So ever since I’ve gotten into the deep frying thing, I’ve been wanting to experiment even more. And the dish I had in mind? Tonkatsu.
Tonkatsu is lightly breaded and deep fried pork that has been pounded thin and is commonly served with a side of an accompanying Worcestshire and ketchup-like dipping sauce. Kind of like a Japanese schnitzel. However, there was a problem: I was out of canola oil. Shit. What to do, what to do… The pork was already defrosting. Olive oil was definitely out of the question. Then I thought of it: ghee. I was going to try to deep fry with ghee.
This was going to be an adventure.
I refrigerate my ghee to extend its shelf life and because of it’s refrigerated state, it’s pretty much a solid block. It’s also not cheap either. So I pussied out. Instead of inches of pure gold liquid, I used a medium saucepan and used more than enough to cover the bottom. Sure, it wasn’t technically deep frying but since you have to flip the pork regardless, I thought this way would work just as fine. Tonkatsu should be a cinch, right?
Wrong. Wrong on many levels.
Firstly, the cut of pork really does matter. I used pork tenderloin (already cut up — weird, I know — from T&T) and it was probably the worst cut I could use. Why? Tenderloin is lean(er) and lean = dry. So instead of biting into a crisp, juicy bite of pork, I got a somewhat dry piece in my mouth that heavily relied on the sauce and rice that I ate it with.
Secondly, I didn’t pound the pork thin enough. Deep frying or even pan frying should honestly just take a matter of minutes. But since what I used was a thicker cut (I even cut it in half and then pounded it!!!), it was still bloody inside. After browning each side, I had to stick it into the oven to finish off the cooking — not fun when you’re trying to get in a quick meal before jetting off to a double shift.
And lastly, from what I’ve read, tonkatsu should be double fried. This is to get that extra crunch on the outside and to make it extra juicy on the inside. Double fail.
Sigh. I definitely learned a lot from this experience. However, I do not blame the recipe. I have only myself to blame due to my own adjustments. The only thing I would absolutely change would be to season the meat and/or the flour and/or panko mixture. It was bland… blah!
You win this time, tonkatsu.
Tonkatsu (adapted from Just One Cookbook)
What you’ll need:
– 3 boneless tenderloins steaks
– 1 egg, beaten
– 1/3 cup all purpose flour
– 1 cup panko
– Ghee, for frying (as needed)
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– 1 tbsp Ketchup
– 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
– 1 1/8 tsp. sugar
What you’ll need to do:
1. Place the egg, flour, and panko into three separate bowls. Set aside.
2. Pound your meat until it is 1/2″ thin (I would try to go thinner if possible, perhaps 1/4″ thin and also season it afterwards).
3. Dip your pork into the flour, then egg, then panko. Repeat until all pieces of pork are breaded.
4. In a medium saucepan, heat the ghee until melted and hot.
5. Carefully place the pork into the pan and brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes each.
6. If it’s not cooked fully, throw into the oven at 400F for 5-7 minutes or until no longer bloody instead. Place on paper towels so drain the fat.
7. For the tonkatsu sauce, whisk all the ingredients together.
8. Serve with hot white rice. Makes 6 servings.