Warm your heart and soul with this irresistible Baked Katsudon. With a crispy pork cutlet and runny egg simmered in a savory broth and served on a bed of hot steamed rice, this Baked Cutlet Rice Bowl is pure comfort. Follow my tips for a baked tonkatsu that is juicy and extra crunchy--and just as good as the deep-fried version.
Gather all the ingredients. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). For a convection oven, reduce the cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with an oven-safe wire rack or line it with parchment paper. I prefer to use a wire rack as it allows hot air to circulate around the cutlets and prevents the panko underneath from getting crushed.
To Toast the Panko
Combine the panko and oil in a frying pan. Toast the panko over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Transfer the toasted panko into a shallow dish and allow to cool.
To Prepare the Pork
Cut off the extra fat from the pork. Make several slits on the connective tissue between the meat and remaining fat. Tip: Red meat and fat have different elasticities, and they will shrink and expand at different rates when they are cooked. Making a few slits will allow the tonkatsu to stay nice and flat and prevent the cutlets from curling up.
To tenderize the meat, pound both sides of the cutlets with a meat pounder; if you don’t have one, then use the back of the knife. Mold the flattened meat back into the original shape with your hands.
Sprinkle the cutlets with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Dredge each pork piece in the flour to coat completely. Pat off the excess flour.
Next, beat one egg in a bowl. Then, dip the pork into the beaten egg and coat with the toasted panko. Press on the panko flakes to make sure they adhere to the pork.
Place the pork cutlets on the wire rack or parchment paper on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF (200ºC) until the pork is no longer pink inside, about 20 minutes.
Remove the tonkatsu from the oven and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces (so you can eat them with chopsticks). Press the knife directly down into the cutlets, instead of sawing back and forth. This way, the panko crust will stay on the meat. Set aside for now.
To Prepare the Katsudon Ingredients
Cut the onions into thin slices and the mitsuba (optional) into small pieces.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a liquid measuring cup or bowl. This amount could be more than you need, depending on the frying pan size you use. You can store the extra in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to a week. In a separate small bowl, beat one egg.
Why Use an Oyakodon Pan?
In the following step-by-step instructions, I will show you how to make Katsudon using a traditional single-serving oyakodon pan. The oyakodon pan is similar in size to a donburi bowl; therefore, the food cooks in the right size and shape to slide easily onto the steamed rice in the bowl. You can make two servings at once in one large frying pan and carefully divide it, but each portion won't be a round shape that fits perfectly into the donburi bowl.
To Make the Katsudon
For each serving, put half of the onion slices into the pan and pour ½-¾ cup (120-180 ml) of the sauce on top to cover them. Adjust the amount of sauce based on your frying pan size. Bring the sauce and onions to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onion slices until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
Carefully place one baked and sliced tonkatsu cutlet on top of the onions in the sauce and turn the heat to medium high. Then, slowly drizzle the beaten egg, evenly distributing it over the tonkatsu and broth. Cover the pan with the lid.
When the egg is half cooked, about 30 seconds, turn off the heat. The egg should be almost set but still runny.
Prepare one serving of hot steamed rice in a donburi bowl. Slide the cooked tonkatsu and egg mixture, including the sauce, on top. Continue cooking and plating the second serving. Sprinkle the chopped mitsuba on top, and serve with the shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) on the side.
You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You also can freeze the baked and cooled cutlets separately in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to a month. To reheat, bake it at 375ºF (190ºC) on a wire rack until the inside is warm.