The Difference: Karaage vs Katsu
“Karaage (から揚げ)” and “Katsu (カツ)” are representative types of “Agemono (揚げ物: literally meaning deep-fried thing)” which are deep-fried foods in Japanese cuisine.
These Agemono dishes, Karaage and Katsu are widely enjoyed in Japanese households and restaurants, and in recent years pretty well-recognized by overseas people.
The Difference between Karaage and Katsu
Nonetheless, for people who have heard of the names of Karaage and Katsu but don’t know much about the Japanese fries, today I will explain how they differ from each other.
First off, Karaage is a type of Agemono whose main ingredient is thinly coated in wheat flour and/or potato starch called “Katakuriko (片栗粉)”, and then deep-fried in plenty of high-temperature (170 to 180 degrees Celsius) oil.
The most common food material for Karaage is the chicken thigh, but in addition, various ingredients are prepared for the Japanese dish, which includes chicken breast, fish, shrimps, and vegetables.
Although originally the ingredients of Karaage are not seasoned prior to cooking, in modern times they are often marinated in a liquid of soy sauce and sake rice wine like “Tatsuta Age (竜田揚げ)“.
Karaage is tender and juicy and the typical condiments for it are lemon and mayonnaise.
Meanwhile, Katsu is the Japanese word for cutlet, and the quintessential ingredient prepared for this Agemono dish is meat such as pork loin, chicken breast, and beef sirloin.
When Japanese people just say “I want to eat Katsu” in daily life, the Katsu usually refers to the Japanese-style pork cutlet “Tonkatsu (豚カツ)“.
Unlike Karaage, the food material for Katsu is first battered, then breaded with panko breadcrumbs, and last deep-fried in plenty of lard or vegetable oil that has been heated to a temperature between 180 and 190 degrees Celsius.
Katsu is especially characterized by its crispy brown breadcrumb covering. During the deep-frying process, excess moisture evaporates from the food inside, which makes the taste umami-rich.
We usually eat Katsu with Tonkatsu sauce, a Japanese brown sauce, which is sweeter, thicker, less spicy, and less sour than European-style Worcester sauce. The typical condiment for this Agemono is the Karashi yellow mustard.