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A schnitzel is a thin slice of meat fried in fat. The meat is usually thinned by pounding with a meat tenderizer. Most commonly, the meats are breaded before frying. The breaded schnitzel is popular in many countries and is made using veal, pork, chicken, mutton, beef, or turkey. Schnitzel is very similar to the dish escalope in France, tonkatsu in Japan, cotoletta in Italy, the milanesa of Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, chuleta valluna in Colombia and chicken fried steak of the Southern United States.
In Austria and Germany, Wiener Schnitzel is a protected geographical indication and must be made of veal. When other meats are used, it can be called Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein/Pute/Huhn ("Viennese schnitzel of pig/turkey/chicken") or Schnitzel nach Wiener Art ("Schnitzel Viennese style").
The English term schnitzel means in general all types of breaded, fried flat pieces of meat. Due to the similarity between schnitzel and escalope, in many of the countries listed below, people sometimes refer to schnitzels as escalope, and vice versa.
In Egypt, there are two dishes called pane. The first dish is called "chicken pané" or "فراخ بانى" in Arabic and is usually served with an Egyptian variation of lasagne called "macarona béchamel" or "مكرونة بشاميل" in Arabic. It is also popular with french fries, in sandwiches, or eaten alone as an appetizer. Using meat, it is called "بفتيك". and the other one is known panne which is with meat and usually served with french fries.
Schnitzel, both chicken and pork, is common in Namibia due to the German colonial history. A majority of the restaurants in Windhoek, Walvis Bay, and Swakopmund offer it on their menus, often topped with a fried egg and accompanied by potato salad. It is often eaten in a Brötchen (German sandwich roll) with tomatoes, cheese, and other dressing.
Schnitzels are popular in South Africa, due to the European heritage in the country. Chicken schnitzels and cordon bleu schnitzels are a common item on most restaurant menus and hospitals, and in recent years, beef and pork schnitzels have also become widely available.
Japanese tonkatsu (豚カツ, lit. "pork cutlet") consists of a flattened pork loin, lightly seasoned, coated in flour, dipped in beaten egg, coated with panko crumbs and deep fried. Tonkatsu is often served as an accompaniment to ramen or udon or featured with curry and rice.
Pork tonkatsu was invented in Japan in 1899 at the Rengatei restaurant in Tokyo. It was originally considered a type of yōshoku—Japanese versions of European cuisine invented in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—and was called katsuretsu (cutlet) or simply katsu. Variations include the use of pork fillet (hirekatsu), chicken (chicken katsu), beef (gyūkatsu), ham (hamukatsu) and minced meat (menchi-katsu).
In Korean cuisine, pork (donkaseu, from Japanese tonkatsu), chicken (chikinkaseu), and beef (bipkaseu) cutlets are popular. The most common types of donkaseu are "kyeongyangsik"(경양식; Western-style) and "ilbonsik"(일본식; Japanese-style).
Wiener schnitzel, a very thin, breaded and pan fried cutlet made from veal, is one of the best known specialities of Viennese cuisine, and is one of the national dishes of Austria. Breaded schnitzel with sauce is considered a no-go in Austrian culture.
Popular unbreaded variants in Austria are:
- Jägerschnitzel (hunter's schnitzel) is a schnitzel with mushroom sauce.
- Rahmschnitzel (cream schnitzel) is a schnitzel with a cream sauce, often containing some mushrooms.
- Zigeunerschnitzel (Gypsy schnitzel) is a schnitzel with a zigeuner sauce containing tomato, bell peppers, and onion slices.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the dish is called Bečka Šnicla or Bečki Odrezak (Bečki = "Viennese"; Šnicla = transliteration of German Schnitzel) and is made of veal or beef and usually served with mashed potatoes. Common garnishes include a slice of lemon or some lettuce.
Called шницел (shnitsel), it is made from ground veal, formed as a thin patty, seasoned with salt and black pepper, then breaded and fried. The dish usually is served with a choice of mashed or roasted potatoes, French fries, or simply a tomato salad. It is common at truck stops, and it is usually ordered à la carte, coming with a lemon wedge, but one can also find it in the frozen sections in supermarkets or premade and ready to cook.
In Croatia, the dish is called bečki odrezak (šnicl) (bečki = "Viennese"; šnicl = transliteration of German Schnitzel) and it is made of veal (sometimes insidiously substituted with cheaper pork) and served with French fries or potato salad and a slice of lemon. A similar dish is called zagrebački odrezak (šnicl) (a variation on cordon bleu).
Schnitzel is also very popular in the Czech Republic, where it is known as a smažený řízek or just řízek, and is made of pork, chicken, or veal. It is often served with boiled or mashed potatoes or potato salad. It also used to be and to some degree still is a typical packed lunch for day trips, when it was consumed with bread (often between two slices of bread as a sandwich). During the communist period, a deep-fried breaded hard cheese called smažený sýr (literally, "fried cheese") became popular, mainly among the youth and students, especially served with tartar sauce, a slice of lemon, and boiled new potatoes with melted butter and parsley greens.
In Denmark, the dish is called skinkeschnitzel when made of pork and wienerschnitzel when made of veal, and is usually served with fried potatoes, gravy, green or snow peas, and a "boy" (dreng in Danish) consisting of a lemon slice topped with capers, horseradish, and a slice of anchovy.
In Finland, the dish called Wieninleike ("Viennese cutlet"), is almost always made of pork, breaded and fried like the original. It is usually served with French fries, potato mash, or wedge potatoes. A slice of lemon, a slice of anchovy, and a few capers are placed on top of the cutlet. Usually, the dish includes a small amount of salad made from fresh vegetables. The dish was popular between the end of the Second World War and the 1990s, when it could be found in most low-end restaurants in Finland. In past decades, it has been overtaken in popularity by fast food.
Wieninleike and its variations remain a staple of menus in many non-ethnic or fine dining restaurant in Finland. Lunch restaurants, highway rest stops and restaurants attached to gas stations are most prominently associated with this type of menu in Finland.
- Wieninleike ("Viennese cutlet") served typically with slice of lemon, anchovy, and caper
- Floridanleike ("Floridian cutlet") served with fried peach and served with Béarnaise sauce
- Havaijinleike ("Hawaiian cutlet") served with fried pineapple
- Holsteininleike ("Holstein cutlet") served with egg, anchovy, and caper
- Metsästäjänleike ("hunter's cutlet") served with mushroom sauce
- Oskarinleike ("Oscar's cutler") served with choron-sauce, shrimps or lobster, and asparagus
- Oopperaleike ("opera cutlet") served with fried egg
- Sveitsinleike ("Swiss cutlet") is filled with smoked ham and Emmentaler cheese
Typically the dishes above are prepared from pork.
Pariser schnitzel is similar to Wiener schnitzel but is floured and fried in an egg batter instead of using breadcrumbs.
In Germany, the term Schnitzel means cutlets in general, not just breaded, fried ones.
- Schnitzel Wiener Art (Viennese style schnitzel) is a pounded, breaded and fried cutlet, more often made of pork than of veal. Restaurants mostly serve it with a slice of lemon and french fries.
- Jägerschnitzel (hunter's schnitzel) is a schnitzel with mushroom sauce. An East German variant of Jägerschnitzel is made of Jagdwurst sausage and without sauce.
- Zigeunerschnitzel (Gypsy schnitzel) is a schnitzel with a zigeuner sauce containing tomato, bell peppers, and onion slices. This schnitzel is also called Paprikaschnitzel (bell pepper schnitzel), Schnitzel Balkan-Art (Balkan-style schnitzel) or Schnitzel Budapester Art (Budapest-style schnitzel). Much like the English term "Gypsy", the term Zigeuner may be viewed as offensive to Romani people.
- Rahmschnitzel (cream schnitzel) is a schnitzel with a cream sauce
- Münchner Schnitzel (Munich schnitzel) is a variation on the Wiener schnitzel prepared with horseradish and/or mustard before coating in flour, egg and bread crumbs.
Due to the strong Austrian influence of the Austro-Hungarian era, Wiener schnitzel is popular in Hungary, known as bécsi szelet (Viennese slice), borjú bécsi (Viennese veal) or rántott hús (breaded meat). It is served in restaurants, and is a common meal in Hungarian homes, often prepared on Sundays or for festivities with spätzle, French fries, mashed potatoes, or rice. Alternatively, green peas or other vegetables are used as a side dish. Bread and salad (or pickles) often accompany the meal. Some restaurants offer the cordon bleu variant, a slice of schnitzel rolled and filled with cheese and ham.
In the Netherlands (and Belgium) schnitzel is mostly made of pork and served with fries and vegetable salad. Zigeunerschnitzel (served with paprika) and Cordon bleu (Blue ribbon) are very popular. A typical Dutch variant is the 'gehaktschnitzel', a schnitzel made of minced meat. In the Netherlands, every butcher has his own variants.
In the Republic of North Macedonia, the dish called шницла (shnitzla) is a piece of pork seasoned with salt and black pepper, breaded and fried. Typically, it is served with mashed or fried potatoes with green salad garnish.
Kotlet schabowy is a classical and most popular recipe for boneless pork chop or pork tenderloin. It can also be made from chicken.
In Portugal, schnitzel is called bife panado or just panado ("breaded"). Different varieties of panado can be made with chicken (panado de frango), turkey (panado de peru), pork (costeleta panada for pork chop, febra panada for pork without bone), or veal (escalope de vitela panado). The meat is usually seasoned with black pepper, garlic, and lemon juice. It is commonly served with spaghetti, fried potatoes, or rice (plain or with beans). It is also popular as a sandwich, served in a bun with lettuce (sandes de panado).
Romanian șnițel (pronounced ['ʃni.t͡sel]) is very common in restaurants, fast-food places, and homes across the country. Normally served simple and unadorned, the fast food version is differentiated by being served sandwich/burger style. Cordon bleu șnițel (made from pork loin stuffed with cheese and ham) is also very popular. The Romanian șnițel is made in the same manner as the Austrian one, but as a local characteristic is made of almost any type of meat (chicken, pork, veal or beef).
A specialty from western Romania is the mosaic șnițel made of two thin meat layers (usually each layer of different meat) and a vegetable (usually mushroom) filling. Also a recipe for șnițel de ciuperci, a mushroom fritter, is common.
In Russia, the dish is called отбивная (otbivnaya), which literally means a piece of meat that has been beaten. Russian cuisine includes recipes of schnitzel prepared from pork, as well as beef, veal, and chicken.
In Serbia, the dish is called bečka šnicla (Viennese schnitzel). A local urban legend states the dish originated in Serbia and not in Austria, but no one can say why. In Serbia, the word Schnitzel is used to describe any cutlet, not just breaded meat.
Schnitzel is highly popular in Slovakia, a country bordering Austria, where it is referred to as vyprážaný rezeň. or simply rezeň (in the Western parts colloquially also schnitzel). It is often made of pork or chicken, and is typically served with fried potatoes (not peeled), boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, fries (especially in canteens), potato salad, or rice.
Schnitzel is called dunajski zrezek, meaning Viennese-style cutlets (Vienna is Dunaj in Slovenian). It is served with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. Restaurants serving the dish can be found throughout the country, though typically it is made of pork or chicken. In Slovenia, a schnitzel filled with prosciutto and cheese is called ljubljanski zrezek (after Ljubljana, the country's capital).
Schnitzel in Spain is Escalope or Escalopa. San Jacobo (commonly) or cachopo (in northern Spain) is usually made with veal or pork stuffed with ham and cheese. For generations it was enjoyed, together with potato omelettes, on family picnics in the countryside.
In Sweden, the dish is called schnitzel or Wienerschnitzel, and is made most commonly of pork, and is often decorated with a caper-filled circle of either genuine anchovies or the Swedish "fake" ansjovis (made of brine-cured sprats). It is served with rice, fries, or boiled potatoes, and green peas.
Schnitzel, Schnipo, Wienerschnitzel, and Rahmschnitzel are all popular dishes in Switzerland. Schnipo (a schnitzel and fried potato combination) is quite popular. The Rahmschnitzel version is made with either veal or pork and topped with a cream sauce, sometimes including mushrooms. The cordon bleu variant of schnitzel – two slices of schnitzel (or one with a pocket) filled with cheese, typically Emmentaler or Gruyere, and a slice of ham – is also popular in Switzerland. Also the "Walliser Schnitzel" is a variant in which the meat is not breaded, but is fried in oil and then coated with tomato sauce and raclette cheese.
In Turkey, the dish is spelled schnitzelm şinitzel, or şnitzelm and pronounced in a similar way to German. It is made of chicken, and is usually served with rice, French fries, or pasta. Sometimes, it may have grilled cheese in it. It is often cooked at home, as it is an easy-to-do kind of food, but some restaurants have it on their menus.
In West Ukraine (former Habsburg Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria), it is known as шніцель shnitsel′; in the rest of the country, it is called as відбивна vidbyvna. It is usually made of pork, or sometimes chicken.
The parmo, or Teesside Parmesan, is a schnitzel popular in Middlesbrough, Teesside, and a popular item of take-away food in North East England. It consists of a breaded cutlet of chicken or pork topped with a white béchamel sauce and cheese, usually cheddar cheese.
Schnitzel is popular in Iran, where it is known as shenitsel (Persian: شنیتسل). Thought to have been introduced in Persia during the World Wars, shenitsel is usually thicker, bigger, spicier, and fried with a more crispy breading than the standard schnitzel. It is customarily served with lemon, French fries, and a variety of boiled vegetables.
In Israel the dish is called Schnitzel (Hebrew: שניצל, shnitsel). It is a popular food in Israeli cuisine. The meat is typically chicken or turkey breast, in conformance with dietary kashrut laws, which prohibit pork. Additionally, clarified butter, the preferred cooking fat for Austrian Wiener schnitzel, is impermissible for kosher use, as it is a dairy product forbidden for use with meat. Hence vegetable oils are used. Before frying, the schnitzel is coated with a mixture of beaten eggs and bread crumbs, sometimes spiced with paprika or sesame seeds. The Israeli schnitzel is usually served with mashed potatoes, French fries, rice, or pasta, accompanied by ketchup, hummus, or vegetable salad.
The schnitzel tradition was brought from Europe to Israel by Ashkenazi Jews. During the early years of the state of Israel, veal was not obtainable, and chicken or turkey proved to be inexpensive and tasty substitutes. Packaged schnitzels are widely available from the frozen food section in most supermarkets. Some frozen schnitzels are breaded patties made from processed chicken or turkey meat, not whole poultry breasts.
In Lebanon, the dish is normally called escalope. Escalope is a French term and is a broader category of beaten, breaded meat of which Schnitzel is a type of. While schnitzels are fried, escalopes need not be even though it most commonly is. Lebanon likely adopted the French term during the French mandate period of Lebanon.
In Canada, Schnitzel is often referred to simply as Veal Cutlet or Chicken Cutlet, breaded and fried. Often with Italian tomato sauce, parmigiana cheese or mozzarella cheese. It is often topped with red peppers and it is very commonly served as a sandwich.
In Mexico, Schnitzel is commonly referred to as milanesa. Milanesas are eaten in some regions, often in a torta (a sandwich made with bolillo or telera bread). In northern Baja California, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua (due to U.S influence), it features lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise like a traditional sandwich, but the milanesa is also common in these regions as the main course of a meal. The milanesa memela napolitana is made with a thick fried tortilla with a milanesa on top, with ham, tomato sauce and grated cheese. In Mexico, milanesa usually refers to the preparation method; any type of meat that is pounded thin, breaded and fried might be referred to as a milanesa. In the northern state of Nuevo León, perhaps due to the influence of German and Czech immigrants, the dish known as milanesa is extremely popular and stands on its own as a main dish in most restaurants. It is usually served with french fries, refried beans, rice, and a lettuce salad.
Fried cutlets are a popular convenience meal, they can be purchased pre-cooked and frozen, and heated at home. The pork tenderloin sandwich, popular in the Midwest, is made from a breaded pork tenderloin and is very similar to schnitzel. Chicken fried steak, also called country fried steak, is nearly identical to schnitzel. It is a breaded and deep fried beef steak. The beef is a generally a shoulder or a round cut, rather than an expensive loin or rib steak. It is usually served with white gravy.
Beef (which may be veal) and chicken schnitzel are both very popular dishes in Australia, particularly in pubs where they are among the most widely available meals. Chicken schnitzel (less so beef) is also sold at many take-away establishments.
At pubs, schnitzel is typically accompanied by chips (French fries), salad, and sometimes bacon. Plain and parmigiana schnitzels are sometimes respectively known by colloquial names "Schnitty", "Schnitter", "Parma", or "Parmi".
Argentina and Uruguay
In Argentina and Uruguay, this dish, called milanesa, consists of a thin slice of beef, chicken, veal, or sometimes pork, and even eggplant or soy. Each slice is dipped into beaten eggs, seasoned with salt, and other ingredients according to the cook's taste (like parsley and garlic). Each slice is then dipped in bread crumbs (or occasionally flour) and shallow-fried in oil, one at a time. Some people prefer to use very little oil and then bake them in the oven as a healthier alternative.
In Brazil, such preparations, designated à milanesa (Milanese-style), are quite common, especially in the more European-influenced southern region of the country. The meats of choice are beef or chicken, while veal and pork are relatively rare.
Schnitzel presentations are called chuleta in Colombia. They are composed of flat pieces of chicken, veal, or mostly pork, covered with flour, and then deep-fried. The chuleta is a traditional dish of the Valle del Cauca region.
Other variants of the schnitzel, not all necessarily made with a bread crumb crust, include:
- Escalope: A piece of boneless meat that has been thinned out using a mallet, rolling pin, or beaten with the handle of a knife, or merely 'butterflied'. Although it is usually a thinner cut of meat than found in a schnitzel, the meat of an escalope is also usually coated with flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs, and then fried.
- Cordon bleu: "Blue ribbon" is a thinly pounded piece of meat stuffed with cheese and ham.
- Valdostana: Very similar to the cordon bleu, but cheese and ham are not inside but on the top, this dish is from an alpine region in Italy, the Val d'Aosta.
- Chicken Kiev is unpounded chicken breast rolled around butter and sometimes garlic, then breaded and cooked in a manner similar to Cordon Bleu.
- Milanesa Napolitana: This River Plate variant, very popular in Argentina and Uruguay, is made from a beef schnitzel topped with ham, marinara sauce (tomato and garlic), and local mozzarella, then grilled to melt the cheese, usually served with French fries (British - chips).
- Singapore Hainanese pork chop: Served in a gravy with tomatoes, potato wedges, onions and peas, it can be enjoyed with steamed rice and chilli sauce.
- Piccata is breaded meat like schnitzel.
- Chicken fingers are chicken breast strips breaded and fried similar to schnitzel.
- Chicken fried steak is a piece of cube steak coated with seasoned flour, and pan-fried. Popular in the southern United States, it is typically served covered in white gravy.
- Parmo is popular in north-east England, particularly Teesside; it is covered in bechamel sauce and served with chips and salad.
- (Cotoletta alla) Milanese A dish very similar to the Wiener schnitzel, but fried in butter instead of vegetable oil.
A Wiener schnitzel served in Carinthia, Austria
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- Cotoletta alla milanese – breaded veal cutlet
- Karađorđeva šnicla – a kind of cordon bleu
- List of veal dishes
- American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, s.v.
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