I had my very first tonkatsu (豚カツ) in the United States when I was in college, and I have been a fan ever since! Sure I love sushi and ramen and teriyaki and tempura and oh so many other Japanese foods, but I reserve a special place for good tonkatsu on a bowl of rice (katsu-don) in my stomach.
Tonkatsu is a Japanese version of Austrian schnitzel. Thin slices of pork loin, season with salt and pepper, dust with all-purpose flour, coated in egg and panko bread crumbs, and deep-fried until the skin is crispy and golden brown while the meat remains tender and juicy.
It is super easy to cook tonkatsu at home. If you can’t eat pork, you can even try tori katsu, which is a chicken version of tonkatsu.
Tonkatsu is a simple dish. We need thinly sliced pork loin, salt, pepper, all-purpose flour, egg, and panko bread crumbs.
2. Oil for deep-frying
Canola oil, vegetable oil, and peanut oil have a high smoke point and are suitable for deep-frying.
3. Tonkatsu sauce
We usually serve tonkatsu with tonkatsu sauce, such as Bulldog tonkatsu sauce. If your grocery store doesn’t have it, you can make a simple version of a tonkatsu sauce from Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup, and soy sauce.
4. Cabbage and lemon
You may also want to serve tonkatsu with shredded raw cabbage and lemon wedges.
How to fry tonkatsu
1. Cut the pork loin into thin slices
First, make sure to use thinly sliced pork loin. Most grocery stores sell pork loin with 1 1⁄2 inch thick. If you are lucky, your grocery store may sell thin-sliced pork loin, which is about 1⁄3 of the regular thickness, or about 1⁄2 inch thick.
If your pork loin is thicker than 1/2 inch, be sure to cut them into 1/2 inch thick slices before using. Alternatively, you can use a meat hammer to pound the pork loin into a thinner slice.
2. Season and coat the pork loin
Pat dry pork loins, season both sides with salt and pepper, then give a light dusting of all-purpose flour. Dip into beaten eggs, and coat with panko bread crumbs.
3. Fry tonkatsu
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a pot. Once the oil is hot, or about 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit), gently lower the coated pork into hot oil and fry until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
Set aside fried tonkatsu on a wire rack to drain excess oil. Rest for 10 minutes.
4. Serve tonkatsu
Cut tonkatsu into bite-size pieces. Serve with shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, and tonkatsu sauce.
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