Pork Katsu was one of the dishes I always recommended to those who had been dragged to a Japanese restaurant but were fearful of trying this new-to-them cuisine. Also known as Tonkatsu this is a simple Japanese style breaded pork cutlet served with katsu sauce. Katsu sauce was the original predecessor to ketchup.
Pork Katsu (Tonkatsu) is one of those recipes that is perfect for those timid of Japanese cuisine. When I worked at a sushi bar many years ago, it was one of the favorite items for guests who would not touch sushi. They wanted to have a good time with their sushi lovin’ friends or family without joining them in eating it. Teriyaki was my other Japanese dish suggestion for them.
What is Pork Katsu / Tonkatsu?
The dish is very simple, fried pork cutlets which have been pounded thin and coated in Panko bread crumbs then served with tonkatsu sauce. Tonkatsu sauce (katsu sauce) is a zesty ketchup, American ketchup was actually based off of similar Asian sauces. The cutlets are usually pre-cut as shown when serving.
How to Make Pork Katsu
I used slices of pork loin, which I pounded out between sheets of parchment paper, with the bottom of a heavy skillet. If you have a meat pounder feel free, but I’ve never personally seen the need for one cluttering up my drawer, when whacking meats with a pan is not only effective, but rather satisfying. They are then dredged just as you would any standard cutlet and coated in Panko crumb. The Katsu sauce is also easily made from common pantry ingredients, and suited for wide appeal. Serve with some steamed rice, veggies and some green tea or saki, for a fun Japanese night in, that won’t take anyone out of their comfort zone.
While the katsu sauce goes great with these breaded pork cutlets, if you prefer something creamier try my Japanese hibachi Yum Yum sauce with them.
- 1 pound of trimmed pork loin
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 cups Panko crumbs
- oil for pan frying
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbs low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp mustard regular bottled mustard
- 3 tbs honey
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Cut loin into 4 medallions, then lay between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound thin. (The cutlets will be about 2 1/2 times the original diameter once pounded out)
- Beat the eggs in medium size bowl with milk and a pinch of salt and couple grinds of fresh pepper.
- Set up a bowl of flour on one side of wash and large shallow one for Panko crumbs on the other side.
- Dredge the pork cutlets in the flour and gently shake off excess, then do same with egg wash, finally lay out cutlet in panko and cover with crumbs, very gently press down to ensure adherence. Set aside to fry.
- Pour oil in large skillet about a half inch deep and bring heat to med-high. Once hot place in first cutlet (you will probably only be able to cook one of these cutlets at a time, two at most).
- Once edges start to show color (about 4 minutes), turn the cutlet and fry an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove to paper towel lined plate or cooling rack. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
- While cooking, or prior to starting, whisk together the Katsu sauce ingredients & reserve in refrigerator.
- Cut the pork katsu cutlets into slices about a 1/2 inch thick to serve. Sauce can be drizzled on or used as dip.