What is Tonkatsu? 

I very rarely eat pork, only as sausages or thesedays in Japanese pork cutlet form. I’m afraid I have an addiction. It’s just like fried chicken! It’s Tonkatsu.

So what is Tonkatsu? – Its a pork cutlet which has been made thinner by hitting it with a wooden or metal meat mallet also know as a tenderiser. The pork is coated in special breadcrumbs called “Panko”, before being shallow fried. Traditionally the cutlet is dowst in a puddle of Tonkatsu sauce which mainly contains Worcester sauce, served alongside steamed rice, a cabbage salad drizzled with a tangy salad cream and miso soup. Due to the ever growing popularity of Tonkatsu, their has since been many variations of the dish. Chicken or beef are common substitutes for pork, favourably being served with Japanese vegetable curry. Whilst in Korea, there is of course alot of access to Japanese cuisine including pork cutlet resturants. Some notable cutlets are: cheese cutlet, fish cutlet, cutlet with tteokbokki and the Autumn edition of sweet potato cutlet. Spicy tonkatsu is one of my favourites, as it’s based around the original recipe but with chilli added to the sauce. Chicken katsu curry and tonkatsu omurice are mouthwatering!

It can be a little tricky to make homemade tonkatsu. You can have all the authentic ingredients required to produce the dish, but making the pork taste…well…less ‘porky’ and more like chicken for you to be able to taste the breadcrumb coating and sauce well can be a little difficult.

Here is a recipe which I used. I have adapted it to make it taste more alike the pork cutlets which I have eaten at restaurants or had as delivery food:

Ingredients for the pork cutlet – (serves 2):

  • 2 boneless Pork loins or tenderloins.
  • Grounded black pepper.
  • Salt.
  • 2 large eggs, or 3 medium eggs.
  • Plain flour.
  • Panko breadcrumbs.
  • Vegetable or canola oil.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • Worcester sauce.
  • Tomato ketchup.
  • Soy sauce.
  • Mirin.
  • Sugar.
  • Dijon mustard.
  • Garlic powder.

Recipe:

  1. Wash the meat and trim as much fat as possible if necessary.
  2. With a sharp knife make several scores on both sides of each pork loin. If the pork is thicker than 1cm, you can speed up the cooking duration by making the pork thinner with a tenderiser.
  3. Season the pork with black pepper and salt.
  4. Coat the meat with a dusting of plain flour. Gently pat off any excess flour to ensure there is a evenly thin distribution.
  5. Dip the loins into eggs that have been whisked.
  6. Cover the egg wash with the Panko breadcrumbs.
  7. Heat a frying pan containing a deep amount of oil. Shallow frying isn’t suitable. The breadcrumbs will burn and the meat will be undercooked.
  8. Carefully place the cutlets into the boiling oil. Two loins at a time is safest.
  9. After 3-4 minutes turn over the loins. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  10. The meat shouldn’t take longer than 8 minutes in total, being turned once or twice until golden brown.
  11. Rest the cutlets on a cooling rack for a few minutes; this will also allow excess oil to drain off.
  12. Whilst allowing the cutlets to cool, prepare the sauce. If you don’t want to make Tonkatsu sauce yourself, it can be brought ready made online or at well stocked Asian supermarkets. Combine 1/3 of a cup of tomato ketchup, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of mirin, 1 tablespoon of sugar or sugar substitute, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Mix well, ensuring no lumps remain.
  13. Place the cutlets horizontally. Cut into 5-6 vertical strips, perfect for being able to pickup with chopsticks.
  14. Present on a plate, pouring some sauce onto top of each cutlet. Accompany with a small dome of steamed white rice, and shredded cabbage drizzled with salad cream. Toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on the dish is optional.

2 thoughts on “What is Tonkatsu? 

  1. That’s one issue I have with making homemade tonkatsu is trying to make it taste less “porky” 😦 I’m not a big fan of pork to begin with and I usually opt for chicken katsu, but I enjoy tonkatsu from restaurants. And your tonkatsu with rice cakes looks delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

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