The Difference: Karaage vs Katsu
“Karaage (から揚げ)” and “Katsu (カツ)” are representative types of “Agemono (揚げ物)” which is a category of dish in Japanese cuisine consisting of deep-fried foods, as Agemono literally means deep-fried things in Japanese.
The Japanese Agemono dishes, Karaage and Katsu are widely enjoyed in households and restaurants around Japan, and in recent years fairly well recognized by overseas people.
The Difference between Karaage and Katsu
Nevertheless, for those who have heard of Karaage and Katsu before, but know little about them, today I will explain how they are different from each other.
Karaage is a type of Agemono whose food material is thinly coated in wheat flour and/or potato starch called “Katakuriko (片栗粉)”, and then deep-fried in high temperature (170 to 180 degrees Celsius) oil.
The most common ingredient used for Karaage in Japan is chicken thigh, but in addition various food materials can be prepared for the Japanese dish, which include chicken breast, fish, shrimps, and vegetables.
Although originally the ingredients for Karaage are not seasoned prior to cooking, in modern times they are often marinated in soy sauce and Sake rice wine like “Tatsuta Age (竜田揚げ)“.
Karaage is tender and juicy, and eaten on its own or typically with lemon or mayonnaise.
Katsu is the Japanese abbreviation for cutlet, and the typical ingredients prepared for the Agemono dish include pork loin, chicken breast, and beef sirloin.
When Japanese just say “I want to eat Katsu”, that Katsu usually refers to Japanese-style pork cutlets “Tonkatsu (豚カツ)“.
Unlike Karaage, the food material for Katsu is breaded and deep-fried in plenty of oil that is heated to a temperature between 180 and 190 degrees Celsius.
Katsu features its crispy savory “Panko (パン粉)” breadcrumb covering. During the deep-frying process, moisture evaporates from the food material inside, which makes its taste umami-rich.
We usually eat Katsu with Tonkatsu sauce, a Japanese brown sauce which is sweeter, thicker, less spicy, less sour than European-style Worcester sauce.