Menchikatsu (or Menchi katsu)

menchikatsu1_500.jpg

While I make Japanese style hamburgers all the time, I rarely make menchikatsu, its breaded and deep-fried cousin. I guess it’s the breading and deep frying that deters me - it’s a messy process, and I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. So I made these ones for the blog! Fortunately they were consumed very eagerly.

The name is a combination of menchi or minchi, which comes from mince(d meat), and katsu, which comes from cutlet. So it’s a minced meat cutlet.

The recipe for the meat mixture is the same as for the hamburgers, though you may want to moisten the breadcrumbs a bit more to give it a quite loose texture. You will also want to make each ‘cutlet’ smaller than the hamburgers. I made size little ones out of the same amount of meat that I made 4 hamburgers from. After dipping in flour, beaten egg and then breadcrumbs (panko are preferable here), it helps to let them firm up a bit in the refrigerator before frying.

menchi_step1.jpg

Then deep fry them in cooking oil (here I used peanut oil) at a medium-high temperature, about 150°C / 300°F, turning several times, until golden brown on the outside. If you put a discreet hold in the center with a skewer or chopstick and the juice that runs out is clear, it’s done.

The best sauce to put on these is plain old Bulldog tonkatsu sauce, sparingly. They’re best freshly made and piping hot, but are also not bad cooled, so they are popular for bentos.

Making these brought back memories of growing up in suburban Tokyo. Menchikatsu and korokke (potato croquettes that are similarly breaded and deep fried) were commonly available at a butchers; I think the menchikatsu were 100 yen each, and the korokke 80 yen each. They were my mother’s fall-back okazu, when she was too busy to make something else. I remember being sent on emergency early-evening runs to the butcher for menchikatsu and korokke for dinner. My mother never liked to resort to them, but us kids loved them. Menchikatsu and korokke are easily available from butchers, department store food halls, convenience stores (kombini) and supermarkets. They’re usually sold readymade, but you can get them frozen and ready to fry at supermarkets too.

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Chicken katsu, pork katsu,

Chicken katsu, pork katsu, and now — small hamburger katsu! Apparently dipping meats in the egg and panko twice is the first secret for a good coating, chilling the little hamburgers before frying is another (thank you), and keeping the frying temperature medium high lets the meat cook without burning the coating (or find out the hard way). Eating menchikatsu cold is akin to a little meatloaf sandwich, but I bet there are no leftovers for that! I made some chicken katsu for dinner last night, diced after frying and served over rice with some sauted chopped onion and shiitake mushroom slices in warmed tonkatsu sauce. Next I’ll try the hamburger. Love both of your websites and am learning a lot from them.

Anon. | 30 March, 2008 - 17:13

Thanks, Maki! That IS what

Thanks, Maki! That IS what I get at our local restaurant. Well actually, it’s like a panko platter :) where you get menchikatsu, korokke, and ebi furai all on one plate. I only ordered it once, oishii but a little to heavy and greasy for a middle aged woman. My son’s order it all the time though :). Definitely not diet food. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll have to make it when my boys are home sometime.

Andrea | 30 March, 2008 - 19:02

Deep fried burgers? YES,

Deep fried burgers? YES, PLEASE!

aforkfulofspaghetti | 1 April, 2008 - 14:59

I am from Serbia(Europe),

I am from Serbia(Europe), and this meal “Menchikatsu” we prepare too.
But we call it “Tchufte”.

maria | 16 April, 2008 - 12:27

vegan version :)

I think it’s possible to make a vegan version of menchikatsu ^^ though it won’t taste like real beef or pork. I replaced the ground meat with cooked tempeh, and it was good, though it has to be flavored well to make it more ‘kid-friendly’.

Mei Ying | 24 April, 2008 - 16:09

healthy frying

Hi. I love just hungry heaps!
I am terrified of deep frying things because it coats the whole kitchen in grease. So, I discovered from another food blog (don’t remember which one sorry) about oven fried. Spray oil into oven pan and bake menchikatsu turning once. I tried this method for breaded fried chicken and my partner said it was better than KFc.
I will be trying this recipe soon. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes

addy | 25 April, 2008 - 19:22

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