Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tonkatsu (Japanese deep-fried pork cutlets)

My mother is an excellent cook (whose mother isn’t, right?), who grew up in Japan… and thus we grew up eating Japanese meals every night. One of the meals we ate was this dish called “tonkatsu”, which is Japanese deep-fried pork cutlets. The thin-sliced, boneless pork chop is seasoned with salt & white pepper, covered in flour, dipped in egg, and placed in panko (Japanese coarse) breadcrumbs . Then it is deep fried for a few minutes, drained on paper towels, and cut into strips. Tonkatsu is usually served over a bed of shredded cabbage, and accompanied by Japanese (sticky) rice, Tonkatsu sauce (a thick Japanese Worcestershire sauce using pureed apples as the primary ingredient), and miso soup.

Tonkatsu can also be eaten in various ways- It is popular as a sandwich filling (katsu-sando), served on Japanese curry (katsu curry), and served with an egg on top of a bowl of rice (katsu-don). The meat can also be substituted with chicken (chicken katsu). Any way you make it, it is delicious, and such an easy and tasty alternative to Western fried pork chops. The key to this meal is the Japanese Panko breadcrumbs and Tonkatsu sauce. Panko breadcrumbs tend to be lighter, crispier, and crunchier than Western breadcrumbs, and make excellent breading. Panko breadcrumbs can also be substituted for breadcrumbs in any recipe! They tend to stay crispier longer and absorb less grease. I’ve been able to find Panko breadcumbs in my ethnic aisle at my local grocery store, but the tonkatsu sauce can be found at an Asian supermarket. Any panko breadcrumb brand will be fine (I pay $2.50 for a fairly large bag), but you need to purchase the Bull-Dog Tonkatsu sauce, which can be found on Amazon or at your local Asian market. This is THE brand to buy (around $4-$5) and don’t skimp on this purchase… it is what makes the Tonkatsu so tasty!

Boneless pork chops (1.5 lbs), thin-cut (if not thin-cut, take regular chops and slice in half to make the chops thin or pound into ½-inch thickness)
White pepper
All-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
Panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil
Bull-Dog Tonkatsu sauce
Shredded cabbage (optional)

1. Begin heating your deep fryer or pan with a generous amount of oil (enough to deep-fry the pork cutlets) to medium heat (300-325 degrees F).
2. Season the pork cutlet liberally with salt and white pepper.
3. Flour the pork, ensuring to coat all sides. Shake off excess.
4. Dip it into the eggs.
5. Coat the pork liberally with the panko breadcrumbs, ensuring to coat all sides.

6. Place into the oil, and cook for 3-5 minutes. The breading around the tonkatsu should be golden brown and crispy on all sides.
7. Once cooked, place the fried pork cutlet on some paper towels to drain excess oil.
8. Cut into strips vertically, place on a bed of shredded cabbage, and top with Tonkatsu sauce. Serve with sticky rice.

Tip: What I like to do is an assembly line (from L to R): Seasoned pork chops, Flour, Beaten eggs, Panko breadcrumbs.

Yield: Makes enough for 2 adults


Anonymous said...

mmm ... one of my favorite dishes! I really miss the tonkatsu restaurants in Japan where you get to grind sesame seeds and add the dipping sauce at the table! I can't wait to try this at home!

katie said...

This looks so good, I will try it for sure.

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