Katsudon without dashi (with rice) | Easy & delish one-bowl dish

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  June 14, 2022

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Katsudon is a popular Japanese dish that consists of a pork cutlet and egg simmered in a dashi (soup) made from soy sauce, mirin, and sake.

The dashi is essential to the flavor of katsudon, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.

This recipe for katsudon without dashi uses beef or vegetable broth instead of the dashi broth, and it’s just as delicious!

Katsudon without dashi (with rice) | Easy & delish one-bowl dish
Favorite Asian Recipes
Favorite Asian Recipes

Katsudon is a Japanese rice bowl with panko breaded pork cutlet, eggs, and sautéed onions in a sweet and savory sauce.

It’s a one-bowl miracle and the epitome of comfort food!

Donburi (or rice bowls) are one of the Japanese cuisine’s pillars, and the good news is that Katsudon can be adapted to suit your personal taste.

If you don’t like dashi, you can alter the sauce to make it taste just as delicious, even without the umami flavor of dashi stock.

Recipe for Katsudon without dashi (with rice) | Easy & delish one-bowl dish

Katsudon without Dashi Recipe with Rice

Joost Nusselder
The combination of mirin, soy sauce, and sugar creates a delicious sweet and savory sauce that is perfect for katsudon. The Panko breaded pork cutlet with rice is a tasty and filling meal!
No ratings yet
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pieces center-cut, boneless pork chops (pounded down to a centimeter thick)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 eggs beaten and divided
  • 5 tbsp flour for dusting
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 and 1/4 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cups Japanese steamed rice

Instructions
 

  • Drizzle the pork chops that’s been pounded with salt and pepper.
  • Dust with a light, even coat of flour.
  • Get a small bowl and beat 1 egg in it, then put the panko in another small bowl.
  • Preheat the skillet over medium heat and pour the cooking oil in it until it gets hot.
  • Dip the pork into the egg to coat.
  • Coat the pork well with panko breadcrumbs in order to prepare it for frying.
  • Slowly drop each pork chop into the hot oil in the skillet and saute them for 5 – 6 minutes on each side until they become golden brown.
  • Prepare a large plate and put some paper towels on top of it. Then place the fried pork chops over them to drain the oil off of the meat.
  • Now slice the tonkatsu (the fried pork chops) into tiny bits.
  • Get another frying pan, pour the broth in, then cook over medium heat.
  • Add sugar, mirin, and soy sauce to the beef and vegetable broth and wait until it boils, then turn off the stove.
  • In order to prepare 1 serving of katsudon, do the following: turn on the stove and preheat the small skillet over medium heat, then pour 1/4 cup broth plus 1/4 onion slices into the skillet and allow to simmer for 1 – 3 minutes.
  • Then add 1 serving of tonkatsu pieces to the dashi soup mix in the skillet and simmer again for 1 – 3 minutes.
  • Wait until the soup boils, then pour the beaten egg that you’ve set aside earlier over the tonkatsu and onion.
  • Set the temperature to low and cover skillet with a lid. After 1 minute, turn off the stove.
  • Put 1 tonkatsu on top of a large rice bowl with steamed rice and serve.
Keyword Pork
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Cooking tips

  • Pork chops that are about 1 centimeter thick work best for this dish. If they’re too thick, they won’t cook through all the way, and if they’re too thin, they’ll dry out quickly.
  • Be sure to pound the pork chops before dredging them in flour; otherwise, the coating won’t stick.
  • You can also add potato starch to the flour mixture and it can help the coating stick better.
  • Use a good quality oil for frying. We recommend using vegetable, canola, or peanut oil.
  • To make sure the pork cutlets are cooked through, use a meat thermometer. Pork is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When you drizzle the sauce on the tonkatsu, turn it over and drizzle some more to ensure the bread crumbs absorb that delicious sauce flavor.

Substitutions & variations

If you don’t want to use beef or vegetable broth, you can use water or chicken broth instead. There are plenty of tasty dashi substitutes like mentsuyu broth or shellfish broth.

When it comes to soy sauce, you can use either light or dark soy sauce. The flavor will be slightly different, but both will work well in this dish.

If you want a vegetarian version of this dish, you can use tofu or mushrooms instead of pork.

For a gluten-free katsudon, use gluten-free flour and gluten-free panko.

If you can’t find mirin, you can use sake or white wine as a substitute.

You can also substitute the pork with chicken, and this is a popular variation of the dish. Menchikatsu is another variation and it’s a combination of beef and pork meat.

If you want a little bit of a crunch in your katsudon, you can add some chopped vegetables like carrots, celery, or green onions.

For a healthier version of this dish, you can bake the pork chops instead of frying them.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the pork chops are cooked through.

There are some other variations of katsudon where other sauces are used.

  • For example sōsu katsudon is served with tonkatsu sauce or Japanese Worcestershire sauce (Usuta sauce).
  • Then there’s demi katsudon, which is covered in a demi glaze and is served with green peas on the side.
  • And finally, the shōyu-dare katsudon. This is served with a tare sauce made with shoyu.

What is katsudon without dashi?

Katsudon is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of pork cutlets, rice, and eggs simmered in a dashi-based broth.

However, for this recipe, we’re skipping the dashi since not everyone enjoys the taste.

Traditionally, Katsudon is popular in Japanese restaurants as a lunch dish. It is also a popular bento box item. However, it can be enjoyed for dinner as well!

The pork cutlets’ panko coating absorbs the sweet and savory sauce, while sautéed onions enhance the dish’s flavor.

Not only does the egg bind everything together, but it also absorbs the sauce’s flavors before releasing them into the steamed rice.

Therefore, you’re not eating any bland rice here – it’s full of brothy and meaty flavors.

When consumed as a whole, katsudon is succulent, meaty, savory, and sweet and has the remarkable ability to satisfy multiple cravings in a single bite, whether you have it for lunch or dinner.

Among the various Japanese dishes, the katsudon is probably one of the most popular. Its popularity is not limited to the Japanese islands but extends far beyond them.

Even in the West and other Asian countries, there are entire restaurants devoted to preparing and serving their guests katsudon.

For the benefit of anyone who has not yet heard of katsudon, for whatever reason, it is essentially a pork cutlet covered in an egg-based batter and cooked to perfection in a deep fryer.

Its name, “katsudon,” is a combination of the words “katsu” and “don,” which derive from two existing Japanese dishes: “tonkatsu” and “donburi.”

So, it’s basically a deep-fried pork cutlet on a bed of rice and covered in savory saucy broth. Dashi or no dashi, this dish is just delightful!

The term katsudon is a perfect name for this dish, as it combines the elements of two dishes to create its own unique dish.

The “katsu” component, which is derived from “tonkatsu,” indicates that the dish contains pork cutlets.

On the other hand, the “don” component, derived from “donburi,” indicates that the final dish is served in a bowl with a cup of rice.

Curious about tonkatsu? Here is how to make your own super crispy Japanese pork cutlets

Origin

The origins of the renowned katsudon date back to the Meiji restoration period, when Japan began to open its doors to western influence.

Prior to this, the original dish consisted of a rice bowl and beef cutlets, as beef was the most popular meat in Japan in the past.

This may be associated with Buddhist or Shinto culinary traditions.

Emperor Meiji’s desire to catch up with Western culinary customs meant he started to encourage the entire nation to start eating pork and to start deep-frying foods in oil.

It was at this time that the use of pork in Japanese cuisine became widely accepted, and chefs started developing fried food recipes.

The emperor’s desire to infuse Japanese cuisine with western influences led to the creation of “yoshoku,” which consists of western dishes that have been transformed and given a Japanese twist.

Tokyo was the birthplace of the original form of katsudon, which dates all the way back to 1899.

In that year, Rengatei, a restaurant known for its “yoshoku” cuisine, introduced the “katsuretsu.”

The term “katsudon” was coined to identify the dish with rice as its topping and to recognize the pork and fried aspect of the dish.

How to serve and eat

Katsudon is easy to eat because it is served in a bowl with rice, and the sauce-covered pork cutlet is sliced into strips.

The dish can be eaten with a spoon and fork, or chopsticks.

Katsudon is usually served with shredded cabbage on the side, which can be used as a topping for the rice. But really you can add all kinds of veggies like pickled ginger, daikon radish, or green onion.

You can also add some shredded cheese to the top for an extra cheesy flavor.

Many people love to drench their katsu with a savory Japanese curry sauce.

Another popular garnish is green onion, chives, parsley, or cilantro.

You can even add some extra tonkatsu sauce on top of the crispy meat.

The dish can also be served with miso soup, which is a traditional Japanese soup made with fermented soybeans.

The katsudon can also be served with a side of potato salad or coleslaw.

Katsudon can be enjoyed at any time of the day, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Similar dishes

All of the different variations are similar dishes.

Tonkatsu is a pork cutlet that is breaded and deep-fried, but it is not covered in egg or sauce like katsudon. It’s also not usually served on a bed of rice.

Katsu with beef is called gyukatsu. There is also a variation of katsudon called “tori katsudon,” which is a chicken cutlet served on a bed of rice and covered in egg.

Curry katsu is another similar dish made of the same breaded pork but served with curry sauce.

Other panko breaded meat dishes include shrimp (ebi fry), squid (ika fry), and scallops (hotate fry).

FAQs

What does katsudon without dashi taste like?

The original katsudon with dashi stock has a mild seafood taste, and it’s considered to be umami. It’s not a strong taste, but it’s definitely present.

However, without dashi, katsudon will still taste savory and delicious because of the soy sauce that’s added to the dish.

It will also have a slightly different texture because the eggs will be cooked longer without the dashi.

What pork cut is used for katsudon?

Lean and fatty pork cuts are both used for katsudon. The lean version is referred to as hirekatsu, while the fatty version is referred to as rosukatsu.

But pork cutlets are the top choice for katsudon, no matter what the cut. This is because pork cutlets are tender and have a lot of flavor.

What kind of rice is used for katsudon?

The best type of rice to use for katsudon is short-grain rice, also known as sushi rice. This type of rice is sticky and will hold together well when mixed with the egg.

Long-grain rice can also be used, but it won’t be as sticky and might fall apart when mixed with the egg.

How do you keep katsudon warm?

You can keep katsudon warm by placing it in a thermal lunch box. This will help to keep the rice and meat warm.

You can also place the katsudon in a microwave-safe dish and reheat it for a few minutes. But be careful not to overcook the egg.

How do you store katsudon?

Katsudon can also be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

This dish is not usually frozen because the rice can become hard and the egg will change in texture.

If you do decide to freeze katsudon, it’s best to eat it within 1 month.

Conclusion

Katsudon is a delicious and easy-to-make Japanese dish. It’s perfect for a quick meal or snack, and it can be made with a limited number of ingredients.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to try this dashi-free version.

The taste of kelp and bonito can be too fishy for some people. Just use some other meat or vegetable broth to create a savory liquid.

The whole family is sure to love this crunchy pork dish with a generous drizzle of sauce.

The rice also makes it super filling, so you’re getting a hearty meal with this rice bowl.

Want to really get your katsudon and oyakodon right? Check out my review of the best oyakodon katsudon pan options for traditional cooking

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.