Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu - Japanese pork cutlet

Tonkatsu (豚カツ) is a cutlet of pork, breaded and deep fried until crisp and golden brown. While it’s become a ubiquitous cafeteria staple in Japan, there are many restaurants that specialize in tonkatsu and related dishes.

Maybe I’m just a total geek, but I’ve always been fascinated with tracing the origins of a dish. The journey of food can be epic and it often finds itself quite far from where it started. For Tonkatsu, it’s not entirely clear where the journey started, but most fried foods in Japan can trace their lineage to the 18th century, when the Potuguese introduced a dish, now known as Tempura to Japan.

Tonkatsu - pork cutlet dredged in flour

Tonkatsu has a crispy panko crust that seals in all the juices of the pork, which makes for a moist tender cutlet that’s almost reminiscent of an Austrian Wiener Schnitzel. The name Tonkatsu yields another clue as to its ancestry. Ton, means pork in Japanese, and katsu is an abbreviation of the English word “cutlet” (pronounced ka-tsu-reh-toh in Japanese). This suggests the dish could be a result of the American influence during the mid to late 19th century, which also happens to be around the time Tonkatsu first started showing up on menus in Tokyo.

Whatever its origins, tonkatsu’s popularity has spread all over Asia with regional variations, such as in Korea, where it’s known as donkkase (돈까스).

While Tonkatsu is typically served with a sweet brown sauce, my favourite way of having it is blanketed with Japanese curry. There’s something wonderfully satisfying about biting into a crisp golden piece of pork while savouring the sweet, spicy curry sauce encircling it.

Tenderizing pork for Tonkatsu

Since Tonkatsu is a simple dish that only has a few ingredients, the quality of the ingredients matters. In this case it’s crucial that you use a high quality piece of pork, otherwise you may end up with a tough leathery chew toy that you’ll end up feeding to your dog. I like to start out with a 1″ thick boneless center-cut pork chop (preferably of the Berkshire variety). Since this is a little on the thick side for deep frying, I give it a good whacking with a chefs knife, which tenderizes the meat while thinning it out.

The leftovers are great in sandwiches (with tomatoes and some shredded cabbage), and they also make great Katsudon (Tonkatsu with onions and eggs over rice).

Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlet)

4 center cut pork chops (1″ thick)
all-purpose flour for dredging
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
1 C panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
oil for frying

1/4 head of cabbage shredded on a mandoline (optional)
Tonkatsu sauce for serving (Worcestershire sauce can be substituted)

Shred the cabbage with a mandoline and soak in a bowl of ice cold water for at least an hour. This helps get the cabbage nice and crisp while muting some of the “cabbage smell”.

Prepare the pork by removing any extra fat or tough silverskin from the sides of the cutlet. Use a chef’s knife to tenderize the cutlets in a crosshatch pattern by using a drumming motion across the surface, then turning the meat 90 degrees and repeating. Do this to both sides of each cutlet until they are 3/4″ thick.

Salt and pepper both sides of each cutlet then dredge them in flour, making sure to get an even coat on the sides. The flour combined with the egg in the next step helps the panko adhere to the meat.

Get two shallow bowls and beat an egg in one, and add the panko to the other. Add 3/4″ of oil into a heavy bottomed pot and heat over medium heat.

Coat a cutlet in egg then transfer to the bowl with the panko. Shake the bowl to evenly coat the cutlet, then press on the cutlet to get a nice thick coating of panko. Flip and press on the other side then repeat with the rest of the cutlets.

Once the oil is at 340 degrees F, gently lower the tonkatsu into the oil, being mindful not to scrape too much panko off, while being careful not to deep fry your hand. Once the the cutlets are golden brown on one side, carefully flip them over and brown the other side. Continue cooking until the pork reaches 137 degrees F at its thickest part. Transfer to a paper towel lined wire rack and let it rest of about 5 minutes.

Letting the meat rest allows the internal temperature to continue to rise to around 145 F while allowing the proteins to relax, reabsorbing some of the juices so they don’t run all over your plate.

I like to serve my tonkatsu whole with steak knives, but you can cut them before plating if you prefer. Drain the cabbage and and serve alongside the tonkatsu with some tonkatsu sauce and rice.

  • http://hollyhadsellentertaining.com/ Holly

    My kids favorite is chicken katsu. We have a great low price restaurant here that makes a great salmon katso for like $8.95, a full set miso, side of sushi etc. The owner only raises the price when Ruth Chris raises the price on their baked potato.

  • http://hollyhadsellentertaining.com Holly

    My kids favorite is chicken katsu. We have a great low price restaurant here that makes a great salmon katso for like $8.95, a full set miso, side of sushi etc. The owner only raises the price when Ruth Chris raises the price on their baked potato.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    Nice looking tonkatsu! Tonkatsu is one of my favorites. It is hard to beat the simplicity of the juicy port cutlet with a crispy coating and a tasty tonkatsu sauce.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com Kevin

    Nice looking tonkatsu! Tonkatsu is one of my favorites. It is hard to beat the simplicity of the juicy port cutlet with a crispy coating and a tasty tonkatsu sauce.

  • http://www.shesimmers.com/ Leela@SheSimmers

    Thanks for such great tips. The history part is also very interesting. Good to know that Worcestershire sauce can be substituted for Tonkatsu sauce.

  • http://www.shesimmers.com Leela@SheSimmers

    Thanks for such great tips. The history part is also very interesting. Good to know that Worcestershire sauce can be substituted for Tonkatsu sauce.

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    This actually reminds me of what I consider a rare Southern Specialty: the pork chop sandwich. I can remember reading in Jane and Michael Stern’s Road Food (I think that’s where I read it) about a diner in Mt. Airy, NC (only about an hour from where we live now. A road trip to Snappy’s Diner is in order) where they make a fried pork chop sandwich very similar to your Tonkatsu preparation, minus the curry. They have a crazy old machine there–only one of its kind–called the “tenderator.” They run the pork cutlet through the tenderator, and it flattens it somewhat while making little slits all in the meat. Then, breading and frying, thank-you-very-much. And don’t forget the slaw!

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    This actually reminds me of what I consider a rare Southern Specialty: the pork chop sandwich. I can remember reading in Jane and Michael Stern’s Road Food (I think that’s where I read it) about a diner in Mt. Airy, NC (only about an hour from where we live now. A road trip to Snappy’s Diner is in order) where they make a fried pork chop sandwich very similar to your Tonkatsu preparation, minus the curry. They have a crazy old machine there–only one of its kind–called the “tenderator.” They run the pork cutlet through the tenderator, and it flattens it somewhat while making little slits all in the meat. Then, breading and frying, thank-you-very-much. And don’t forget the slaw!

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com/ maybelles mom (feeding maybell

    Its all about the katsu udon for my husband.

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com maybelles mom (feeding maybelle)

    Its all about the katsu udon for my husband.

  • http://www.eatshowandtell.com/ Howard

    No doubt one of my favourites, totally agree that it is awesome with a side of curry. In Australia they have been marketing moisture infused pork, I can imagine it going very well with this recipe!

  • http://www.eatshowandtell.com Howard

    No doubt one of my favourites, totally agree that it is awesome with a side of curry. In Australia they have been marketing moisture infused pork, I can imagine it going very well with this recipe!

  • http://www.inomthings.com/ ila

    uwao! that looks yummy.
    my mom always orders berkshire pork specifically for katsu! only, we eat it with daikon oroshi + shiso leaves + sweet & sour garlic sauce.

  • http://www.inomthings.com ila

    uwao! that looks yummy.
    my mom always orders berkshire pork specifically for katsu! only, we eat it with daikon oroshi + shiso leaves + sweet & sour garlic sauce.

  • http://tanglednoodle.blogspot.com/ Tangled Noodle

    I did not realize that tonkatsu and tempura have European antecedents, so ingrained are they in my mind as wholly Japanese dishes! The history of food migration is so fascinating.

    I was debating between chicken and pork for dinner but you have helped make up my mind! Off to the store for some chops . . .

  • http://tanglednoodle.blogspot.com Tangled Noodle

    I did not realize that tonkatsu and tempura have European antecedents, so ingrained are they in my mind as wholly Japanese dishes! The history of food migration is so fascinating.

    I was debating between chicken and pork for dinner but you have helped make up my mind! Off to the store for some chops . . .

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    you’re on a roll these days w/ cooking up the classics – tonkatsu, chop suey, teriyaki. god, one of our fave japanese restaurants does the BEST katsudon(i know, a bit more to it than a tonkatsu. i really only eat it in the winter though b/c the bring it out in these beautiful ceramic container w/ a lid. they put it in front of you, remove the lid and all the smells of the tonkatsu, egg, rice, deliciousness comes together. mmmm. i guess we’re on a fried meat wavelength!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    you’re on a roll these days w/ cooking up the classics – tonkatsu, chop suey, teriyaki. god, one of our fave japanese restaurants does the BEST katsudon(i know, a bit more to it than a tonkatsu. i really only eat it in the winter though b/c the bring it out in these beautiful ceramic container w/ a lid. they put it in front of you, remove the lid and all the smells of the tonkatsu, egg, rice, deliciousness comes together. mmmm. i guess we’re on a fried meat wavelength!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Love it. One of my first loves in the Japanese kitchen. For a while I called Tonkatsu sauce “bulldog sauce” because that was the more visible brand. I still think of Bulldog when I want tonkatsu sauce! (Though I buy a Korean brand, Ottogi- MUCH cheaper.) I think a mixture of ketchup and worcestershire is a generally recommended substitute.
    When I make mine, I follow the instructions in JC:A Simple Art, which calls for pounding the loin chop until it’s very thin. For nostalgia I cut up the cooked cutlet too, rearranging the cut pieces together so they don’t dry out :)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Love it. One of my first loves in the Japanese kitchen. For a while I called Tonkatsu sauce “bulldog sauce” because that was the more visible brand. I still think of Bulldog when I want tonkatsu sauce! (Though I buy a Korean brand, Ottogi- MUCH cheaper.) I think a mixture of ketchup and worcestershire is a generally recommended substitute.
    When I make mine, I follow the instructions in JC:A Simple Art, which calls for pounding the loin chop until it’s very thin. For nostalgia I cut up the cooked cutlet too, rearranging the cut pieces together so they don’t dry out :)

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I have been making a list for our weekly meals, and I think you just made my list shorter…looks good!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I have been making a list for our weekly meals, and I think you just made my list shorter…looks good!

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com/ Jan

    Wow I love the idea of this! That pork looks lovely covered in panko.
    You’ve also reminded me that I still haven’t tried Japanese curry. Every time I visit your blog my list of ‘must makes’ gets longer and longer lol but I love it!

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com Jan

    Wow I love the idea of this! That pork looks lovely covered in panko.
    You’ve also reminded me that I still haven’t tried Japanese curry. Every time I visit your blog my list of ‘must makes’ gets longer and longer lol but I love it!

  • http://simplyscrumptiousfoodie.com/ Jessie

    that pork looks delicious especially with the panko breadcrumb texture, I need to check out Japanese curry as well.

  • http://simplyscrumptiousfoodie.com Jessie

    that pork looks delicious especially with the panko breadcrumb texture, I need to check out Japanese curry as well.

  • http://www.phamfatale.com/ Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    Beautiful photography. I love the way you arrange everything, how you spread the Tonkatsu sauce. Very nice

  • http://www.phamfatale.com/ Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    Beautiful photography. I love the way you arrange everything, how you spread the Tonkatsu sauce. Very nice

  • http://rhymeswithspoon.wordpress.com/ sara

    Interesting. I’ve never had tonkatsu with curry. Katsudon is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. I’ll have to give this recipe a try when the weather cools down a bit. (Right now, the idea of frying something in my poorly vented apartment just makes me break out into a sweat.)

    • Ted

      I was turned on to Tonkatsu when living in Iwakuni, Japan from 1986-1988. From the local soba truck(Japanese styled fast food vendor on wheels), I would order a special which consisted of Tonkatsu and Curry Rice. I was a teenager then and am very nearly 40 now, but the combination has lived on as one of my very favorites.

  • http://rhymeswithspoon.wordpress.com sara

    Interesting. I’ve never had tonkatsu with curry. Katsudon is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. I’ll have to give this recipe a try when the weather cools down a bit. (Right now, the idea of frying something in my poorly vented apartment just makes me break out into a sweat.)

  • Tiffany

    The curry does sound good. Must redouble my efforts to find curry sans MSG!

    • marc

      Hi Tiffany, have you thought about trying to make the curry roux from scratch? There’s a link to my recipe for Japanese curry (sans MSG) from scratch up in the post.

      • http://kitchenocd.wordpress.com/ Tiffany

        Oooookay, yes, yes I think I’ll try that. Bourdain had curried rice in an episode of No Reservations and it’s been killing my husband that he’s not been able to find it sans MSG. Thanks!

  • Tiffany

    The curry does sound good. Must redouble my efforts to find curry sans MSG!

    • marc

      Hi Tiffany, have you thought about trying to make the curry roux from scratch? There’s a link to my recipe for Japanese curry (sans MSG) from scratch up in the post.

      • http://kitchenocd.wordpress.com Tiffany

        Oooookay, yes, yes I think I’ll try that. Bourdain had curried rice in an episode of No Reservations and it’s been killing my husband that he’s not been able to find it sans MSG. Thanks!

  • http://www.gourmettraveller88.com/ Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88

    Hey Marc, I have a question, do you know why schnitizel has to coat 3 layers but Tonkashu only 2 layers. Actually I was craving for Tonkashu the other day and I went to buy the ready prepared fresh schitzel to go with the Tonkashu sauce at home :p

    • marc

      Hi Janet, you can actually double coat tonkatsu too, but I find that if you press on it, it picks up enough panko in one coat to give it a nice thick crust. I’m guessing some people double coat schnitzel because the breadcrumbs are finer and thus create a thinner layer than panko.

  • http://www.gourmettraveller88.com Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88

    Hey Marc, I have a question, do you know why schnitizel has to coat 3 layers but Tonkashu only 2 layers. Actually I was craving for Tonkashu the other day and I went to buy the ready prepared fresh schitzel to go with the Tonkashu sauce at home :p

    • marc

      Hi Janet, you can actually double coat tonkatsu too, but I find that if you press on it, it picks up enough panko in one coat to give it a nice thick crust. I’m guessing some people double coat schnitzel because the breadcrumbs are finer and thus create a thinner layer than panko.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    i’m with you marc! i love tonkatsu with curry and rice best…something so simple and satisfying about the whole dish :) thanks for sharing…i never picked up on the similarity btw ‘cutlet’ and ‘katsu’ :) x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    i’m with you marc! i love tonkatsu with curry and rice best…something so simple and satisfying about the whole dish :) thanks for sharing…i never picked up on the similarity btw ‘cutlet’ and ‘katsu’ :) x

  • http://noobcook.com/ noobcook

    your tonkatsu looks amazing ^^ tonkatsu is one of my fave Japanese food, I’ve got to try to make it at home next time. Love the tips abt pork selection and tenderising the meat.

  • http://noobcook.com noobcook

    your tonkatsu looks amazing ^^ tonkatsu is one of my fave Japanese food, I’ve got to try to make it at home next time. Love the tips abt pork selection and tenderising the meat.

  • http://duodishes.com/ The Duo Dishes

    This has always been one of the faves to order at restaurants. Guess we could give it a whirl at home.

  • http://duodishes.com The Duo Dishes

    This has always been one of the faves to order at restaurants. Guess we could give it a whirl at home.

  • http://www.chezus.com/ Chez US

    Love pork cutlet and made as Tonkatsu looks even better …. great dish! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • http://www.chezus.com Chez US

    Love pork cutlet and made as Tonkatsu looks even better …. great dish! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • http://enviromama.blogspot.com/ Jenny

    We love Tonkatsu around here, but we make it with chicken since we don’t eat pork. I was hoping you would also have a recipe for the sauce as I cannot eat it anymore due to being gluten-free. And yes, I know the tonkatsu has wheat in the panko, but I have to substitute rolled oats for that now (unfortunately).

    Anyway, thanks for posting the recipe as it has reminded me to search for a recipe for the sauce so i can eat it again!

  • http://enviromama.blogspot.com Jenny

    We love Tonkatsu around here, but we make it with chicken since we don’t eat pork. I was hoping you would also have a recipe for the sauce as I cannot eat it anymore due to being gluten-free. And yes, I know the tonkatsu has wheat in the panko, but I have to substitute rolled oats for that now (unfortunately).

    Anyway, thanks for posting the recipe as it has reminded me to search for a recipe for the sauce so i can eat it again!

  • http://www.culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    These are the type of dishes I prefer where the ingredients have to be top notch and you can’t cover up a %&(*#& up.

    I love you even more for not cooking pork until it is cardboard.

    Nicely done and love the history lesson!

  • http://www.culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    These are the type of dishes I prefer where the ingredients have to be top notch and you can’t cover up a %&(*#& up.

    I love you even more for not cooking pork until it is cardboard.

    Nicely done and love the history lesson!

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ pigpigscorner

    Wow, looks perfectly fried! I bought a bottle of tonkatsu sauce just for this and my hubs doesn’t like it =( he prefers this with curry.

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com pigpigscorner

    Wow, looks perfectly fried! I bought a bottle of tonkatsu sauce just for this and my hubs doesn’t like it =( he prefers this with curry.

  • Lorna

    Hi Marc

    I notice your early comment on this page about enjoying tracing the history of recipes etc. I wonder if you’ve found this web-site which is a ‘time-line’ tracing the history of food down through the ages.

    http://www.foodtimeline.org/

    I am just embarking on a 6 week hobby course entitled ‘Food For Thought’ through the Griffith University in NSW Australia. I am doing it online as I live in a remote location of New Zealand and would otherwise have no access to this sort of course. The above web-site is one of the ‘recommended reading’ sites. I think I will need 6 years, not 6 weeks, to get through all the links.

  • Lorna

    Hi Marc

    I notice your early comment on this page about enjoying tracing the history of recipes etc. I wonder if you’ve found this web-site which is a ‘time-line’ tracing the history of food down through the ages.

    http://www.foodtimeline.org/

    I am just embarking on a 6 week hobby course entitled ‘Food For Thought’ through the Griffith University in NSW Australia. I am doing it online as I live in a remote location of New Zealand and would otherwise have no access to this sort of course. The above web-site is one of the ‘recommended reading’ sites. I think I will need 6 years, not 6 weeks, to get through all the links.

  • http://3hungrytummies.blogspot.com/ 3hungrytummies

    hey love your blog, such inspiration!!
    i did make tonkatsu with curry sauce last night.
    http://3hungrytummies.blogspot.com/2009/10/curry-ton-katsu.html

  • http://3hungrytummies.blogspot.com 3hungrytummies

    hey love your blog, such inspiration!!
    i did make tonkatsu with curry sauce last night.
    http://3hungrytummies.blogspot.com/2009/10/curry-ton-katsu.html

  • Jan Hobbs

    Tonkatsu was always my favorite part of a wonderful multi-course meal they serve at Fujiya’s in San Antonio. I wish I had their recipe, I truly still crave the dish after not having had it in 28 years!

  • Jan Hobbs

    Tonkatsu was always my favorite part of a wonderful multi-course meal they serve at Fujiya’s in San Antonio. I wish I had their recipe, I truly still crave the dish after not having had it in 28 years!

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    Great post, I got some pork out of the freezer this morning planning to make tonkatsu, then realised I had no recipe and yours is the best I've come across.

  • http://globetrotterdiaries.com/ Valerie

    I never knew tempura has its origins in Portugal but I've always wondered where the fried foods came from as it seems most Japanese food is almost devoid of oil. Great post! Your tonkatsu looks delicious… I'll have mine with gohan please!

  • http://www.tastesofhome.blogspot.com Tastes of Home (Jen)

    I must be geekish too as I love finding out origins of dishes..so fascinating! Yummy looking tonkatsu!

  • Pingback: Katsu-Curry with Black Curry Recipe

  • Mizerello

    I love your site! I’ve been using your Tonkatsu recipe for months now but to be honest hadn’t taken the time to visit through the rest of your site. Wow! I will definitely be back and often. Your photos are wonderful and your recipes are interesting and easy to follow. For others who haven’t tried your Tonkatsu recipe…it’s the best I’ve found and tastes exactly like the Tonkatsu I used to eat at my favorite restaurant in Tokyo.

  • Amittieross

    I did a great job of not doing this right =( but I wont give up and try again. I had it to hot and it burned the outside but left the inside raw. I burn everything (pancakes, rice, noodles) so it was my fault maybe next time or maybe I just fail at cooking

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Did you use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil? If so,
      try turning the heat down a bit after you add the pork. Also, make
      sure you are using a heavy pan/pot to deep fry in (thin/light ones
      conduct heat unevenly). I hope that helps!

      On Wednesday, April 13, 2011, Disqus

  • Pingback: japanese recipes pork

  • Suewilson

    I decided to try making tonkatsu for my son and daughter-in-law using free-range pork available locally here (n N. Ireland) and found your excellent recipe, which was a terrifc help. However, I was concerned about the deep frying aspect – partly because I don’t have a deep-frying pan, and partly because I thought I should try to keep the calorific content down as much as possible! So I followed your recipe until the frying art, but then browned the outsides in a tiny amount of oil, and then baked it in a foil-covered tin for about 20 min. The result was judged by my two guests as excellent! The meat was very soft and tender and fully cooked. We ate it with hoisin sauce, japanese rice, leek and egg plant. Probably not very authentic, but very delicious! Many thanks.

  • Pingback: Corn & Crab Croquettes (かにクリームコロッケ)

  • Pingback: Vietnamese Caramelized Pork (Thit Kho To)

  • Rosslori6

    While living in Okinawa the tonkatsu I had was served on a bed of sticky rice with a hard fried egg. Oh so good!

  • Pingback: ‘Smoke on Sundays when you’re drunk and dressed’ « gingerbread hansel

  • Anonymous

    After watching episode 20 of a Korean variety show ‘Heroes’, I’ve become interested in this dish.

  • Pingback: Japanese Potato Salad | Fresh Tastes | PBS Food

  • Dimwit1

    i have a japanese girlfriend who will be coming here to the united states sometime next year to be with me. she just told me of tonkatsu this evening as she is prepairing it for her supper tonight and had to go out to buy the sauce just now.she says i can make this dish myself now,but i am sure that mine will never compair to hers :)

  • Pingback: Katsudon Recipe – Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl

  • Andrea

    In a visit to Tokyo last year, we ate at a restaurant called Katsukura in Takashimaya Times Square near Shinjuku Station.  On our table, roasted seasame seeds sat with a motar and pestle, as well as three vessels of sauces.  A waiter showed us how to freshly grind the sesame seeds and mix them with the sauces to accompany our meal. Our perfectly cooked katsu came with shredded cabbage served and a perfectly balanced citrus dressing.  And there was an option eat facing the open kitchen!  Eating katsu here in the states will never compare to that wonderful dinner, but your recipe brought me back there!  Thank you!

    • onepaperkid

      You went to a “tourist” retaurant. If you had tonkatsu in a great little tonkatsu joint (or at home), the recipe in the article approximates how the Japanese would normally eat tonkatsu. Citrus dressing on the cabbage?? Normally, the Japanese would simply use some of the tonkatsu sauce (Bulldog is good) on the cabbage. But, you are right about the HUGE difference between “american” tonkatsu and Japanese tonkatsu. No comparison.

      • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

        What made you conclude that this is a “tourist” restaurant? Because they serve a citrus dressing with the cabbage? Since when is innovation a crime? If that’s the case, then you probably shouldn’t be eating tonkatsu at all, since it didn’t exist in Japan before the West came. For that matter you should also probably avoid tempura (portugal), ramen (china), gyoza (china), castella (portugal), yakiniku (korea), curry (India via the UK), and about half the fish you eat in your local sushi restaurant (since they’re not a native species to Japan).

  • Karen

    Thanks for your recipe! I like tonkatsu and have introduced it to my (Irish) husband, who also likes it a lot. We agree… while the “traditional” tonkatsu sauce is good, we *love* it with the Japanese curry sauce. Often times we will serve it with both sauces so that we/guests can choose which is their favorite since the flavor is so different. (Also we like to alternate between sauces as we eat.)   Thanks again!  :)

  • Pingback: My mom’s recipes « budziak

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.casado.986 David Casado

    Que rico

  • Sodamoeba

    This is the best thing I’ve cooked yet. I finally found all the ingredients for dashi at a huge international store in my hometown, and when I came back to college I was so happy to be able to cook up this recipe. All of my roommates loved it, too, which is kind of the best part.

  • Bonitamiel

    What panko brand do you recommend?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I don’t really have a particular brand that I buy, but look for one with bigger pieces that look more like flakes than crumbs, and it should be white.

  • onepaperkid

    A correction in the pronunciation of “cutlet” in Japanese: When abbreviated to カツ (katsu) in Japanese, the second syllable “tsu” is fully pronounced. When the whole word “cutlet” is used (カツレト= ka tsu re to), the “tsu” becomes a double “t” (a sort of glottal stop) and the word is pronounced katt-re-to (eliding the “su” of “tsu”). Secondly you do not use “pork chops” to make tonkatsu. The pork used is a boneless filet of pork loin (thickness approx 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Regular American “pork chops” (even center cut) make lousy tonkatsu (probably why tonkatsu is not more popular here). Buy only the “good” stuff (never use cheap meat), otherwise you end up with a chewy tonkatsu. DO NOT OVERCOOK. It is better to undercook a little and let it rest. Best to pre-cut the tonkatsu before serving, at a slight angle. If you do not pre-cut, the tonkatsu should be tender enough to cut with a fork or bitten off if picked up with chopsticks. ALWAYS use a Tonkatsu sauce (Worcestershire sauce is a poor substitute – the two sauces are similar, NOT the same). Rice should be Japanese rice, soft and a little “sticky.” The cabbage should be shredded. Forgive me for kibitzing but having lived in Japan for fifteen years and am married to a Japanese, I tend to be very particular about tonkatsu (especially in the US, since the average pork eater in the US buys so-so pork to use). Do not expect great results the first couple of times you make tonkatsu. What pork you choose to use, the way you coat it, the temperature of the oil and how long you cook it all are variables you need to practice until you get it right.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks for your comment. About the pronunciation, I’ve consulted with a few friends and they all agree that the proper katakana is カツレツ so we were both mistaken on that, but on the pronunciation, the ツ is definitely said aloud. Perhaps the area of Japan you live in has a regional accent that changes the pronunciation? Regarding your second point about using pork chops. I was born (and currently live in Japan), so I think I come from a point of some authority on this subject when I say that we have both ヒレカツ and ロスカツ here in Japan. The American pork rib chop (minus the bone) is the equivalent cut to a Japanese ロス (roast) cut, which I personally prefer for tonkatsu because it has more fat in it and keeps the meat moist. Whether you prefer the fatty ロス or the leaner ヒレ in Japan, the reason I suggest people use the ロス cut in the US is because US pork is MUCH leaner than Japanese pork (the loin has less fat that chicken breast meat). If you were to use an American pork loin, you’d end up with something akin to wet cardboard. As for the quality of meat, I suggested people use Berkshire pork because it’s the same breed as Japanese 黒豚 (kurobuta). Having lived in Japan for 15 years, you may have forgotten that in the US, you can’t run to the nearest コンビニ and pick up a bottle of tonkatsu sauce. You’re right, it’s not the same thing, but if you had to chose an option for someone who’s not living near a Mitsuwa, what would you suggest? I’m all for a healthy discussion of opinions here, but please check your facts before posting things as an absolute truth.

      • Cyrano

        I lived in Japan for two years. Loved it. Had to leave in the end though. Too many gaijin.

      • Mike Nutile

        A quick and dirty reasonable-substitute for tonkatsu sauce is:

        1 cup ketchup, 4 teaspoons dry mustard powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper.

        Luckily I live near a Mitsuwa and a Najiya- so I’m well stocked with Tonkatsu sauce. I spent 10 years in Japan (around Tokyo) and my understanding is the same as Marc’s for what that’s worth.

        I love your posts/recipes/comments Marc. Keep it up! Big fan over here.

  • onepaperkid

    After I wrote my comment, I realized the article was almost four years old and the comments three to four years old. LOL

    • Cyrano

      Yes indeed. LOL. That is really funny.

  • kirstine

    marc, can we also make it with chicken breast or thigh ?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Yep absolutely! If you do it with chicken breast I’d brine it first, and be careful not to over cook it or it will end up dry.

      • maesaysdoit

        Oh yes, I’ve had it made for me with chicken by a Japanese neighbor in Hamamatsu, and it was delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Pingback: Tonkatsu with Curry « Taste Junky

  • Will

    “this means there could be anerican influence..”

    Stop right there. What is with you damn yanks and insisting that everything in the entire world is american? And when theres something you like, you try your hardest to justify that it must be american.
    Face it yanks, you’ve contibuted nothing to the universe, never have and never will. And your desperate attempts to try and shoehorn americanism into good food just makes you even more pathetic.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Will, just to set the record straight I never said Tonkatsu is an American dish. It’s a Japanese dish. What I said is that one of the root words is English and because of the American presence during the time coinciding with the time tonkatsu started showing up, I said there “COULD” be an American influence. Since English is an official language in 56 sovereign countries around the world, it’s certainly possible that the name was influenced by a different nation, but for the purposes of a recipe, listing all of them seemed like overkill.

    • Folk Hellfang

      When did limeys get so rude?

      • Folk Hellfang

        Omg, just figured it out. 1776, sorry for the confusion.

    • John

      Yeah, we’ve got the market cornered on arrogant colonialism… Great job carving the world into manageable ethnically distinct parcels, the effects of which we’re still not dealing with… I generally enjoy the “pithy wit” of Brits, but your sour rant reminds me of why English speakers the world over are reviled- because of your pasty, gin reeking exportation of all that is wrong with European culture to the more pleasant corners of the world. Cheers, you pudgy loser!

    • iendecker

      Just saved your asses in a little something called WWII. But I’m sure you Britts could learn German easily enough. Oh and since when is English food good food. I came to your country in 2001and although I liked some of your foods I find most boiled meats unappetizing

  • connie

    Will, I am afraid that your ignorance of Japanese history is showing. The U.S. was virtually the only foreign influence in Japan in the latter 19th Century. Japan had previously cut itself off from almost all foreign contact for a very long time. Though there was a small Dutch mission on a nearby island, the the American Admiral Perry is credited with opening Japan to the west in the 1800’s. I am sure you can learn a lot about this online , and hope you will find it interesting

    Should you ever visit Leiden, in the Netherlands, you will find a museum that contains all the artifacts brought back from that Dutch mission.

    • Derek

      I’m afraid your ignorance of Japanese history is showing too. Perry did in fact open Japan to the west, but the Convention of Kanagawa was completely overshadowed by the British and French involvement after that. Ever heard of the Boshin War? It’s the war that led to the modernisation of Japan and both sides were completely trained and armed by the British and French. While America was quite involved, it the US was not “virtually the only foreign influence in Japan in the latter 19th Century.”

      If you’re going to call someone out on ignorance, and then tell them to look it up online, perhaps you should do the same.

      And thanks for the recipe.

  • jace

    thanks for the recipe it was good.

  • Pingback: Tonkatsu | Papa's Recipes

  • Pingback: Pork Cutlets Brilliance @ Tonkatsu | Foodin'KL

  • Maureen Mizuno

    I have been reading some of the comments on history, language and culture. It seems to me to be a bit over the top with arguing and criticisms that have nothing to do with the recipe. I would appreciate it didn’t get so nasty. Are these things so important as to make enemies and hurt others feelings over. Some people have to compete over everything. Please stop and stick to learning about the recipes and enjoying the food and the effort of the chef who is offering to teach. Thank you for a chance to express my opinion.

  • maesaysdoit

    Wow I just came here to view the recipe. My husband and I (with our young son) lived in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan for 2 1/2 years. Being of another culture I would never tell someone that the way they prepare a native dish is incorrect or not good enough or that ingredients used are inferior to the ‘correct’ one. This chef is just trying to share and teach a way of cooking. I am thankful and will try this recipe. I know the comments here are older but I just can’t believe how sharing a recipe turned into a barrage of insults. If I were he, I would ignore all and any comments that did not exactly make a real suggestion and or a real comment after trying to prepare the dish. Japan like all countries has regional cuisine. What I had eaten in Hamamatsu was sometimes very different from the same dish eaten on Okinawa and at Misawa. In addition my ear was attuned to the colloquialisms of the Hamamatsu area that some places we traveled to I could not understand the same words spoken. It’s a matter of regions. Also when using fresh ingredients many Japanese would tell me that I should only buy a particular ingredient from a certain place in a certain town. Not having those exact ingredients readily available, I appreciate the suggested substitutions. Today with the internet at my disposal I can get just about any ingredient sent to me. Let’s just enjoy the cooking and leave the personal attacks out. Let play nice as we all should have learned in grade school. Well that’s my 2cents.

  • anj

    arguing in history are too far from the recipe :)

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

Rose Scented Nutella Brioche Pudding
Poached Tomato with Zucchini “Soba”
Chicken Piccata
No Recipes vol. 7 (christmas edition)
Guanciale & Mandarin Sugo Recipe
Crustless Apple Pie
Rich Chicken Stock
Wallpaper Wednesday: Fire in the Sky