Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dinner Last Night...Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlet)


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.

Pork Round

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

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...

Tonkatsu Sandwich

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 

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!


  1. Oishisoooooooooo! Looks so yummy, and especially the meat came from the cool local butcher (the website is even cool)! And oh my goodness, was that katsu sando your lunch today? I'd fly to go visit you to have those sandwiches....It looks better than Maisen! I love how you cook, very neat (teinei) unlike mess in my kitchen. I can totally see you enjoy cooking. Tonjiru is my #1 miso soup too. Your meal is so delicious!!! p.s. Have you tried tonkatsu & mayo sauce over egg (medamayaki) in english muffin (with lettuce if you like)? Another quick lunch. I'm from Kanto area, so I used to use soy sauce for eggs, but after my Osaka friend told me to use tonkatsu sauce for eggs, I can't stop eating without tonkatu sauce... You made me super hungry!!

  2. hahahaha great multiple usage of the tonkatsu!

    i love kewpie mayo! for those that don't know....this is seriously the bizness!

  3. I've been wanting to go visit that butcher too! They have been getting great press. Your katsu looks perfect, I love having katsu sandwiches!!

  4. That looks great!

  5. Hi Kay! This is so appetizing and your tonkatsu has got very nice golden brown!
    Now I learn another method to cook my miso soup rather than keep having the same tofu miso soup. We don't get to see such a young lady chopping meats in the wet markets here in SG, mostly are uncles in their late 40s to 60s.
    I'm using the same mayo too! Love mixing with chilling sauce but never with tonkatsu b4, maybe I shall try it! I'm the one who always finished up those raw cabbages whenever we had meals outside. lOL

  6. Nami, thank you :o) Oh no, my kitchen gets to be quite the The sandwich was supposed to be my next day lunch, but I wanted to try the new pork right away, so I made it as soon as I got home! Then later, I made the tonkatsu dinner. I had tonkatsu sandwich two days in a row!

    I've heard of using tonkatsu sauce on medamayaki, but never tried it. I'm the soy sauce girl too! I'll have to try it next time and on an English Muffin. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Thanks, Kish! Who wouldn't like Kewpie right!

    Lindsey, thank you! You definitely should try Lindy & Grundy :o)

    Lyn, thank you! Yes, woman butchers are very rare here. Actually, free standing butcher shops are still rare around here. Kewpie w/chili sauce sounds good! Actually I like to mix Kewpie w/southern style hot sauce like Crystal and eat it with

  8. What a yummy dinner...! I LOVE tonkatsu with cabbage salad, if it's not deep fried, I would even eat it everyday...! The tonkatsu sandwich is such a great idea, definitely will steal this idea of yours in the near future ;).

  9. Oh! Hot sauce with popcorn!? Maybe I shall try it some day! Although it may sounds weird but no harm trying! Anyway, I love trying out new things! :D
    BTW, I've got some surprises for you... Check it out in my latest post! Have a great weekends! :)

  10. Thanks you Cooking Gallery! Yes, the sandwich is very delicious, hope you try it soon!

    Lyn, when I'm by myself, I eat a lot of odd things;o) Thank you again for the nice mention of me on your blog!

  11. The pork cutlet looks really crispy and delicious although I understand pork is not as widely cooked in Japanese cuisine? The pork strips sauteeing in sake looks amazing and I would love to taste the Tonjiru with those succulent pork strips.

  12. Thanks Chopin :o) Tonkatsu has always been popular in Japan and Korean BBQ w/pork belly is also popular, but like everything over there, it's eaten in small portions;o) Kurobuta (Berkshire Pork) is coveted there too. But yes, there aren't too many different types of pork dishes. You should try making the Tonjiru, it's not that hard. You make much more difficult recipes!

  13. tonkatsu is one of my favorite foods! if you're ever in san diego theres a place called okiton thats makes the closest thing to the tonkatsu ive had in japan. and tonkatsu sandwiches? simply the best.

  14. Thanks, Shrimp Guy, I will have to remember Okiton when I go to SD :o)