Tonkatsu, Japanese deep fried pork cutlet

tonkatsu, Japanese deep fried pork cutlet

Tonkatsu is a typical Japanglish word - ton is pig or pork, and katsu derives from the word cutlet. Tonkatsu is one of the western-style Japanese dishes that can be classified as yohshoku. However, tonkatsu is so popular in Japan that there are even restaurants that only serve tonkatsu and similar items such as kushikatsu (bite-sized fried bits of pork and other things on a skewer).

One of the key ingredients for tonkatsu, or any breaded deep-fried item in Japanese cooking, is panko. In recent years panko has been adopted by the trendy world of cuisine, but it's not anything special - it's just dried bread crumbs. The thing that makes panko unique is that the flakes are bigger and crunchier than the kind sold by non-Japanese food manufacturers.

You can buy panko ready-made at Japanese food stores, or make your own. To make your own, take off the crusts of day-old good white bread. Flake the white part of the bread by hand, not the food processor, which would turn the bread into powder. Spread out the bread crumbs on baking sheets and dry in the oven at a very low temperature until the crumbs are thoroughly try - not colored, just crunchy. You can store this in tightly sealed plastic bags or containers for quite a long time.

Tonkatsu (Japanese deep fried pork cutlets)

This deep fried pork dish is one of the most popular Japanese meat dishes.

Prep time: 15 min :: Cook time: 15 min :: Total time: 30 min

Yield: 2 cutlets

Serving size: 1 cutlet


  • 2 pork chops or cutlets, boned, You can use the chop part, or use the filet part, whichever you perfer
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • flour, for coating the cutlets
  • about 1 cup panko or dried bread crumbs
  • peanut oil or other vegetable oil , for frying
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Trim the cutlets if necessary to get rid of any excess fat. (Note, some tonkatsu afficionados leave the fat on, but I like to cut it off.) Make small cuts all the way around the cutlet. This prevents it from shrinking and curling up when cooked.
  2. Lightly season the cutlets with salt and pepper. Dust the cutlets in flour, then dip in the beaten egg, coating the surface thoroughtly. Finally roll in the breadcrumbs.
  3. Heat the oil to medium heat, about 170°C / 340°F.
  4. Deep fry the cutlets in the oil, turning a couple of times, until golden brown. You can tell if it's done by poking it. If it feels firm, it's done. If it yields to pressure, then it's not done yet.
  5. Drain thoroughly. Cut with a sharp knife into slices while still hot.
  6. Arrange on a plate with finely shredded cabbage, and condiments to taste: lemon wedge, mustard (not the French kind, but the English kind - plain mustard powder that's been reconstituted with water), tonkatsu sauce (available at Japanese grocery stores) or steak sauce.
  7. A complete tonkatsu dinner is usually rounded out with a miso soup, some pickles and plain rice.

(For search engine purposes)

By Makiko itoh

Published: April 05, 2004

Type: Japanese, yoshoku, pork, meat, deep-fried

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