The Difference between Tempura, Katsu, and Furai
“Agemono (揚げ物)” is the generic name for Japanese deep-fried foods, such as “Tempura (天ぷら)”, “Karaage (唐揚げ)”, “Kakiage (かき揚げ)”, “Katsu (カツ)”, and “Furai (フライ)”.
Many overseas people may have heard of these popular Japanese dishes, but it seems that many of them can’t clearly tell the difference between them.
Since I wrote about the difference between Tempura, Karaage, and Kakiage before that many people especially want to know, this time let me explain the difference between Tempura, Katsu, and Furai that sometimes becomes a topic of conversation.
The Difference between Tempura and Katsu
As you know, Tempura is the Agemono where one piece of ingredient is battered, and then deep-fried in vegetable oil (traditionally in sesame oil).
The batter for Tempura is generally made with hen’s egg, soft wheat flour, and iced water, and typical ingredients of Tempura are seafood and vegetables, such as prawn, squid, conger-eel, eggplant, asparagus, sweet potato, pumpkin, maitake and shiitake mushrooms.
We usually eat Tempura dipping the deep-fried ingredient in “Tentsuyu (天つゆ)“. Tentsuyu is the dipping sauce for Tempura that is made from “Dashi (出汁)” soup stock, soy sauce, and Mirin sweet cooking rice wine.
Katsu is the Japanese abbreviation for cutlet, so generally its main ingredient is meat such as beef, chicken, and pork.
The basic making method of this Agemono is that meat is coated with wheat flour, dipped in beaten egg, breaded, deep-fried in plenty of oil, and after that cut into thick slices.
By the way, when we Japanese just say “I want to eat Katsu”, in many cases that Katsu refers to “Tonkatsu (豚カツ : pork cutlet)“.
The Difference between Katsu and Furai
Ebi Furai (海老フライ)
There is no big difference in cooking method and eating manner between Katsu and Furai, but Katsu is made from breaded meat, while Furai refers to the deep-fried seafood or vegetables with a crispy, brown breadcrumb coating.
In other words, the main ingredient of Katsu is usually pork, beef or chicken, while the food material for Furai are seafood and vegetables.