A few weeks ago, a friend (one who is not only a generous host, but a fantastic cook!) had us over for dinner. He made a panko crusted pork tenderloin that was similar to what he has eaten several times while on his travels to Japan on business. The Japanese call it Tonkatsu. I am telling you, these things were KILLER! I watched him make them and figured that I could easily come up with my own version.
My family has been wanting me to make them ever since, but there was only one thing holding me back. I've never deep fried anything in my life. That's right, no fried chicken, no homemade donuts, no french fries. I've sauteed many a meal, but to to heat more than 1/4 inch of grease...that's one thing I've never done in all my years of experimenting in the kitchen.
Why? A few reasons. One, it's messy... although one could say that frying up bacon on the stove is just as messy and that would be correct. And two... I never could figure out what to do with the leftover grease/oil after you were done frying. And given that nobody in my family (other than the skinny, bony old dog) is in need of any extra caloric intake, it just wasn't high on the priority list.
But I did it, it was easy, and wowza were they good. I put my own twist in the recipe, so it's just a bit different than my friend's recipe.
Panko Crusted Pork Cutlets
- 1 - 1.25 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut diagonally into slices
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp hot sauce (or tabasco sauce)
- about 2 C panko bread crumbs
- canola oil
- wax paper
- Tonkatsu Sauce (optional)
Take each slice of pork that's been cut on the diagonal and place it between two slices of wax paper (or parchment paper). Pound the pork uniformely until you have a cutlet approximately 1/4" thick (I used a rolling pin. see photo).
When ready to cook, heat about 2" of oil in a pan with a heavy bottom. While the oil is heating, mix the eggs and hot sauce and add some freshly ground black pepper. Put the panko crumbs in a separate bowl. Sprinkle each cutlet with salt and pepper Dunk each cutlet into the egg mixture, then into the crumbs, then back into the egg and once again into the crumbs. Set aside. Coat all the pork with the breading.
Your oil is hot enough when you toss a few bread crumbs into the oil and it bubbles and doesn't splatter. Add pork to the hot oil, cooking about two minutes on each side. Don't put more than about three cutlets in the oil at once, or the heat will drop and they'll turn out soggy and soak up too much oil. Also be careful that they don't get too brown too fast. If you think they're browning up too quickly, turn the heat down a bit. I pulled them out when they were golden brown on each side, like the photo above. When you remove them from the oil, set them on paper towels to soak up any of the excess oil.
Serve cutlets with the Tonkatsu Sauce. I have trouble finding it in stores around here, so we skipped it. I did find a quick recipe for it online this morning, so you can make your own if you're really motivated: Tonkatsu Sauce. If you live in the Cincinnati area, I know that they have Tonkatsu Sauce at Jungle Jim's (just one more reason to trek up to Jungle Jim's!).
I hope you'll give these a try, they are really quite easy and SO good. Given that they're fried, I wouldn't eat them every day, but everything in moderation is fine, right?
Have a great day! Eat well!