Tonkatsu is the Japanese-style pork cutlet, which is the popular deep-fried dish in Japanese home cooking and is also on the restaurant menu.
Typically, served with a savory tonkatsu sauce (also known as a bulldog sauce) and shredded Japanese sweet cabbage, in Japan.
Crispy Panko breadcrumbs and juicy pork and savory sweet-tangy tonkatsu sauce are no doubt about satisfying your family.
Nagoya-style “MISOKATSU” can’t be ignored by Japanese food lovers, it is also you can make at home.
Recently, Japanese pork cutlet has become popular all over the world as the topping on Japanese curry rice.
This delicious pork cutlet is absolutely super-easy to make, and I’ll tell you today the Tonkatsu recipe about how to make the pork chops tender and moist and how to make Panko crispier.
- What Does TONKATSU Mean?
- What Part Of Pork Is Best For Tonkatsu?
- Why Japanese Panko?
- The Perfect Sauces To Serve With a Japanese Tonkatsu cutlet
- How To Store The Pork Cutlet
- CAN YOU BAKE a Japanese Pork Cutlet?
- Easy-Crispy-Japanese-Pork-Cutlet-Recipe: Fried-TONKATSU-Baked-TONKATSU
What Does TONKATSU Mean?
As I said, pork cutlet is called TONKATSU in Japanese.
In breaking down the term TONKATSU, “Ton” refers to pig or pork in Onyomi (Chinese reading), and “KATSU” refers to the Japanese dish that the deep-fried food coated with Panko.
TONKATSU is made of pork loin called “Rosu KATSU” and the one made of pork tenderloin is called “Hire (or Here)” KATSU.
TONKATSU in skewers is called “KUSHI-KATSU” and MISOKATSU as I said refers to Tonkatsu served with MISO sauce.
By the way, TONKATSU sauce refers commonly to a type of Japanese Worcester sauce which is a thick sweet sauce compared with the standard one.
What Part Of Pork Is Best For Tonkatsu?
To make Japanese pork cutlets, you can use either boneless pork loin or tenderloin.
Pork-loin cutlet called Rohsu Katsu is generally juicy and meaty, which can enough fill your appetite.
Generally, the authentic Japanese rosu katsu remains a thick band of fat along the meat, and this fat brings the dish very juicy, sweet, and filling.
I normally buy an unsliced pork loin and slice pieces by myself into 1 inch.
I like fatty parts so I don’t cut off them, but you can trim them if desired.
Tenderloin cutlet called Hire Katsu is tender with a delicate flavor and makes people happy with its lower calories.
Make The Pork Tender
Since the pork dish is easily dry and chewy, I highly recommend marinating pork loin/ tenderloin meat with shio koji or the baking powder solution to tenderize and moisturize them which I explain in this post.
Trim and pierce the meat with a fork.
To prevent curling, warping, and shrinking, cut slits in the fat, especially, the line of the fat and the meat, with a sharp knife while placing one every two inches.
Brine the pork in the baking powder solution overnight, and marinate the pork with Shio-koji for 1-2 hours.
I don’t recommend marinating the meat with Shio-koji overnight to avoid them getting salty and dry.
I always store marinated pork chops with Shio-koji in a freezer for TONKATSU. In the freezer, koji mold stops working so the meat will not be salty.
The Heart Of Japanese Fermented Food, Koji Rice| How To Make Shio-Koji
“Shio Koji” aka Koji Rice, is an appealing fermented condiment, you can’t miss its tremendous health and cooking benefits in your life.
This mysterious condiment is deeply rooted in, Japanese culture, when you see Miso paste, soy sauce, Mirin, and Sake…, which are all made from Koji.
Not only Koji is it one of the raw materials, but also, it can be a sauce of various minerals and vitamins, and also it is often used as a condiment while adding rich Umami flavor.
It is often used to moisten and tenderize meat in Japanese cooking.
I am one of the cooking lovers who have been obsessed with Shio koji marinating.
In this post, I am going to tell you about the ultimate guide of “Shio Koji”.
Why Japanese Panko?
To make the authentic Japanese pork cutlet, choose Japanese Panko is a better choice, however, with home cooking, you can use Italian-style bread crumbs.
Today, Japanese Panko is available even in regular US grocery stores, so you can make Japanese Tonkatsu anytime you want if you store it in your pantry all the time.
Japanese Panko isn’t seasoned nor added other flavored ingredients. Since it is also not a small particle, which gives you a flakier, airier, crunchy texture.
So, for deep-fried dishes, Japanese Panko provides a more enjoyable texture than small particle bread crumbs.
If you’re looking for super-crispy, good quality, and excellent price, go for this Kikkoman Panko on Amazon.
I’ve tried several Japanese-style Panko overseas, this is THE BEST so far.
Authentic Japanese Panko and super-crispy without any effort. (Just be careful not to cut inside your mouth. lol)
Fresh Japanese Bread Crumbs
Using fresh bread crumbles can provide a restaurant-grade TONKATSU-a nice airy crunchy texture.
Since the fresh bread crumbles contain water and make spaces in the bread crumbs while evaporating in the oil, the coating will be light, airy, and crispier.
To make fresh breadcrumbs,
grate (or use a food processor) a piece of bread getting dried and hard, or frozen.
If possible, choose bread made of simple ingredients with flour, salt, and water.
MOISTEN PANKO FOR MAKING IT CRISPY
Yet, you can get dried Panko closer to the fresh bread crumbs by spraying water.
Here’re the tips when using dried Panko.
- Spray water on Panko a few times.
- Leave it for 5 minutes. (You can see Panko absorbs moisture)
You can also spray water after coating the pork.
The Perfect Sauces To Serve With a Japanese Tonkatsu cutlet
Japanese Worcester sauce (ウスターソース) is a most typical sauce served with deep-fried dishes including tonkatsu.
It is made from a base of a variety of raw materials and has a rich natural sweetness unlike the original Worcestershire sauce and tangy flavor.
Japanese Worcester sauce called Tonkatsu sauce is thick, rich, and full of flavor, made for especially, deep-fried food.
My homemade Tonkatsu sauce recipe is super-easy to make with simple ingredients.
For the recipes, please check out this post which provides Miso sauce, easy Japanese Aurora sauce, and Tartar sauce recipes.
You don’t have time to make homemade sauce???
Bull Dog Tonkatsu Sauce is definitely the most popular brand.
You can use other Japanese dishes such as Yakisoba noodles, Yaki udon.
How To Store The Pork Cutlet
This dish will keep in the refrigerator for up to a few days.
Reheat on a baking sheet in a hot oven (400 F) for a few minutes.
You can also freeze pork, individually wrapped then stored in a freezer bag.
If your cutlet will not get crispy, you can cook the pork cutlet with an egg and Japanese sweet Dashi broth which is called “Katsuni”.
The dish that Katsuni on rice is called “Katsu Don”.
This is the OYAKODON (chicken & egg on rice) recipe, yet, you can still make KATSUNI / KATSU-DON using this recipe.
You can top TONKATSU on Japanese curry rice, this dish has been already known as “KATSU CURRY”.
Japanese curry is easy to make when using Japanese curry mix cubes.
For the Japanese curry mix guide, check out this post later.
CAN YOU BAKE a Japanese Pork Cutlet?
Yes, you can!
Pan-fry Panko without oil until they turn golden brown.
Make sure to continue stirring since they easily burn.
Simply, proceed to the dredging process with fired Panko.
Bake the pork cutlet in the oven at around 420F for 15-20 minutes.
- ½ lb Born-less pork loin chops/ tenderloin
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
For Making Batter
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup wheat / rice flour
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup Japanese Panko bread crumbs
- Spray of water
- Gather Ingredients. To make fresh Panko, grate (or use a food processor) a bread getting dried and hard, or frozen.
Prepare The Meat
- (Make the meat tender and moistend)Trim the meat if needed. (For The Tenderloin) Trim any excess fat and silver skin. Slice up ¾-inch-thick pieces across the grain. Pierce the meat with a fork on both sides. Brine the meat in the baking powder solution overnight or marinate the meat with shio-koji for 1-2 hours. To make the baking powder solution, mix 1 tbsp of baking powder and ½ tbsp of salt in 2 cups of water. Marinate the meat with 10% shio koji of the meat weight. Check out this post about these tips to make the meat tender.
- Remove the meat from the baking powder solution and dry them with paper towels. Wipe the shio-koji off if desired, but it is not necessary.
- (For Pork Loin) To prevent curling, warping, and shrinking, cut slits in the fat, especially, the line of the fat and the meat (the connective tissue), with a sharp knife while placing one every two inches.
- Lightly pound the meat with the back of a knife/ mallet. Make the meat into the original shape with your hands.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides. *When using Shio-koji to tenderize the meat, skip the salt.
Dredge The Meat
- Spray water on dried Panko to moisten them lightly. Do this process first so the Panko will be moistened.
- Make batter. Make batter. Combine the flour (wheat/ rice), the water, and 2 eggs thoughtfully, with a whisk.
- Dredge the pork in the batter mix and shake off any excess. Coat with the wet Panko. Be sure to stick Panko with the meat while pressing enough. Arrange them on a baking pan / large platter.
- Make sure to let the coated meat for about 5-10 minutes to set the Panko.
Cook The Meat
- Add the vegetable oil to the pot and bring it to 340ºF (170ºC) over medium heat. When dropping excess panko into the oil, it goes down and then up quickly, which means the temperature is ready to fry.
- (For The Loin) Deep-fry the meat for 3 minutes until golden brown. (For The Tenderloin) Deep-fry the meat for 3 minutes until golden brown.
- (For The Loin)Turn the pork over and keep frying for about 2-3 more minutes or until cooked through. (For The Tenderloin) Turn the pork over and keep frying for another minute.
- Place the deep-fried pork on the wire rack to drip off excess oil. Also, let the cooked pork cutlet for about 5-10 minutes rest.
- Slice up each tonkatsu and drizzle the tonkatsu sauce/ Miso sauce over the tonkatsu before eating. Enjoy.
For The Tonkatsu Sauce
- For 4 kinds of dipping sauces for Japanese pork cutlet, read this post.