When I was a kid living in Japan, my family's housekeeper used to occasionally make tonkatsu: deep-fried pork cutlets drizzled with katsu sauce. She'd serve it with plain steamed white rice and it was always one of my favorite meals, and still is. Although, now I tend to serve pork tonkatsu with sesame noodles, udon, or something a little more flavorful than plain rice. It's also traditionally served with shredded cabbage (preferably Napa) alongside.
Essentially, this is the same thing as German or Austrian wiener schnitzel. And, as with schnitzel, you could use chicken, veal, or turkey cutlets in place of the pork.
4-6 boneless pork cutlets, pounded to about 1/3 inch thick (one cutlet per serving)
salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
oil for frying (I prefer peanut oil)
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
katsu sauce (store bought is fine)
Generously salt and pepper the pork cutlets.
Get your ingredients lined up to coat the cutlets: flour, eggs and bread crumbs.
One piece at a time, dip the cutlets in the flour first, then the egg, allowing any excess to drip off, then the bread crumbs.
Using your fingers, mash the crumbs into the pork so that they stick and it is thoroughly coated.
Set the pork cutlets aside on a plate and heat oil for frying to about 360 degrees F.
Gently place the breaded cutlets into hot oil. If your fryer is small like mine, cook the pork in batches so the temperature doesn't fall and the cutlets don't get crowded. This technique will insure that the pork is crisp and crunchy, not greasy and soggy with oil.
When the cutlets are cooked through and golden brown -- after about 3-4 minutes -- remove them from the fryer and place on a paper bag or paper towels to drain and cool a little.
Slice the pork into pieces you can eat with chopsticks and serve with katsu sauce and lemon wedges.
Photos by Ted Scheffler