recipe were updated in August 2018.

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