Updated: Feb 3, 2022
Tonkatsu must be Japan's most popular meat dish. It's a relatively recent addition to the country's national menu having only become popular during the 1960's when pork itself became more widely available and affordable in Japan. The best place to eat tonkatsu out is at a specialist "tonkatsu-ya" restaurant where tonkatsu is always the main event. These outlets usually boast their own special panko breadcrumb formula and a house made tonkatsu sauce, a fruity brown sauce specially made for use with tonkatsu. Of course, you don't need to go out to eat tonkatsu. You can quite easily make this dish yourself. When I make this dish at home, I use pork loins. I like to use a thinner loin because it reduces the cooking time and makes it easier to produce a beautiful golden brown crust without the risk of undercooking the pork. Pork apart, the only other ingredients you need to make your own tonkatsu is some "panko" breadcrumbs, a couple of eggs and some plain flour. When I make tonkatsu, I usually make a batch for 3 or 4 meals - you can also freeze tonkatsu once you've coated them in breadcrumbs. In Japan, tonkatsu are invariably served with a pile of finely shredded cabbage and often some slice of tomato. Cabbage varieties in the UK seem to be a little tougher than those available in Japan so when I make tonkatsu here in London, I use shredded lettuce as a subsititute. When the tonkatsu gets to the table, the diner can choose to garnish with tonkatsu sauce, tomato ketchup or mustard. Many Japanese use all three!
If your mouth is watering at the prospect of a Tonkatsu and you would like to make your own, then take a look at my simple recipe below. For the Youtube tutorial just click Tonkatsu or scroll to the bottom of the page.
Happy frying! Kurumi XXXX.
(makes 4 tonkatsu)
4 boneless pork loins
80g / 2.8 oz plain flour
2 small eggs
100g / 3.5 oz panko, Japanese breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
vegetable oil for deep frying
season the pork loins with the salt & pepper (you only need a minimum of seasoning - the sauces do this work once the tonkatsu are ready to eat)
score the rind and flesh of the pork with a sharp knife to prevent the loins curling when they are fried
next, coat the pork lightly in the flour. break the eggs into a dish or pyrex and whick lightly. coat each loin in the egg and then in the panko breadcrumbs. ensure the loins have a even coating with no thin patches
fill a medium saucepan with 2 cm of vegetable oil and heat to 170 C / 340 F
deep fry two tonkatsu for about 2-3 mins on one side until a light golden brown. turn over and fry for a further 2-3 mins or until the tonkatsu is uniform golden brown. adjust the heat as you fry to prevent burning the breadcrumb crust
remove the tonkatsu and rest on some kitchen paper while you fry your next batch
serve with finely shredded cabbage or lettuce, mustard, tomato ketchup and tonkatsu/ brown sauce