Gyukatsu, also known as beef cutlet or 牛かつ in Japanese, is a traditional dish that features a deep-fried cutlet made with wagyu beef. The beef is seasoned, coated in breadcrumbs, and then fried until it becomes crispy.
Similar to Tonkatsu, but with a twist, gyukatsu replaces the pork with wagyu beef. This dish is a specialty of Tokyo and is gaining popularity as people discover its unique flavors and textures.
As we delve into this article, we will explore the world of gyukatsu and discover what makes it so special.
This dish should also have etymology and we should know the meaning behind the name of Gyukatsu. Thus, gyukatsu combines two words; “Gyu (牛)” and “Katsu (カツ)”. “Gyu” means “beef” in Japan and “Katsu” is a shortened form of “katsuretsu (カツレツ)”, the transliteration of the English word cutlet, which again derived from French côtelette, meaning “meat chop”.
What is Gyukatsu?
Gyukatsu is a Japanese dish also from Tokyo that consists of breaded, deep-fried beef cutlets. You may be familiar with tonkatsu which is the pork equivalent of this dish that has been popular for a long time. It was once a little-known dish, however, its popularity exploded in 2015. Moreover, locals choose to season the cutlet and coat it with breadcrumbs. Then, they will fry it until it becomes crispy. They usually cut it and serve it into bite-size pieces. Additionally, in restaurants, they usually accompany gyukatsu with various side dishes. It may include miso soup, sliced cabbage or other vegetables, pickled vegetables, dipping sauces, wasabi, barley rice, or Tororo—grated yams.
At the beginning of the Meiji era, there is a dish in which the Japanese fried battered young beef in an oil-filled frying pan. Later, this changed to a “fried” recipe with a large amount of oil, and it became what it is today.
Since the Taisho era, the main ingredient of katsuretsu in the Tokyo area is from young beef to pork. This is because it is cheaper and more easily available. The availability of it is a requirement for the process of popularization of Western food for Japanese people. Therefore, it suits the tastes of the Kanto people, who are in the cultural area. However, in the Kansai region such as Kobe, Osaka, and Kyoto, which are the beef culture areas, beef cutlets have become the mainstream instead of pork. Even now that the tonkatsu originated in Tokyo has become widespread nationwide, locals still eat this daily at home or outside.
Beef katsuretsu was a minor dish nationwide, but it became a boom in Tokyo in 2015. Additionally, its recognition is rapidly increasing from the metropolitan area to the whole country.
In this section, we will know what the gyukatsu recipe is. Firstly, let us know the gyukatsu ingredients. It consists mainly of beef, turnips with leaves, salt, flour, egg, bread crumbs, miso, chili oil, sugar, and soy sauce.
How to make Gyukatsu
Cut the beef and sprinkle it with salt and coarse black pepper on both sides. Sprinkle flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs in that order, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.
Wash the turnips well with the skin on, cut off the stems, leaving about 4 cm, and divide into 4 pieces.
Put frying oil to a depth of 2 cm in a pan, heat to 180°C, and add 1 beef one by one.
Fry for about 1 minute and 30 seconds until the surface turns golden brown, drain the oil, and let it rest for about 1 minute.
Mix the miso, sugar, and chili oil to make spicy miso.
Cut 4 into easy-to-eat pieces and serve with turnips and spicy miso. Add grated wasabi, salty sauce, and salt to your liking.
How do you eat Gyukatsu?
The proper way to eat gyukatsu is by cooking the fried beef on top of the stone stove. The stone stove is usually heated by a small candle inside the box. The meat tends to taste better since the heat activates all of the flavors. Additionally, there are five (5) ways to enjoy Gyukatsu. Firstly, is to dip it with wasabi and soy sauce. Secondly, dip it with soy sauce. Third, dip it with horseradish and onion sauce. Fourth, is to season it with rock salt. The last one is to sizzle it for a few seconds on the mini stone grill for your preferred doneness.
What are the types of beef cutlets?
Katsumeshi (Hyogo Prefecture specialties)
A plate-filled dish with beef cutlet on top of white rice and sauce.
At Kushikatsu restaurants in the Kinki region centered on Osaka, the basic meat is not pork, but lean beef and tendon.
What cut is a beef cutlet?
In cooking terms, a “cutlet” of meat — chicken, pork, beef, lamb, turkey — refers to a thin cut of meat usually from the leg or rib section (with fowl, sometimes the breast) of the animal. Commonly, locals pounded cutlets even thinner before they cooked them over high heat.
Recommended Gyukatsu Restaurants
Gyukatsu Motomura (Tokyo)
One of the things that one always misses from Tokyo is the food scene. There is so much interesting and delicious food to try in this metropolitan city including Gyukatsu from Gyukatsu Motomura. Gyukatsu Motomura is one of the most popular restaurants for this kind of dish. Their gyukatsu is a beef cutlet deep-fried until it turns golden on the outside while still medium-rare on the inside. You’ll get a nice pink color in the middle. The beef cutlet comes in the set meal with cabbage, potato salad, pickles, barley rice, miso soup, and grated yam (additional). Additionally, the rice is supremely tasty with the combination of fluffy rice and barley, if you order the set with grated yam, simply mix the grated yam with the rice to get the nice silky smooth texture.
This shop is about a 5-minute walk from “Kyoto Station”. This shop serves slices of high-quality single meat that is medium-rare. Their beef Ribeye Cutlet Set (Medium)is ¥1,280 (excluding tax). It has an exquisite harmony of oil and crispy batter. Additionally, you can feel the original taste of the meat, and they also further brought the umami by the sauce, which is outstandingly delicious.
Meat Bar Shoutaian Shibuya (Tokyo)
“Meat bar Shoutaian Shibuya store” was born from a yakiniku restaurant. It is a shop where you can casually enjoy A5 rank authentic Japanese black beef. The shop’s space is where you can relax and enjoy high-class Japanese black beef with sake. It is popular not only with young people in Shibuya but also with business people. The beef cutlet in this shop is a “Wagyu cutlet” using A5 rank Japanese black beef. They serve this juicy Wagyu beef cutlet with freshly grated ponzu sauce.
Apollo PLUS (Kyoto)
The next restaurant in Kyoto where you can enjoy beef cutlet is “Apollo PLUS”. This shop is about a 6-minute walk from “Karasuma Line Oike Station”. This shop carefully selects the A4 or higher Japanese black beef for the beef cutlet you can enjoy. “Kuroge Wagyu beef pork cutlet demiglace sauce” costs about ¥3,800 (tax included). The delicious taste of meat and the richness of demiglace sauce produce a very delicate taste.
Gyukatsu comes in a set meal with cabbage, potato salad, pickles, barley rice, and miso soup. Overall, same as tonkatsu, gyukatsu is one of those foods that’s fun to cook and is super delicious to eat. The authentic Wagyu beef in Japan after all, is among the most sought-after and luxurious meats in the world. What makes it so special is its copious marbling, which creates a luxurious, buttery tenderness unlike any steak from cattle raised in America. Like steak, everyone can distinguish beef cutlets by how one is fried, such as rare, medium, and well-done.