It’s amazing that I haven’t made a tonkatsu recipe, considering how tasty and easy this recipe is… But it’s better late than never, right?
Tonkatsu is a delicious Japanese dish consisting of a pork cutlet that is breaded in panko and fried, rice, and some kind of vegetable side (like cabbage salad, pickled veggies, etc). Sometimes, tonkatsu and egg are put on top of rice, making it a donburi. Nonetheless, tonkatsu is a popular deep-fried dish that many have come to adore, and is super easy to make!
For tonkatsu, the breading of choice is panko, but not just any panko– nama panko! For those that don’t know, nama panko is more moist than its usual dry counterpart and really helps tonkatsu cook for that beautiful double-fry technique without burning beforehand. You can try to find it at the Asian grocery stores (I haven’t had much luck finding it), using a food processor to grind a fresh loaf of Japanese bread (no crust), or sprinkling/spraying some water and mixing it into regular panko breadcrumbs. Personally, lightly spritzing water on regular panko was the easiest, so that’s usually what I go for.
For my veggie sides, I decided to make a simple cabbage salad and garnish with a tomato and some cucumbers. Refreshing vegetables (and fruits) really help with deep-fried foods so your tongue doesn’t get too saturated with oil.
Before you even dip and bread your pork loin, make sure that you tenderize it first! Tenderizing your meat causes it to break down and results in a more palatable and tender product 🙂 If you have a meat tenderizer, remember one thing: wrap the meat in some saran wrap or plastic before you start whamming away! You don’t want to get any meat particles stuck in the mallet, which can then fester in there if it’s not properly washed. Ew!
If you don’t have a meat tenderizer, no problem– you can just beat it up with the back end of your knife. Just be careful with the pointy end of your knife, though!
Once you’ve done all your prep work, you can flour, egg, and bread your tonkatsu, fire up your oil… And get ready to have a wonderful, tasty entree!
- 2 pork loins
- 1 egg
- ¼ c flour
- 1½ c panko
- Deep frying oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Vegetable side dish (pickles, cabbage, etc)
- Tonkatsu sauce
- Digital thermometer
- Moisten panko (see notes). Set aside.
- Take a saute pan or wok and heat up about 1 in of oil. The oil is ready when a wooden chopstick has bubbles around it when inserted or your thermometer reads 350 F (176.7 C).
- Prep flour, egg, and panko in separate bowls. Season flour and panko and set aside.
- Wrap pork in plastic and tenderize.
- Take out pork from plastic and put in flour, egg, and bread. Set aside on a clean plate.
- Prepare another plate lined with paper towels for tonkatsu.
- Check oil temperature one more time and adjust as needed; when ready, put in pork.
- Cook pork on both sides for 1 minute each, then transfer to paper towel plate.
- Let it rest for 3-5 minutes before deep-frying once more, then deep fry for 1 minute each on both sides. Set aside on paper towel plate again.
- Check if the pork is ready; with a chopstick, poke the meat and if clear liquid seeps out, it's OK. If you have a thermometer, it should register at 145-160 F (62.7-71.1 C).
- After it has rested for another 5 minutes, cut into 3 big chunks, let it rest for a minute more before cutting in between once more for smaller slices.
- Serve with rice, veggies, and tonkatsu sauce (optional). Enjoy!
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