Originating in Japan, katsu is a panko-crusted fried dish that is frequently made with such base ingredients as chicken, pork, oysters, or tofu. Chunky flakes of panko create a golden brown crust that shatters at the first bite. Recently, cheese katsu has gained popularity throughout Korea and Japan. Like traditional katsu, it is often made with pork or chicken, but what differs is the cheese stuffed in the center, which melts into a tiny cheesy pool once cut open.
This recipe uses block mozzarella to make an extra-oozy middle, but any low-moisture cheese would work well. You can generally find very thin pork cuts prepared in Asian grocery stores, but you can also halve thin boneless pork chops horizontally yourself and then pound them to the correct thickness (you’re aiming for more of a square shape than a rectangle, to fully encase the cheese). To serve, plate with a mound of steaming rice, Japanese curry, or a big leafy salad. —Kiera Wright-Ruiz