Tonkatsu wouldn't be my first choice when at a Japanese restaurant. Often, there are more exciting dishes on offer; tempura, sashimi, udon noodles. But the craving took me and I wanted deep fried pork. Badly. The crunch of the breadcrumbed exterior, giving way to the juicy meat inside played on my mind all morning, and I impatiently waited for lunchtime.
A particularly thick loin fillet was butterflied to a heart shape. Deviating from tradition, I marinaded it in soy, ginger and mirrin overnight which gave the meat a fragrance uncommon in tonkatsu. Marinade brushed off, the meat was flopped into flour, slid into beaten egg, and the process repeated until it's final liberal peppering with panko breadcrumbs. This double egg and flour method ensures a nice thick and crunchy crust.
Simply drizzled with (bought) tonkatsu sauce and accompanied by spinach dressed with sesame sauce and some shichimi-dusted steamed rice, I was only annoyed I didn't have the foresight to make double; a tonkatsu sandwich would have been the best packed lunch ever.
2 pork loin fillets
2 cloves of garlic
1" piece of ginger
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp light soy sauce
Vegetable oil - enough for deep-frying
If the loin fillets are thick, butterfly them or bash with a rolling pin to make thinner. Place in a dish or a ziplock bag and cover with the mirin and soy sauce. Mince the ginger and lightly crush the garlic and add to the marinade. Leave overnight or at least for several hours.
Lay out a dish of flour, a dish of breadcrumbs and a bowl of beaten egg. Brush the garlic and ginger off the fillets. Dip the meat firstly in the flour, then the egg, then the flour and the egg again. Lastly, place in the breadcrumbs ensuring even coverage. Repeat with the other fillet. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok until shimmering - it's hot enough when a breadcrumb sizzles in it. Place the pork in the oil one at a time, cooking until you get a deep rich brown on each side - around 6 - 7 minutes. Place on a wire rack to drain while you cook the other.
Drizzle with tonkatsu sauce; if you can't get this, I reckon HP mixed with ketchup (a 2:1 ratio) would make a decent substitute.