Pork tonkatsu is a deep-fried, breaded pork dish, very common dish in Japanese cuisine and generally comes in two types; pork fillet (ヒレ, hire) or pork loin (ロース, rōsu) cut. It goes well with Japanese curries or on its own with some lemon or tonkatsu sauce (you can get these at your local Japanese grocer). I opted for mayonnaise and english mustard for mine. This is the basic pork tonkatsu, using pork loin. First you dust the meat in flour, then in an egg batter and finally some Japanese panko breadcrumbs before frying them until golden brown. You can play around with the fillings using this concept, some restaurants roll up some sliced meats and layer them with cheese, mentaiko etc. to make tonkatsu, and those are amazing as well!
Ingredients (3 pax: 1 pork loin per pax)
- 3 pork loin cuts
- 1 beaten egg lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup of potato flour
- 3/4 cup or more of Japanese panko breadcrumbs (adjust as you see fit, I normally eyeball the amount and add when I feel that the loins could do with more breadcrumbs)
- enough cooking oil to submerge the pork cutlets
- In preparing the pork, remove the excess fat if you’re not a fan. If you like it then by all means leave the fat on. Either way, you will need to make several cuts on the side where the fat/tendon is. Make sure the fat/tendon is cut through in each incision made. This ensures that the pork does not curl up during the cooking process
- Next, use a meat tenderizer and pound at the meat on each side. It will flatten out a little after the pounding. Don’t go overboard as you might end up with pork shreds! Just enough pounding to ensure that the pork will be juicy and tender after cooking. Rearrange the pork back into its original shape (pat it back into shape!)
- Season both sides of the pork loin with some salt and pepper.
- Press the pork into the flour, lightly covering all surfaces of the meat, and tap off the excess flour
- Next, dip the pork into the egg mixture, lightly coating the pork in egg
- Lastly coat the pork in panko breadcrumbs. It should look like this when you’re done:-
- Heat up some oil in wok or a pot on high heat. Ensure that there’s enough oil to completely submerge the pork, otherwise it will not have an even colouring.
- Before placing the pork into the oil, test it with a pair of cooking chopsticks. Tiny bubbles should form around it, as shown in the following photo:
- Gently place your pork into the oil. It is very important NOT to overcrowd the pan as that again will lead to uneven colouring and the tendency to overcook the pork is pretty high. We all have moments where we think the heat is not high enough and end up leaving the meat to cook way longer than it should. Lesson learnt, do not overcrowd the pan so that the temperature remains high and food cooks as it should.
- Cook until the pork turns golden brown.
- Flip the pork once halfway through cooking so that the top part of the pork gets a chance to brown evenly too!
- Remove the pork cutlets and place them on a wire rack to drain off the excess oil.
- If you are going to make another batch of tonkatsu, make sure you skim off all the burnt bits from the oil before frying the next batch. Otherwise, other than uneven colouring on the next batch of tonkatsu, you risk burning them too. It’s not what I’d call appetizing 😉
- Slice it up and take a moment to appreciate that satisfying *cruncchhh*~ when you cut through the crispy golden layer.
Serve!! In Japanese restaurants, this is normally served with some steaming hot white rice, miso soup and some pickles with some lemon and sauce on the side. Along with a mountain of shredded cabbage. Makes you feel a lot better about all the deep fried food you’re about to have ;D
Er…. but the Malaysian that I am decided to serve it with a variety of other foods. Made a simple fried omelette dish, some deep fried breaded silverfish, stir fried green vegetables and my favorite garlic soy lamb!