Skewered Pork Cutlets

Kushi Katsu

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1 dozen sticks

Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

The Japanese “discovered” the pleasures of breaded fried pork thanks to the Dutch influence in Nagasaki several hundred years ago. More recently, the Japanese redesigned the dish by taking what was essentially a main course and making it over into an appetizer or snack. Kushi katsu are now a popular item on many Japanese menus through the United States.

Because the Japanese use special, coarse bread crumbs, the fried pork stays crispy for hours and is quite delicious at room temperature. Bite-size but unskewered nuggets of breaded fried pork find their way into many Japanese lunch boxes.


  • 10–12 ounces lean pork butt
  • ½ large green bell pepper, about 2 ounces with seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 whole scallions
  • 3–4 tablespoons (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs) vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • tonkatsu sōsu (dark spicy sauce), for dipping


Slice the pork into twenty-four pieces, each about ¼ inch thick and 1–1½ inches square. Cut the pepper into six pieces, removing any seeds or ribs. Each piece should be about inches square. Trim the scallions and cut them into -inch lengths; you should have about six pieces of white, twelve pieces of green. Toss all the pieces of meat and vegetable in the flour to lightly dust them.

Use short (about 6-inch) bamboo skewers, which can be bought at Oriental groceries or in housewares shops sometimes. On each of six skewers, thread pork and peppers as follows: Begin and end each skewer with a piece of pork, wedging a piece of pepper in between. Each piece of food should be pierced twice by the tip of the skewer.

On each of six short skewers, thread pork and scallions as follows: Begin and end each skewer with a piece of pork wedging three lengths of scallions (the white flanked by the green) in between. Thread the meat so that the tip of the skewer pierces each piece twice.

One at a time, dip the twelve skewers into the egg wash, then immediately into the bread crumbs. Take a wok, a deep metal skillet, or a deep-fat fryer and fill it with at least 2 inches of oil. Heat the oil to approximately 375 degrees. Test the oil by dropping in a few bread crumbs to which some egg wash clings. Ideally the crumbs will drop just below the surface, rise immediately, and sizzle and color slowly on the surface. Deep fry the skewers, two or three at a time, for 2½–3 minutes. Turn the skewers several times during the frying time. Drain well on paper towels. Serve with the dark spicy sauce.