The Germans are known for it, but the Japanese can do it too! In fact, they are actually even tastier.
Tonkatsu is a Japanese schnitzel. The schnitzel is rubbed with miso and then with flour, egg and panko. It is served with a delicious sweet and spicy tonkatsu sauce.
Chicken or pork can be used for the meat. In this recipe I use pork fillets, but you can also use a pork tenderloin. The schnitzel will then be a bit higher.
What is tonkatsu?
Tonkatsu is a Japanese schnitzel consisting of breaded and deep-fried pork fillet and is wonderfully crispy. It is often served sliced with tonkatsu sauce, rice and raw, shredded cabbage.
Where does tonkatsu come from?
This Japanese dish was inspired by the western pork schnitzel and the recipe has remained unchanged for over 120 years. The word ton means ‘pig’ and katsu is an abbreviation of katsuretu, derived from the English word ‘cutlet’.
How is tonkatsu prepared?
Tonkatsu is breaded with panko, a Japanese-style breadcrumbs made from soft white bread without a crust. Panko absorbs less oil when fried, so you get an airy, crispy layer like you get when you use tempura.
Deep-frying provides a crispy outside and a delicious juicy inside.
The sweet tonkatsu sauce completes the dish. You can buy the sauce in a bottle at the Chinese food store or the Japanese food store, but you can also make it yourself.
Tonkatsu with pointed cabbage
- 4 pieces pork fillet
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 2 eggs
- 80 gr panko Japanese breadcrumbs
- sunflower oil
- sesame seeds toasted
- 180 ml tomato ketchup
- 125 ml Worcestershire sauce
- 125 ml rice vinegar
- 125 ml soy sauce
- 80 ml mirin
- 75 gr light brown sugar
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 granny smith apple coarsely grated
- 3 tsp ginger finely grated
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch cloves
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp ginger finely grated
- 225 gr white cabbage thinly sliced
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
For the Tonkatsu sauce
- Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a saucepan and add 100 ml of water. Bring to a boil at medium heat while stirring.
- Turn the heat to low, add some salt and pepper and let it simmer for about an hour. Stir regularly until thickened.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the sauce to a food processor. Grind to a smooth sauce. Then add a dash of rice vinegar.
For the Tonkatsu
- Rub the miso on the pork fillets.
- Put the flour, eggs (beaten) and the panko in three different bowls. Dip the slices one by one first in the flour and then in the egg mixture. Shake off the excess and then dip into the panko. Press so to ensure that the piece is entirely covered with the same amount of panko.
- Then place the slices on a wire rack and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Put enough sunflower oil in a deep pan (preferably cast iron). The slices have to be completely submerged in the oil. Maintain a temperature of 170 °C.
- Lower the slices into the oil one by one and fry them for 4-5 minutes until they turn golden brown. Turn them occasionally.
For the white coleslaw
- Mix the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a small bowl.
- Place the white cabbage and the spring onion in a bowl. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss gently.
- Serve the tonkatsu with the sauce and salad. Sprinkle the entire dish with the toasted sesame seeds.