Kuwayaki Pork Donburi

This is what they mean when they say umami.

I say this surprisingly because the recipe was relatively simple. Slices of pork loin (I used kurobuta from the Japanese market) goes in a quick 5 minute marinade, gets a coat of katakuriko (potato starch), then pan fried and cooked in a shoyu, mirin, and sugar. Then it’s topped on a bowl of rice sprinkled with slivers of shiso and nori. Done! It’s that easy.

The katakuriko creates this amazing gooey coating that absorbs the salty-sweet sauce. The chewy pork, the sticky rich sauce, a hint of ginger from the marinade, and the pungent shiso (I don’t know what it is about shiso, but damn! It elevates any dish) are simple ingredients transformed into a satisfying mouthful. A mouthful of umami.

You must make this.



Also, a word about the word kuwayaki. Kuwa means hoe and yaki means broiled, pan fried, baked, etc. (as in teriyaki, yakiniku, yakisoba, yaki imo). According to my mom, this method of cooking was traditionally used by farmers because they would use the flat part of the hoe as a pan for cooking.

Kuwayaki Pork Donburi
Adapted from ぜひ覚えたいおかず
Makes 2 servings

5.5 oz. pork loin (I bought pork loin for tonkatsu and sliced it half so it wasn’t as thick)
3-4 Tbsp. katakuriko (potato starch)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 shiso leaves, chiffonade
1/4 sheet toasted nori, cut with kitchen scissors into thin strips

For the marinade
1 Tbsp. shoyu
1/2 Tbsp. sake
1 tsp. fresh ginger juice

For the sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. shoyu
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. water

Combine the marinade ingredients in a plate or shallow bowl and add the pork. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Put the katakuriko in a large plate. When the pork has finished marinating, drain the excess marinade and dip the pork into the plate of katakuriko. Make sure it’s evenly coated, then shake off any excess.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and fry the pork so both sides turn a golden brown. If doing this in batches, be sure to add enough oil with each batch so the pork sizzles. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and add to the pork. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Assemble the donburi with hot rice on the bottom, add the shiso and nori, and top with the pork.

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  1. Candice
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I stumbled onto your blog and it reminds me so much about myself and how I grew up. It puts a smile on my face and it makes
    me very hungry :) I love the Japanese way of coating meat in katakuriko and pan frying it. It gives the meat such a great
    texture, and the combination of shoyu and sugar is one of the most comforting flavors for me. I look forward to reading more

    What is your favorite place to eat washoku in LA? I’m always looking to try new places.

  2. Posted October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Candice, thanks for stopping by! I know what you mean—Japanese food soothes the soul, doesn’t it?

    As far as washoku places in LA… to be honest, I don’t often eat Japanese food when I go out. I’m spoiled because I grew up with my mom’s amazing cooking, so I’m overly cautious about where I’ll throw down money to eat! But some of the places I go to are Sushi Gen, Daikokuya, and Honda Ya. See what I mean? Not too adventurous—they’re all in Little Tokyo. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

  3. Janet
    Posted November 2, 2009 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Shiso and pork – could there be a better combination? After having seen your post, I couldn’t get the recipe out of my mind so I ran to the market to get some shiso leaves to try the recipe out. As you promised, it was delicious and satisfying. I already had a high opinion of pork, but it certainly elevated this animal’s status in my culinary world to a new status. It’s an elegant and satisfying dish I’d be happy to serve to dinner guests, but a quick enough meal to prepare for myself on a weeknight. Thanks for sharing, A!

  4. Posted November 2, 2009 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Janet, thanks for giving it a try—I’m glad you liked it! I scarfed down this dish like it was nobody’s business, so I’m happy someone else shares the sentiment. You’re right—this would work perfectly if you’re cooking for guests because it’s quick and has a great combination of flavors! I froze the unused pork, so I can’t wait to make it again…

  5. Posted November 5, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    This dish sounds wonderful and what great images. I’m putting it on our menu for the weekend! Thank you for sharing it, Azusa.

    Also, placed a link to your blog on http://beautifulbowls.blogspot.com.

  6. Posted November 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Martha, please let us know how the dish turned out for you! And many thanks for adding my blog link to your site. You have amazing and unique products on your site—I especially love the felted bowls!

  7. Yoko Besch
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Your Kuwayaki Pork looks so good that I tried it myself. I didn’t have shiso, so sprinkled with sesami after arranging nori and pork over rice. It was delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

  8. Linda Brown
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Excellent!!!!! Just made ittibught for dinner. Had the small pork loin but no sake for the marinade so subbed with gin. Still so yummy, and the sauce perfect. I highly recommend this recipe. Definitely easy and yummy for the tummy! Thank you.

  9. Posted August 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Linda, I’m so happy you liked the dish! I haven’t made it in a while, so thanks for reminding me.

  10. Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I just found your blog two days ago and I’ve been reading it from now to the start since then, soo many recipes I want to try! Pinned over 15 of them for the future but this one became my first try and I loved it!
    I had to settle for a lot of substitutes through as Malta doesn’t provide a lot in the international food department. I couldn’t find any potato starch so I had to substitute corn starch, neither did I find any sake around here so that is on the list for when I shopping at a liquor store in the next town so I substituted rice vinegar. I could only dream of finding shiso here so I used some fresh mint and basil instead and it was sooo good! I imagine it’s even better with all the correct ingredients but I’m really happy I could make it at least. Can’t wait to make a ton more of your recipes, they all sound so delish and I just love Japanese food, the idea of learning to make it at home has me super happy =D

    Thank you so very much for sharing! <3

  11. Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Maria, it makes me happy to hear you were determined to make this, even though some ingredients were hard to find in your area! I’m pleased you like this dish and I hope you get to experiment with some of the other recipes here. In the future, try substituting a dry white wine or a Chinese wine for the sake. Thank you for stopping by and hope to hear about more of your cooking adventures soon.

  12. Linn
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Tasted great. No shiso where I live, but still delicious recipe.

  13. Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Linn, I’m glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for your comment!

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