In the small number of years following 1872, Motojiro Kida of restaurant Rengatei in Tokyo was looking for inspiration to cook western food in the Japanese style. He discovered the French dish côtelettes du veau (veal cutlets), which are derivative of (i.e. exactly the same as ) Wiener schnitzel. Adapting to Japanese ingredients, Kida used panko breadcrumbs and vegetable oil, and cut the finished cutlet (now pork on the basis if local availability) into strips to it could be eaten with chopsticks.
Making tonkatsu is a simple as a schnitzel, but you really do need to use panko breadcrumbs. Panko is nothing like normal bread – rather than being baked, the dough is electrocuted to energise the mixture without producing a crust. The resulting breadcrumbs have the texture of flakes rather than round crumbs. You cannot substitute them (and you certainly cannot make them, unless you are some kind of Nikola Tesla).
- 2 pork loin steaks, fat snipped and hammered flat all over
- 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
Dredge the pork sequentially in the flour, egg and breadcrumbs to coat completely.
Fry the pork in a pan or hot oil or a deep fat fryer until golden. Drain and slice.
Serve with rice and asazuke.