Tonkatsu – our favourite Japanese meal…

Tonkatsu is wildly popular in Japan, and rightly so. This set meal consists of  breaded (crumbed) pork , steamed rice, finely shredded raw cabbage and a delish sauce.

I  also include a fried egg sprinkled with seaweed seasoning.

Here is how I make Tonkatsu.

You will need to buy some nice thin pork chops. If they are too thick the crumbs would burn before the meat cooked. Pork leg steak is also perfect for Tonkatsu . Chicken can be substituted for the pork. I bought my pork chops from the Asian grocer. They have a different way of cutting  meat to Australian butchers, and the thinner, fat-free chop suits this dish.


Using the usual flour, egg, crumb method, crumb the chops. The most important difference is the use of the Japanese breadcrumb called Panko. This has a coarser crumb, and is light and flaky – perfect for a delicious, crispy coating. Panko is available in some supermarkets, and at Asian markets and grocers.


I put the chops in a plastic bag and shake them all about with some plain flour

The excess flour is shaken off and the chops are dipped in well beaten egg. The flour will repel the egg so make sure the whole chop has been dipped and is wet.

Let the excess egg drip off and drop the chop into your dish of Panko. Press the crumbs on well. If there are some bits where the egg isn’t there and the flour is showing through, just put it back into the egg. Shake off any excess crumbs – most important 🙂 Excess crumbs otherwise fall off when you’re frying the meat and end up as black, burnt bits that will stick to your lovely chop.

If you look at the photo below you can see some white flour bits – this is where I didn’t pay enough attention when I was coating the chop in egg. This is what you want to avoid 🙂

Some people like to double-coat their chop with crumbs. This means that after the first lot of crumbing, the chop goes back into the egg, and then back into the crumbs for a second time (no need to do the flour again second-time round).

Put your lovely crumbed chops into the ‘fridge for a while. This chilling will help the crumbs stick to the meat and the end result will be better. I put mine on a cutting board lined with baking paper.

Slice your cabbage very fine. I used Chinese cabbage this time because that is what I had. Any cabbage can be used.

Steam your sushi rice. The shorter, fatter grains of sushi rice seem to suit this dish better than a long grain rice like jasmine or Basmati. I know my rice looks a little “wet”. I think it is my diabolical photo taking again…

Make your Tonkatsu sauce. Usually this sauce is made up of barbecue/steak sauce mixed with some Worchestire sauce, some soy sauce and a 1/2 teaspoon or so of hot English mustard. Well, I didn’t have the Worcheshire or the mustard so I used just the barbecue sauce, some soy sauce and some wasabi mustard instead ( I prefer the version I usually do, but this was fine) Proportions? I would say about 2/3 rd’s of a cup of barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons each of Worcheshire and soy, and about 2/3 r’s of a teaspoon hot mustard. All subject to taste of course! Test it as you make it 🙂 I will say that it is easier to use a little food processor ot whisky-stick thing to blend it. The mustard sometimes doesn’t want to amalgamate into the sauce.

Cook the chops in a couple of cm’s of oil; canola, peanut, something like that. They can be deep fried, and that is probably the more traditional method.

Drain them well and cut into serving pieces.

Drain the cabbage very well.

Each person gets a pile of cabbage, a mound of steamed rice, some pork pieces and access to the sauce.

Seems complicated? It’s not really. Trust me. I hate a lot of fussing around dinner time. Mess and bother make me tired… 😉 I do this step-by-step, cleaning up as I go and it’s really worth it – it’s a lovely meal, and a family favourite that makes everyone so happy when I make it 🙂


8 thoughts on “Tonkatsu – our favourite Japanese meal…

  1. Damn. Right, that’s it. I’m off the local sushi joint for a fix. Curse you, SweetRosie!! 🙂 Just when I thought I had actual willpower…

  2. Wow, dear sweetrosie, you sure make the Tonkatsu recipe seem so easy! 😀 Now, I know how to make one more Japanese meal – my family loves Japanese food! 😉

    Have a wonderful day!


    choesf 😀

  3. I like the idea of the seaweed topping on the fried egg! My dad usually has his with crispy fried shallots.

    Oh, and I never knew that fridging crumbed meat would help the crumbs to stick to the meat. Thanks for the tip, sweetie! 🙂

  4. hello dear choesf 🙂 I know you like Japanese food – I hope your family enjoys the Tonkatsu. You are such a good cook, I know this recipe will be one you could do with your eyes shut 🙂

    ovenhaven – hi! Thank you for telling me about your dad’s fried egg. I always treasure such family food detail 🙂 and yes, a good chill in the fridge, a non-stick pan, and turning the chops only once, will make sure your crumbs stay on 🙂

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