Crispy and juicy Japanese pork cutlet, Tonkatsu, is definitely one of the most popular Japanese foods! This Tonkatsu recipe is so simple and easy and you can actually make the best Tonkatsu at home. I am sure everyone will love this food.
We love Tonkatsu!
There are also Tonkatsu fast food restaurants in Japan and it is absolutely delicious.
With this recipe, you can make it at home without having to go to the restaurant!
What is Tonkatsu? (meaning)
Ton means pork and katsu means Cutlets in English. Tonkatsu is pork coated with panko crumbs and deep-fried, and it is so crispy outside and juicy inside. In this article, I will introduce just easy basic Tonkatsu recipe, but there are other dishes that use Tonkatsu such as Katsu curry, Katsu don, and Katsu sand(sandwich).
There are so many Tonkatsu chain restaurants in Japan. If you have happen to go to one of the Tonkatsu restaurants in Japan, you will probably think “That was really delicious. I wish I had this restaurant in my country”, but you can actually make it with easy steps at home!!
Because of the amount of oil used when deep-frying, you might worry about your health. I don’t recommend eating Tonkatsu very often but when you eat please enjoy how delicious it is. I also recommend you eat Tonkatsu with a lot of vegetables! Because Tonkatsu is so tasty, you might want to eat more vegetables than you usually eat.
Important ingredients for Tonkatsu
There are two important ingredients when you eat Tonkatsu.
- Tonkatsu sauce
- Shredded Cabbage
I can say there are so many times you are served Tonkastu with Tonkatsu sauce and Shredded cabbage. This style is so classic and when you cook, you should have those two!
You can buy Tonkatsu sauce at Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.
3 Tips to make the best Tonkatsu
Tonkatsu is so easy and you can make it with simple steps. I will share 3 tips that you can use to make the best Tonkatsu that is the same as what you can eat at Tonkatsu restaurants in Japan.
Tip 1 : Dip in flour – egg – flour – egg
This step is so important! Usually when deep frying you dip flour first, then egg, then panko. But to make the best Tonkatsu, you should dip flour – egg – flour – egg – Panko to make it the best!
If you do this, your Tonkatsu will become so crispy and juicier than usual.
Tip2 : Low temp oil to high temp oil(Double fry)
Double frying is also super important! Because Tonkatsu meat (pork) is usually thick, if you add it into really hot oil, it will brown the outside but stay raw inside. However, if you deep fry it in low heat then fry again in high heat, the outside of the Tonkatsu will be nicely browned and the inside will be cooked perfectly.
I will explain this later in the recipe but you want to fry with low heat (160-170 degree celsius (320-338 F)) and then high heat (180 or 190 degree celsius (356-374 F)). This is the key!
What to do with the used oil after deep-frying
To make Tonkatsu, we have to deal with cleaning up cooking oil. You never should pour it down the sink. It is not good for environment and it will be solid and possibly cause plumbing problems.
There are three ways to deal with oil.
If you don’t mind, you can use the oil 2-3 more times. So it is actually really good to have an oil container. When you have to throw oil away, you can either use waste oil hardener or a Ziploc bag to seal and throw away the oil!
How to make easy homemade Tonkatsu sauce
When you eat Tonkatsu, Tonkatsu sauce is must!
I will use Tonkatsu sauce in this recipe, but I will explain easy homemade Tonkatsu sauce.
Simple Tonkatsu sauce Ingredients
Tonkatsu sauce needs 6 ingredients.
- Worcestershire sauce : 3tbsp
- Ketchup : 2tbsp
- Soy sauce : 1tbsp
- Mayonnaise : 1tbsp
- Sake : 1tbsp
- Sugar : 1tsp
Put everything into one bowl and mix them up so well.
This is it! Easy and simple Tonkatsu sauce is done.
Q&A Often asked about Tonkatsu
Here are the questions about Tonkatsu often asked!
Q: Can I make Tonkatsu sauce without Worcestershire
The best is to have Tonkatsu sauce. If you don’t have Tonkatsu sauce, I recommend you to make homemade Tonkatsu sauce.
But if you don’t have Worcestershire to make homemade Tonkatsu sauce, Here is the closest taste you can try!
Homemade Tonkatsu sauce without Worcestershire
- Ketchup : 5tbsp
- Soy sauce : 2tbsp
- Mayonnaise : 2tbsp
- Sake : 1tbsp
- Spice (ex. pepper) : 1 pinch
Put everything into one bowl and mix them up so well.
Ketchup has more sweetness than Worcestershire. So, Soy sauce and some spices such as pepper will help to make the closest Tonkatsu sauce.
Q: What type of meat Do I use for Tonkatsu
As I mentioned Tonkatsu means pork cutlet, Tonkatsu needs to use sliced pork loin.
In the US, there are so many local grocery stores sell this type of meat!
Q: What is the best side dish for Tonkatsu
The best side dish is Shredded Cabbage. Tonkatsu and Shredded Cabbage combo is the common for Japanese.
Tonkatsu is deep fried dish, so I recommend you to have a lot of vegetables together to balance out!
Q: If there is no Tonkatsu sauce? (substitute solution)
The substitute options are
- say sauce
- Tomato sauce
Try so many ways!
- 350 g thinly sliced pork loin for 2 people, it should be 300-350g
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour add more if you need.
- 1/2 cup panko HERE to buy Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs). add more if you need.
- 1 large egg(s)
- 2 cup neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc) for deep-frying
- Tonkatsu sauce I use this Tonkatsu sauce
- cabbage I used sugarloaf cabbage
- Gather all the ingredients
- Using a meat mallet and smash the pork to flatten to about 0.4 inch (1cm) thick. I didn't have it this time so I used my fist to flatten the meat over the cling wrap.
- Make small cuts at 0.8 inch (2cm) around the edge of the pork so that the pork won't curl up when it's fried.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper.
- Add egg to a mixture bowl and mix it well.
- Dip each slice of meat into the flour first and dust with extra flour. Then dip in the mixture bowl and dust the extra egg.
- Do the same thing again. Dip each slice of pork into the flour first, dust the extra flour. Then dip in mixture bowl and dust the extra egg.
- Cover the pork with Panko.
- Heat the oil to 160-170 °c (320-338 °F). When oil hits this point, gently put one pork cutlet in. Cook one at a time otherwise oil's heat drops dramatically. Fry each side for 2 minutes. After 4 minutes total, put it on the paper towel-lined wire rack.
- Second fry. Bring the oil to 180 or 190 °c (356-374 °F), then put pork in for the second time! About 30 seconds each side, once it gets golden brown color, then remove and drain on the paper-lined wire rack again.
- Slice the Tonkatsu you just made into 0.6 inch pieces (1.5cm) . Serve in your favorite style! Usually we have shredded cabbage on the side!
- Finally, put the Tonkatsu sauce over the pork.