Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tonkatsu with East-West Sauce

The name Tonkatsu probably has a few of you wondering, but basically this is a boneless pork chop that has been pounded to a quarter inch, then breaded in panko and lightly fried.  A Japanese version of Pork Milanese, if you will.  The thing that sets this dish apart is the tangy flavor of the East-West Sauce that gets drizzled on top.  It's a lovely blend of ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire, and rice wine vinegar and it totally makes this pork dish.  It's crave-worthy, for sure.

This recipe called for deep frying, but we're focusing on healthy eating right now so I used a large nonstick skillet and about 1/4 cup vegetable oil.  It takes a little babysitting, and you need to cook over medium-low heat to prevent burning, but I think the crust turned out fabulous.  It is important not to crowd the pan otherwise your crust will not brown properly.  Cook two pork chops at a time for optimum results.

Also, I have found that breading can be tricky business.  I've noticed that my panko gets somewhat wet and soggy after a few dredges.  Wet and soggy panko will not adhere to anything, so to remedy this problem I separate my panko into two breading dishes.  One dish for the first two chops.  The second for the last two pork chops, etc.  This makes a few more dirty dishes, but it does ensure a perfect even coating.

Another tip for perfect breading is to refrigerate anything you bread for at least ten minutes.  The breading procedure introduces something wet (the egg, milk, etc.).  Refrigerating allows the item to dry out which means that your breading will adhere better once it hits the pan.

Tonkatsu with East-West Sauce
Adapted from Step-by-Step Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Serves 4

4 boneless pork loin chops
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 cups panko
vegetable oil, for frying
Optional: East-West Sauce and/or lemon slices for serving

Pound 4 boneless pork chops to about one quarter inch each.  Season each with salt and pepper.  Dip pork in beaten egg, then into panko to coat.  Set each coated pork chop aside on a baking sheet.  Once all pork chops are coated place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.  This time in the fridge helps the panko to dry out and adhere to the pork chops.  

After refrigerating the coated pork chops for at least minutes, remove and set aside.  Heat about 1/4 cup vegetable oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet.  When the pan becomes hot, add as two pork chops at a time, browning on each side.  They should cook through in about 8 minutes (4 minutes each side).  Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a warm oven until all pork chops are cooked.

Serve with East-West Sauce and/or lemon wedges.

East-West Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup

1/2 mustard powder
4 teaspoons hot water
4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
4 teaspoons sake (*optional)
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

 Mix the mustard powder with 4 teaspoons hot water in a small bowl.  Add in remaining ingredients and mix well.  

Theme: Out of India


  1. I actually prefer pork cutlets to veal and chicken. Like you, I don't deep fry. I have even broiled breaded pork (carefully). I will definitely try the east-west sauce next time I make this dish; it sounds delicious.

  2. Love how new is to me - by Feb. I tire of my comfort foods. The sauce really entices - and a nice change from my Italian way.

  3. Funny cause I'm making pork milanese this week! This is going on my list too! Love that sauce! Thanks for the sweet comment you left me the other day! I often wonder if we are still going to be reading each other's blogs in like 10, 20 or 30 years from now and just how INSANE is that? That boggles my mind.

  4. I have been meaning to try panko breadcrumbs because I have read that they are crisper than the ususal breadcrumbs I use. Thanks for giving such a clear explanation on how to use them, The sauce sounds delicious too.

  5. Looks fabulous Kim. Great idea to separate the panko crumbs too. Thank you for coming up with a solution so you didn't have to deep fry it.

  6. This sounds great with the greens! And, if they're lucky, that's even better. The orange and sesame dressing is lovely too.
    sesame seeds
    fennel seeds

  7. Looks perfectly cooked to me, Kim. Golden and crisp. And oh my that sauce!

  8. The coating looks fantastic and the sauce is totally fun! The whole plate looks like it belongs in a magazine.

    I've passed your breading tip on to many people who mention their breading falling off.
    I'm friend, Kim,!

  9. YUM! i'm normally not a huge fan of pork chops, but i AM a fan of pork chops that have been breaded and fried! and i love that you lightened it up. these look wonderful, the sauce really does it for me, what great flavors, i can't wait to try this!

  10. Great breading tips! I love tonkatsu and this one looks great :)

  11. I have never heard of this, but it looks wonderful. You got it perfect golden brown. The sauce sounds great. Thanks for the tip about refrigerating after breading. I will definitely do that next time:)

  12. I never had probs with panco, but I need to keep in mind about the valuable tips that you have given. Thanks for sharing these secrets too!!

  13. Great pick! When I was still eating meat ;-) tonkatsu was a favorite indulgence meal. It is really popular here.

  14. Congrats on adapting this to not be deep fried. I'd say you got a perfect golden brown crust. The sauce is what sounds awesome!

  15. You are one brave and experimental cook in the kitchen, Kim! I've never tried anything with a Japanese flavor, but I dearly love Japanese food! I love the this recipe and thank you for sharing it!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! At the moment I am having a huge problem with spam so I've had to add comment moderation and close off comments to anonymous users. I apologize for the trouble and hope to return my comments to normal shortly.