Tonkatsu is one of the most beloved “western style” Japanese foods in Japan. It is pork chop breaded with flour, egg, and Panko (bread crumbs), then deep fried. It’s not the healthiest food but rather comfort food. There are a lot of nice Tonkatsu restaurants in Japan, but it might be hard to find one in the US since it’s such a specialized store. Good news is, though, making Tonkatsu at home is very easy. Most of the ingredients in the recipe are easily found at US supermarkets. After all, it is a “western style” dish.
Panko (bread crumbs) we used here is Japanese, but most US supermarkets carry it. It is medium size bread crumbs and that is perfect for Tonkatsu. Italian bread crumbs are too fine and that doesn’t give crunch we want. On the other hand, coarser bread crumbs like fresh bread crumbs you make at home could absorb too much oil and might make Tonkatsu greasy.
Tonkatsu sauce is an important seasoning for Tonkatsu. Tonkatsu is good by itself, but Tonkatsu sauce completes this dish. The sauce is a Worcester-based sauce but much thicker. It is available at Japanese markets or online stores, but if you can’t find it, you can make it by mixing 1 part Worcester sauce and 2 parts ketchup (at least something similar).
Tonkatsu is almost always accompanied by thinly shredded cabbage. I don’t know exactly why, but probably it cuts grease of Tonkatsu or something…. Anyways! You’ll definitely see how Tonkatsu and cabbage complement each other if you eat them together!
There are a lot of variation of dishes you can make with Tonkatsu, too, such as Katsudon (Tonkatsu and eggs cooked in seasoned dashi over rice, yummy!), Katsu Sandwich (sandwich with Tonkatsu as filling, my favorite), and Kastu Curry (curry and rice topped with Tonkatsu, sinfully good…). Now you have so many reasons to make Tonkatsu. Just start with this recipe!
- 4 pork loin chops (about 1" thick, no bones)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1-2 eggs
- 1 cup panko or bread crumbs
- oil for deep frying
- Make small cuts all over pork chops with tip of knife. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of meat.
- Coat the meat with flour, dip in eggs, then cover with bread crumbs.
- Heat deep frying oil to 350 F, and deep fry crumb-covered meat. You can check the temperature by dropping a bread crumb. If it comes up to the oil surface right after it's dropped, it's good.
- Fry until color turns golden brown and meat floats in the oil, about 5-8 minutes, turning once or twice.
- Set the meat on a cooling rack for a minute. Cut into 5-6 pieces.