It may surprise many to learn that not all Japanese food is healthy and Tonkatsu is a case in point. What is effectively a crumbed, deep-fried pork cutlet, tonkatsu is actually one of Japan’s favourite dishes.
A hallmark of youshoku cuisine (Japanese-style Western cuisine), tonkatsu is a very Japanese take on a Western schnitzel. In fact, other than the use of panko breadcrumbs, there is very little difference between the two! However, what really sets tonkatsu apart from its Western counterpart is how it is served. There are 3 traditional ways to enjoy tonkatsu (although there are, of course, other ways too). It can be served with just rice, shredded cabbage, mustard and tonkatsu sauce, it can be added to Japanese Curry Sauce to make katsu-karē or it can be used as a donburi topping called Katsudon. My personal favourite, katsudon is the epitome of Japanese comfort food, but no matter how you choose to eat it, tonkatsu is always delicious!
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Tonkatsu (Crumbed Pork Cutlet): Serves 4
- 4 pork shoulder steaks, 1cm thick
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup Plain Flour
- 1 cup Panko or stale breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 white cabbage
- 4 portions of cooked Japanese rice
- tonkatsu sauce
- Hot Japanese Mustard (substitute with English Mustard, if not available)
- First finely shred the cabbage and soak in a bowl of iced water for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly (I use a salad spinner) and refrigerate until needed
- In a large saucepan, heat your vegetable oil
- Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow cuts around the edge of each steak to prevent the meat from contracting when cooked
- Season the meat with salt and pepper
- Dredge the meat in seasoned flour and then dip into the beaten egg
- Dredge the pork in the flour again, followed by a second dip into the egg
- Cover in the panko breadcrumbs, making sure that it is completely coated
- Carefully add the crumbed steaks to the hot oil and fry on a medium heat until golden on both sides (about 7-8mins). Be careful not to burn it – you are aiming for a light golden colour
- Remove and place on absorbent kitchen paper
- Slice the pork into thick strips and serve with a generous portion of shredded cabbage and steamed rice. Serve the sauce and mustard on the side
Serve with: Tonkatsu is great served with Japanese Curry Sauce, as a topping for donburi (Katsudon) or, as in the above recipe, simply eaten with some rice, salad and tonkatsu sauce.