In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Japan's Meiji Emperor encouraged the country’s leaders to explore Western ideologies and traditions. This move away from isolation impacted Japan's cuisine, and recipes such as Tonkatsu were developed – based on the Austrian wiener schnitzel.
The Japanese variation deep fries the pork chop, and serves it with raw cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. It makes a great meal in its own right, but is often sliced and presented on a sharing platter alongside miso soup and rice.
For the cabbage salad Serves: 4
For the pork tonkatsu
- 4 pork chops (125-150g each)
- 100g plain flour
- Salt Black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 eggs
- 75g panko breadcrumbs
- 500ml oil for deep-frying, this should be an inch or so of oil in a medium to large pan
- Prepare the cabbage salad. Use a balloon whisk to mix together the dressing of white miso, soy sauce, vegetable oil, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Toss the shredded cabbage in the dressing and set aside.
- Prepare the pork chops. Place the pork chops on a board and gently pound them with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin. Trim any excess fat, cut out any bone, and use a knife to make five diagonal slashes in each pork chop.
- To ‘breadcrumb’ the pork, arrange three shallow dishes in a row. Put the flour into one and season with salt and pepper; crack the eggs into the next, and beat lightly with a fork; tip the panko breadcrumbs into the final dish. One by one, dredge a pork chop in the seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Next, dip it into the egg-filled dish, and finally the breadcrumbs, so the pork chop is evenly coated. Place the pork chops on a board ready for frying.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan to 175°C – or until a Panko breadcrumb sizzles and turns golden when dropped in the oil. Carefully place one or two of the pork chops at a time into the oil. Fry for 5-7 minutes until golden and crispy. Use a thermometer to check that the meat is cooked. The centre of the thickest part of the chop should read 70°C. Remove the pork to rest on absorbent kitchen paper.
- To serve, cut the pork into 2cm wide diagonal strips, arrange on a platter and drizzle with zigzags of Tonkatsu sauce or Japanese mayonnaise. Serve the cabbage salad on the side.