Tonkatsu (Japanese pork schnitzel)

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The breaded, deep-fried crispy pork cutlet is one of the top 10 favorite dishes among Japanese people. Quite easy to make and served with a sweet fruity sauce, it is so delicious. Tonkatsu is also the main ingredient of Katsudon.

Ingredients

  • 2 x 200g (3.9oz) pork loin about 2cm (¾") thick (note 1)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1½ tbsp flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Oil for deep frying

To Serve

  • Shredded cabbage
  • Sprigs of parsley
  • Tomato wedges
  • Lemon slices/wedges
  • Bulldog tonkatsu sauce (note 4)

Instructions

  1. If there is connecting tissue separating red meat and a band of fat, cut the tissue every 2-3cm (1”). This will prevent the meat from curling when cooked. Lightly pound the pork to tenderize
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides of the meat.
  3. Coat the meat with flour, egg, then breadcrumbs.
  4. Heat oil to 170C (338F) (note 2) and fry the meat for 2 minutes. Turnover and fry further 1.5 - 2 minutes (note 3) until it becomes golden brown.
  5. Turn over again and fry for about 1 minute until deep golden brown, then put aside on kitchen paper.
  6. Cut each tonkatsu into 2cm (¾") wide strips.
  7. If you are making tonkatsu for katsu-don, go to Katsu-don instructions.
  8. Serve with shredded cabbage and Bulldog tonkatsu sauce.

Recipe Notes

1. I bought a pork loin chop that came with bones and removed the bones. The bones went to Dozer.
You could also use pork tenderloin as an alternative. Pork tenderloin usually comes in a long log shape. It is possible to cut it into short logs and make tonkatsu out of it but I sometimes slice the log 3cm (1¼") wide diagonally and make small medallion tonkatsu (see the photos of tenderloin tonkatsu in the blog).
The thickness can vary and if you are making tonkatsu for Katsu-don, I would recommend a thickness of about 1.5cm (⅝") or a bit less.

2. To check the temperature of the oil without a thermometer, use one of the following.
a. Drop small bits of breadcrumbs into the oil. The bits will sink half way and then come up with small bubbles around them.
b. Stick a pair of bamboo chopsticks into the oil. Small bubbles appear around the chopsticks and come up constantly.


3. If your meat is thicker or thinner, the time required to fry the meat will be longer/shorter respectively. If unsure, poke the tonkatsu with a skewer or a chopstick to see if clear juice comes out. Also, when the bubbles around the tonkatsu become smaller, it is usually cooked.

4. You can buy Bulldog Tonkatsu sauce at Japanese/Asian grocery stores. For more details on Japanese Bulldog sauces including sample photos, see my post, Yakisoba (Japanese Stir Fried Noodles).
If you don’t have store-bought tonkatsu sauce, you can make a similar sauce using Worcestershire sauce per below:

Mix 1½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 3 tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup, 1 tbsp soy sauce, ½ tsp sugar, and 1½ tsp finely grated apple. Put the mixture through the sieve to remove the apple bits and make the sauce smooth.

Category
Pork Schnitzel

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