This is another of my favorite Japanese dishes. It's a very homey dish in Japan that you eat often at home or you can go out and get it because there are so many restaurants that serve it! In Japan, many of the restaurants are specialized. For instance, a place would mainly serve Tonkatsu or Sushi or Yakitori or Ramen etc. Traditionally, tonkatsu is served with raw, thinly sliced cabbage and rice. There are many restaurants that serve the Tonkatsu with all-you-can-eat rice & cabbage!
The sauce that is used for it is "Tonkatsu Sauce", it's similar to a Worchestershire Sauce that's sweeter and thicker. My favorite brand that I grew up from childhood is Bulldog. Some restaurants make their own gourmet sauce. It's also good with a little Japanese yellow mustard.
There's a new butcher in the area called Lindy & Grundy and I've been wanting to try it, but I heard that when they first opened it was very crowded, so I waited until now to go. OMG, they are the best! It is run by two sweet young ladies and they are actually the butchers that break down all their meats! The night before I went, they said that they had just cut up 2 whole steers!! I had a nice conversation with both of them and they both have the friendliest and best personalities! One of them is half Japanese and grew up in Japan, so she is the one that advised me about what cut of pork to use for my tonkatsu. Oh, and the store has free parking in the back...a rarity in LA!!
Seasoned w/Salt & Pepper...
I usually use pork loin and get it at the Japanese market, but I didn't have time to go there so I ended up at Lindy & Grundy. The butcherette recommended the round and she even pounded it for me:o) It turned out really good! Their pork tastes like old fashioned porky pork not the bland grocery store type pork! I was thinking about it on the drive home and next time I would get the pork chops and that way I can use the loin as the tonkatsu, make stock out of the bone and then use the outer meat for the Tonjiru Soup!
Floured & Egged...
I seasoned the flour, egg wash & panko with salt and pepper. The egg has a little bit of milk & water added to it. Just like I did with the eggplant parm, I used dry, wet, dry method...flour, egg, panko...
Ready to be fried...
Deep Frying in the Wok...
Since these were so thin, I fried the tonkatsu in 350 degrees oil until they were nice and brown.
It kinda looks like a sandal...lol
Slicing the Cabbage...
I'm not that great at slicing the cabbage super thin, but the Benriner (Japanese mandoline cutter) usually makes it too thin for my liking ;o) The bigger chunks of cabbage, I put in the Tonjiru.
Soaking in Ice Water...
I put the cabbage in ice water to crisp it and clean it...
After draining the cabbage, I wrap it in a dish towel and then put it in the refrigerator until it's ready to eat.
Pork for Tonjiru Soup
Tonjiru is a common soup served at tonkatsu places. It's a miso soup with pork and veggies. It's usually made with a simple dashi stock, but I like to make it with pork stock. I wanted to use pork belly for this, but I forgot to get it at the butcher, so I used up one of the pork rounds.
Pork sauteeing with Sake...
I seasoned the pork with salt, pepper & dashi powder then sauteed in Rice Bran Oil. After it was cooked through, I added sake to it and let the alcohol evaporate. I then took out the pork because I didn't want it to get overcooked then added the pork stock. I had pork stock I'd made in the past in the freezer:o) To the stock, I added potatoes and cooked until it was soft. At the end, I put the pork back in and added some cabbage and the miso.
This is one of my favorite ways to have miso soup! It's a little bit time consuming to make since you need to cook the pork first. Every family has a different way of making this soup and as usual, mine isn't the most traditional;o)
Cabbage & Tomatoes
I like to put a little of the tonkatsu sauce and kewpie mayo on my cabbage. My girlfriend gave me these beautiful tomatoes! They are called Kumato Brown Tomatoes, they have a nice acidity to it. She is so sweet, she also got me a beautiful Basil plant too:o)
Tonkatsu w/Japanese Mustard & Cabbage
Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce & Kewpie Mayo
Kewpie is a little different than American mayo because it uses only egg yolks and has a little bit of vinegar in it and is also a little thinner.
Rice Bran Oil
This is my favorite oil to use for Japanese dressings and for deep frying. I can find it at the Japanese store only sometimes. It has a very clean flavor to it.
Kewpie, Mustard & Bulldog
I slather this combo on bread to make sandwiches...
My favorite leftover with Tonkatsu are sandwiches :o) It just has thinly sliced Tonkatsu, the raw Cabbage and the mayo combo on Japanese white bread. There's something about the Japanese bread that I really like, it's different than just having Wonderbread! It must be nostalgia from childhood again. This is the thin sliced one, but they also have ones that are sliced about 3/4" thick! I forgot who, but I remember when the Winter Olympics were in Japan, one of the skiers was saying how much he hated the thick bread and was making fun of it...lol
This type of sandwich is commonly sold as Bento (Lunch Box) at Japanese train stations. They usually have the crust cut off and don't have the cabbage in it. The most popular is sold by a restaurant called Maisen in Tokyo and of course they have the best tonkatsu sets too!