DIY Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlet)
with Shredded Cabbage Salad
fried food is not good for you - no debate there, but if you’re anything like me, you still crave it from time to time. Frying at home really forced me to really understand exactly how much oil is required, how much breading, salt etc - make me face all those food demons head on, rather than ordering it at a restaurant, where it’s easier to not think about what really went in to the process. I’m not saying I skimp on any calories, but I feel better having more awareness of what was required to create this lovely golden crispy treat!
1. Take your boneless pork loin chops, mine were 3/4 inch thick. Place them on a cutting board and use a knife to tenderise the meat. I gently whack at the meat along diagonals, scoring the meat on both sides but not piercing it through.
2. To make your breading station, put flour on 1 plate, a raw egg lightly mixed on another plate and Panko flakes on the last plate. Start by coating the chops in flour, shaking off any excess flour, then egg, then panko flakes. Leave the coated chops in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to help the breading stick to the meat when frying.
3. Heat up 1-2 inches of oil in a pan. I used peanut oil - you must use an oil with a hot smoke point (like vegetable oil, not olive oil). I used a medium sized sauce pan, because it requires less oil. Stick a chopstick in the oil, when bubbles form around the chopstick, the oil is hot enough.
4. Gently put the pork in the oil, being careful not to burn yourself! Cook for about 7 minutes or until you see a golden crust forming. Flip once after 3-4 minutes. I tend to take things out earlier than I think, because the breading will continue to turn golden out of the oil. Then sprinkle with salt. The pork needs to be cooked completely through.
5. Cut the cooked pork into 1 inch pieces! Yum!!
Disclaimer: This is not a totally authentic recipe, but it’s a survival recipe for when you have a craving and might not have access to special imported products…But, I found if you mix a combination of the ingredients below, you will get something close! Please use the amounts as suggestions that can be adjusted to your own taste.
1. Mix 2tbsp ketchup, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp dark soy sauce (for color), 1 tsp sugar, a dash of sake
2. Put all ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then let it cool.
Enjoy with pork!
Shredded cabbage salad:
I used a food processor to shred all the veg which makes this a super fast and delicious recipe.
1. Shred purple and white cabbage and carrots.
2. For the dressing, add sesame oil, sesame paste (or tahini), rice wine vinegar, a squirt of lemon, a blob of kewpie (Japanese mayo) and a dash ofsake and salt and pepper.
Mix and enjoy!