Wednesday, 16 February 2011


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.


Serves 2

2 pork loin fillets
2 cloves of garlic
1" piece of ginger
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 egg
Plain flour
Panko breadcrumbs
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.


aforkfulofspaghetti said...


Now I want tonkatsu for lunch. Or now, even. And I haven't got any pork loin in the house. *waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!*

Great step-by-step guide to awesome tonkatsu. But grrrrrr atcha for giving me a tonkatsu craving. This time I'll leave out the 57% proof sake ;)

Food Urchin said...

Is this similar to the cutlet that you have with katsu curry? Is the clue in the name?

I'm raaabish when it comes to Japanese food.

Looks lovely.

Mr Noodles said...

Mmm. You've got to smother this in cheap Japanese curry sauce!

Food Urchin - 'ton' means pork and 'katsu' refers to the style i.e. deep frying in breadcrumbs, so yes it is the same katsu that you see served with curry.

The Viking said...

Oh good lord. This has gone straight in to #1 on my list of "Things I Must Have In My Face, Now".

Looks absolutely stunning! :)

A BRIT GREEK said...

It' dinner time and I am just drooling and imagining the crunch out of the pork! Yum!


Dan said...

You made it look and sound amazing.
I have never heard of this dish but boy do I want to try it now.

Not sure whether I'd put barbecue or sweet and sour sauce on it though.

tori said...

Oh my. That would be a very, very special sandwich indeed. Live and learn...?

An American in London said...

I eat pork katsu curry *a lot* for lunch (Tsuru's is nearby, fast, tasty and inexpensive). But your homemade one looks great.

Have you ever tried those ready-made curry cubes at the Asian supermarket?

They're super fast to make, and often at home, I'll just dump potatoes and carrots in and eat it with plain white rice.

I'm picturing that curry with your homemade tonkatsu . . . yum.

Gourmet Chick said...

Am addicted to Tsuru's Katsu curry so this looks like a great way to replicate it at home. Sensational Lizzie!

Anonymous said...

It is remarkable, very valuable piece

Debs @ DKC said...

Tonkatsu pork, one of my favourite japanese dishes.

If you fancy making your own tonkatsu sauce next time, here's my recipe Deb's tonkatsu sauce recipe

BTW love the idea of the rice too!

The Grubworm said...

There is something so deeply satisfying about Tonkatsu, it's like the burger of Japanese cuisine in that it's simple, very tasty and can inspire the most intense of cravings when you can't get it.

I think the only thing that I'd add to the dish is to beat an egg and drop it over the steaming rice and hot pork. Delicious.

Helen said...

Deep. Fried. Pork.

That is all.

Wendy@The Omnivorous Bear said...

Oh dear.... that soup I was planning on having tonight doesn't seem half so appealing now. Deep fried pork? I'd never considered it before and now I want some!

Liz said...

Just discovered your site Lizzie - and love it, not least because Hollow Legs was what my Dad always called me and I'm a Liz too. I love this recipe and the tip about cheats tonkatsu sauce - there a piece of pork lurking in my freezer - sooo....