September 9, 2020

Authentic Tonkatsu Recipe: Japanese Crispy and Crunchy Fried Pork Cutlet

Written by Kumiko Toya

Japanese families often eat Tonkatsu, particularly around competitions  and examinations. My mother always cooked me Tonkatsu for good luck, and now I do the same for my kids before their sports competitions and important tests. The lucky status of Tonkatsu came from its name, a homonym for the Japanese word katsu, meaning “to win”.

10 tonkatsu dinner 3

But superstitious reasons aside, Tonkatsu is simple yet so comforting and delicious!

tonkatsu 1

Tonkatsu is one of the most popular forms of yōshoku (Western food incorporated into traditional cuisine) in Japan. A thick slice of pork loin is breaded in flour, egg, and panko breadcrumbs, then deep-fried until crisp on the outside, and juicy on the inside. 

3-2 pankoJPG_2

💡 What is Panko?
The name panko translates to the Japanese word “breadcrumbs”. They are flakier in texture and coarser than regular breadcrumbs. Panko is used in Japanese-style dishes to provide a crispy coating to fried food. They have recently gained a popularity in the U.S. and can be found in most grocery stores.  

panko making
When you have left over crusts at hand from making fruit sando for example, you can make wonderful panko at home! Shred the crusts removed from a loaf of bread in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. You do not need to dry or toast the shredded crumbs! Just use it in recipes as is.

tonkatsu bento
Tonkatsu is a favorite food item for Japanese style bento, too.

cabbage shredded

Tonkatsu and a big pile of shredded cabbage are inseparable. The Vitamins and soluble fiber present in cabbage helps to maintain the health in the stomach. When eaten with deep-fried Tonkatsu, the cabbage aids in preventing heartburn and keeping the blood sugar levels stable. The refills of shredded cabbage are usually served free in restaurants when you order a Tonkatsu dish in Japan.

10-3 tonkatsu with souce_2

This week, we are sharing how to make a great Tonkatsu


4 Servings


4 Slices Pork Loin (around 1 inch thick)
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper 
¼ Cups All-purpose flour
1 Egg, beaten
1 Cup Panko breadcrumbs
3 Cups Canola oil, for deep frying

To serve:
½ Cabbage
4 Lemon wedges (Optional)

Tonkatsu Sauce:
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons Ketchup
Karashi (Japanese Mustard) or Dijon Mustard (Optional)

    1-2 sujikiri_21. Tenderize the pork loin with a meat tenderizer. Push the pork back into its original shape. 

2 pepper_32. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

3 koromo_2 3. Place the beaten egg, flour, and panko breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. 

4 flour_24. Dip the pork into the flour to coat. Shake off excess. 

5 egg only_25. Dip into the beaten egg, letting excess drip off, then dip into the panko breadcrumbs, patting to coat evenly. 

💡  Use one hand to run through the beaten egg and the other hand to coat with the panko breadcrumbs in order to avoid the egg-breadcrumb mixture caking onto your hands! 
  6-2 deep fried_26. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil to 330F to 340F (165C to 170C). Add the breaded pork to the skillet and cook until the underside is golden, then flip and fry the other side, about 3 minutes per side. 

7 drain the oil_2

7. Place on a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes to rest. 

8 shred the cabege_2 8. Use a knife or a shredder to shred the cabbage. 
    9-2 mixed sauce2_29. Combine the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl and whisk well to make the sauce.

10 tonkatsu dinner 510. Serve Tonkatsu on plates with a side of the shredded cabbage. Drizzle the sauce over the Tonkatsu before eating. Serve karashi (Japanese mustard) or Dijon mustard on the side if you prefer.

10-3 tonkatsu with souce_311. Enjoy!

    8 katsudon_2Don’t be shy about frying up extra Tonkatsu because you can make Katsudon the day after the Japanese feast!

💡For those who are unfamiliar with Katsudon, it is a hearty rice bowl dish in which rice is topped with sliced Tonkatsu, onions, and eggs in a sweet and salty sauce. The word “don” in Katsudon means “a bowl” and also all the meals served in a bowl. Don meals have many variations and one of the typical Don is “Tendon,Tempura on rice. Another is “Gyudon,” beef on rice. Don is so quick and tasty that it is called the fast food of Japanese cuisine.


2 Servings

2/3 Cups Water
½ Onion, thinly sliced
2 Tonkatsu
2 Eggs

Stock Mixture:
2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
1½ Tablespoons Mirin (Optional)
1 Tablespoon Japanese sake (Optional)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Wafu dashi powder (Substitutable to ⅔ cups of chicken stock. Use the chicken stock instead of the water if that is the case.)

Enough cooked Rice for two bowls

To garnish:
2 Shiso (Perilla) leaves or chopped Scallion


2 egg 21. Lightly beat the eggs. Avoid overmixing otherwise it will lose its fluffy texture. 

3 onion boil 22. Bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the sliced onions and simmer until the onions are tender.

4 add sock mixture 23. Add the stock mixture and bring to boil again. 
    5 add tonkatsu 24. Carefully place the sliced Tonkatsu on top of the onion.

5-2 add egg 25. Pour 2/3 of the lightly beaten egg around the Tonkatsu. Do not stir. Cook until the eggs are just about set but still slightly wobbly.

6-2 add egg 26. Add the remaining egg over the Tonkatsu. Cover and remove from the heat. 

7 lid 27. Wait for 30 seconds. (Wait for 1 minute if you prefer the eggs to be set.)

8-2 katsudon 28. Slide the broth, egg, and Tonkatsu out on top of a bowl of rice. Sprinkle with Shiso leaves or scallions and serve.

Tonkatsu Variations

Ebi Fryshrinp fri

Ebi Fry” (“Fried Shrimp”) is one of the most popular yōshoku dishes for kids! Preparation is the same as Tonkatsu

KushikatsuKushi Katsu-3 2

Kushikatsu (“fried food on a skewer”) is a very popular street food in the western part of Japan. Skewer any meat, chicken, or seafood of your choice along with some veggies and deep-fry, using our Tonkatsu instructions!  

Katsu Sandokatsu sando

Katsu Sando (“Tonkatsu Sandwich”) is another Japanese deliciousness taking advantage of  leftover Tonkatsu! Make sure the Tonkatsu is drizzled with sauce on both sides.


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