The other day, I wrote about Japanese Curry being an example of yōshoku, Western food reimagined for the Japanese palate. Today, I’m covering another prime example of a yōshoku dish—one that’s as Western as they come—tonkatsu.
Tonkatsu (pronounced “tone-KAH-tsu”) is a thin pork cutlet that has been breaded in light, flaky panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Tonkatsu is typically served with shredded cabbage and rice, along with a fruity katsu sauce. While it’s already delicious on its own, katsu is often combined with other dishes such as soba or Japanese curry, and it’s even used in sandwiches!
For my version, I opted for the low-mess cooking method of oven-frying. (If you’ve followed this blog for long, you know how much I love this splatter-free way of cooking!) To go with it, I’ve served my mom’s homemade katsu sauce recipe, featuring ingredients that you already have in your pantry. You can drizzle this bright, rich sauce right over the top of your katsu, or you can serve it on the side as a dipping sauce.
Want a new spin on a classic Western dinner? Try this out tonight!
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 TBSP black peppercorns
- 1 cup ice
- 1 lb pork loin, cut into 1/2” thick slices
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- A pinch of ground red pepper
First, make the brine by combining the water, salt, brown sugar, and peppercorns in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and pour in the ice to help the brine cook down. Cool completely, then pour over the pork cutlets in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Seal the bag, then refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Pour the oil into a 9×13 baking dish; set aside. Drain out the brine, and pat the cutlets fry with a paper towel. Lightly dredge the cutlets in flour, then dip them in the beaten eggs, then coat them with the panko before placing them in the pan. Brush the tops lightly with oil before putting the cutlets in the oven. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145F. Remove the pork to a rack to drain, cover, and let rest for 3 minutes before serving.
To make the sauce, combine the ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, Worcestershire, black pepper, and red pepper in a bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Serve with the tonkatsu, and refrigerate any leftovers.
Makes about 4 servings.