Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tasty Tonkatsu!

I find it very surprising when I tell people I love to make Japanese food, they recoil slightly and ask "isn't it all just raw fish?"
Japanese food does of course use raw fish many times, but I have learned from my experiences in Japan that they love meat, with many popular dishes in Japan being meat based. Just like today's recipe for Tonkatsu or breaded pork cutlet.
So to these people who ask if all Japanese food is raw fish I simply tell them to check out my blog recipes and see that there is a great variety available. (Oh shameless self promotion, how I love thee)

It looks so pretty...and tasty of course!

Tonkatsu originated in the late 19th century and was derived from the European breaded cutlet. The only difference being in the cooking method with the latter being deep-fried as apposed to shallow frying of the European version.

Served alongside a thick sauce, based on Worcestershire sauce, Tonkatsu is very popular in Japan with whole restaurants dedicated to this method of cooking. As well as being tasty, it is very cheap! A set meal-which includes tonkatsu, rice, miso soup, salads and some pickles-may only cost between ¥800-¥1000 or about €8.50! Bargin!

Tonkatsu is also very cheap to make here as there are very few fresh ingredients needed. The only expense will be in buying store cupboard essentials, but they will last a long time and have many other uses.

Very simple and straight forward ingredients

Serves 3-4

4 slices pork loin 1/2 inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Panko (Japanese bread crumbs), or fresh breadcrumbs
oil for deep-frying
Shredded cabbage
Lemon wedges (optional)

Tonkatsu Sauce ingredients

Tonkatsu Sauce
60 ml Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Japanese mustard (English mustard can work as a substitute here)
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, bruised

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes or until it is glossy and slightly thickened.

Also, if you find the taste a bit tart, add a little extra sugar to the sauce.

Method for Shredding Cabbage
1. If you are without a shredder, a simple substitute is available for shredding cabbage.
Cut cabbage in half
Remove the tough stem
3. Holding the cabbage in your non-dominant hand, tilt it to a 130 degree angle with the bottom resting on a chopping board.
4. With a knife, slice down the cabbage from top to bottom as thinly as you can manage.
5. Place in a bowl until ready to serve.

The knife should glide down the cabbage as if shaving it

Deep-frying Method
1. Slash the pork loin in a few places.

This stops the meat from curling when frying
2. Salt lightly and grind black pepper over both sides.
3. Dredge the loin lightly in the flour.
4. Dip into beaten egg

5. Press into the panko/breadcrumbs. Continue this with all cutlets and sit on a plate in the fridge for 15 minutes to settle.
Panko breadcrumbs are drier then fresh and give a delicate crispy coating

6. Bring about 3 inches of oil to about 175°C in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
7. Lay 1 or 2 cutlets in the hot oil and fry for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning evenly until golden brown. Drain the cutlets on paper towel.
Remember to take extra care when using hot oil

8. Slice the Tonkatsu into strips.

To Serve
Present the Tonkatsu fillet in its original shape on a plate, accompanied by a pile of shredded cabbage and lemon wedges.
The Tonkatsu sauce may be poured across the fillet, or pour it from a ewer into a small dish to be used as a dip.
Serve along side fresh hot rice and miso soup.

A Tasty Feast!

This dish is inexpensive, filling and so full of flavour. The Tonkatsu sauce adds an amazing depth to the pork cutlet, while the shredded cabbage acts as a refreshing salad with mild peppery undertones.

Let's make tasty Tonkatsu!



  1. Thanks Rob! I hope you give it a try and please let me know how it turns out. :)

  2. I was passing through different blogs and thought id just say hello. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa.

  3. I've had this in my fav family run sushi restaurant. Always wondered how it's done. Thanks Japanina!

  4. @Richard: Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you continue reading and enjoying tasty Japanese food.
    @Space Cadet: I'm so glad I could help you in showing how its made. I hope you give it a try yourself! Thanks!

  5. We just made tonkatsu tonight using this blog for guidance, it was super tasty and turned out amazing - just like in Japan! OIISHIIIII!! We made nabe too and would love for your suggestions in how to make a nice sauce foR one pot dishes :) lots of love, Marina and Michelle.

  6. http://pengencangpayudarakita.blogspot.com

  7. It looks great. Try out this recipe :)