Monday, July 30, 2012

Tonkatsu, Japanese Fried Pork Cutlet

Tonkatsu is really just a Japanese fried pork chop. It all started at the Asian grocery store today, because I had no inkling that I wanted to make this until I saw this package of pork. The pork chops are boneless and very lean, to make sure they stay tender, they are run through a tenderizing machine by the butcher.  You could probably do it yourself with a mallet, or a Jaccard hand held unit.

The meat said "Pork for Tonkatsu".  That was very helpful to me, because it reminded me of a dish that I had in Japan, but couldn't remember the name! The recipe can't be easier; meat, egg, panko crumbs and salt and pepper.  Easy!  I found recipe that told you how to make the meat, but that you could buy the sauce at any Asian store.  Silly really, because the sauce was simple to make too. It's just a basic BBQ like sauce, sweet and tangy.  I think this would be a great meal for kids too, they will love everything about this!

Tonkatsu is traditionally served on a bed of shredded cabbage, I have no idea why, but it was a nice way to do it.  I tossed my cabbage with a little rice wine vinegar and some salt and let it wilt a bit before I started cooking the meat. Steamed rice would be great too.

Here's the sauce ingredients:

Serves about 3-4

1 lb pork steaks, tenderized, about 6-7 small pieces
1 egg
1 cup panko Japanese bread crumbs
Ssalt and Pepper

Sauce Ingredients
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground cloves, ground allspice and powdered garlic (if desired) 

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside while preparing the pork.

Season both sides of the pork cutlets with salt and pepper. Beat an egg, and put on a plate, or a low dish.  Have another dish for your panko crumbs.  Dip both sides of the pork in the egg, then immediately into the crumbs working until all pieces are coated.  Lightly pressing the panko onto both sides of the pork, if needed.

Over medium high heat, add about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil to a drying pan.  When the oil is hot, add the pork working in batches until you are done.  Cook until the outside is crispy brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.  I found that the pork cooks super quick.  

Drain on paper towels, then serve immediately.  You could also slice each cutlet into thin strips which makes it convenient for dipping into the sauce.

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