Tonkatsu or fried pork cutlet is a popular dish in Japan. It is a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet sliced into bite-sized pieces, generally served with sauce, shredded cabbage and/or miso soup.
Tonkatsu is one of my favorite Japanese food. It is one of the items I used to love to order when I go to a Japanese restaurant. When I got a hold of Everday Harumi cookbook many years ago, I knew immediately I wanted to learn how to make tonkatsu. In her cookbook, Harumi shared that tonkatsu was so popular that she always made extra, in a variety of sizes, and freeze them for those occasions when she didn’t have much time to cook or she had more people to feed than anticipated. If you freeze the tonkatsu uncooked, you can take it straight from the freezer and deep fry, though the cooking takes a little longer.
Harumi Kurihara shared that to make the cabbage really crisp, she likes to cut it into fine strips and soak it in iced water. Tonkatsu is also one of my all-time favorite Japanese dish. I forgot to grab me some cabbage, which was really a bummer because I love it with shredded cabbage, mustard, and tonkatsu sauce. So, shredded carrots just had to take its place, though never the same!
Recipe is adapted from Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee’s Quick & Easy Korean Cooking
TONKATSU (4 servings)
- 12 oz green cabbage
- 4 of 5 oz pork shoulder steaks each about 1-inch thick
- Salt and pepper to season
- Flour-for coating
- 1 medium egg beaten
- Bread crumbs-for coating you can use panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs
- Cooking oil-for deep frying
- Tonkatsu sauce and mustard- to taste
Cut the cabbage into fine strips and soak in a large bowl of iced water for about 5 minutes, to crisp. Drain and put in a plastic food bag and refrigerate until ready to serve the tonkatsu
Make a few small cuts around the edges of each pork steak so they will cook without shrinking. Pound each cut of pork with heavy object (meat pounder or pestle will work). Season with salt and pepper
Cover each pork steak in flour, then dip in beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs
Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep saucepan. Check the temperature by dropping a few breadcrumbs into the oil-if they float immediately, it is at the correct temperature (340F)
Deep-fry each pork steak on medium heat until they are cooked through and golden brown. When cooked, drain on a rack or some paper towels to remove and excess oil. Slice the pork into bite-sized pieces and serve with a large heaping of crispy shredded cabbage on the side
Recipe NotesNOTES: It is normally served with a pat of mustard and some tonkatsu sauce. This sauce is usually store-bought and I would recommend you try to find it from a Japanese supermarket, because it is not easy to replicate the taste. Worcestershire sauce is an acceptable accompaniment if you cannot find tonkatsu sauce. My daughter loves it with Worcestershire sauce
You can also pan-fried the pork cutlet instead of deep-frying. It's not going to taste exactly the same, but the kids don't seem to mind eating the pan-fried version too
After making the tonkatsu, the next thing I yearned for was Katsudon, another one of my all-time favoritse EVER!