What’s for dinner tonight?
Tonkatsu (豚カツ) is quite the popular dish in Japan, and as it turns out it’s quite easy to make, so why not add it to your repertoire of immersion recipes? We have a version of this recipe using ingredients specific to the original version, but since we know some people will glance at the list of ingredients and say, “Well I can’t get my hands on those!” and use it as an excuse not to take a step further in their immersion, (and you know how we feel about that- NO EXCUSES) we’re going to include what I call a “small town friendly” version. So if you live in a smaller town without access to a Japanese market or you don’t feel comfortable ordering your ingredients online, we can help!
What You Need
- 1 loin pork cutlet (for veggies or vegans, we recommend MATCH® Meat Pork Alternative! Remember, no excuses!) You want your slices around 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick and about 4-6 ounces (115-180g)
- Panko (パン粉) Bread Crumbs, or regular bread crumbs will do just fine! (About a cup)
- Tonkatsu sauce. This is probably the only thing you will have difficulty finding. Most stores have an “international” section that includes Panko and lots of other sauces, but Tonkatsu might still be hard to find. You’re looking for “Japanese Pork Sauce”, but if you can’t find it, settle for just plain teriyaki, or another bbq sauce of your choice. (You can also mix bbq sauce with some soy sauce if you’re feeling adventurous.)
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- oil (for deep frying!)
What To Do
1.) Bring about 3 inches (8 cm) of oil to about 350° F/175° C in a heavy-bottomed pot or deep-fryer. (We have used a normal sized frying pan successfully, but have recently found the pans for cooking soups are fine too!)
2.) While that’s heating up, take out three plates (preferably with some depth) and put about a cup of flour on one plate, your two eggs on another (We just whip them with a fork on the plate), and the panko/Bread crumbs on the last one.
3.) Dip your pork (or animal friendly alternative) into the egg mixture and make sure to soak both sides. Then move to the flour and pat the cutlet onto the plate, turn it over, and make sure the whole thing gets covered. Move to the eggs again, cover the whole cutlet, and then finally plop it (gently) on the bread crumb plate. Roll that sucker around until it’s absolutely covered!
4.) Place your cutlet in the hot oil and “deep-fry” it until it’s a pretty and crisp golden brown, which takes about anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on it’s size.
5.) When it’s done, drain your cutlet on some paper towel. Slice crosswise at 3/4-inch (2cm) intervals into bite-sized slices that are easy to manage with chopsticks. Place on top of hot rice, add your sauce, and enjoy!
Boy, that was easy! Itadakimasu!
Learning Japanese At HomeOur goal for Kanji & Tea, aside from sharing our struggles and successes, is to help provide the everyday person with all the tools necessary to learn Japanese on their own through everyday immersion.
How did you learn your first language? Hands on and not through a text book! You listened, you watched, you absorbed. Well, what's stopping you from learning your second or third language that way? The answer is nothing.
You have everything you need to get started. All that's left is to just start.
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