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Thursday, October 16, 2014

[RECIPE] Baked Tonkatsu - Japanese Pork Cutlet

My children love this Japanese pork cutlet dish - tonkatsu. Very often, it is paired with Japanese rice and a side of salad. We don't have this very often when we eat out. Not so much because it is unhealthy (cos it's deep fried), it can be quite costly to eat a good quality one too.

I honestly didn't think it would be so easy to create this dish at home. What's more, it is baked and yet able to maintain the crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside? I was amazed and very impressed with the recipe I adapted from JustOneCookBook. My husband was even more impressed that not a single drop of oil was used and we all ate it without guilt!

As advised in the blog post, for a successful crispy baked tonkatsu, pork slices should not be too thick, otherwise it will take a long time to cook it through in the oven. I've kept mine roughly about less than 1.5cm thick. Let the skilled butcher do the slicing for you.

Most most importantly, I find that it is the pre-cooked bread crumbs that made this oil-free tonkatsu possible. Pre-cooking the bread crumbs would mean that there's no need to baste or spray your pork cutlets in oil and wait for it to turn golden brown while it's baking in the oven. How clever is this!

Preparation time : 15 minutes  Cooking time :  20 minutes  Serves : 4-5
Set oven temperature to 180 degree 

Ingredients :
- 1.5cups of bread crumbs (get Japanese bread crumbs. Can be found along designated Japanese condiment aisle at the supermarket)
- 8 pcs of pork loin, about the size of your palm. I've chosen to use shoulder collar meat cos I think we can afford a little fat in the meat, which would make a juicier option.
-salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1/2 cup plain flour, on flat plate
- 2 eggs, beaten

Method :
1) Toast the bread crumbs on pan on medium heat till golden brown. The original recipe calls for oil to be used while doing this. I chose to skip this step instead. It still came out nicely toasted. This took about 5 minutes or so. Do keep an eye on this step because it can burn quite fast if left unattended. When it's done, transfer to a flat dish to cool.

2) Score the meat - this step ensures that it stays nice and flat during cooking time, otherwise it may curl up. Then pound the meat (with the back of your knife if you don't have a meat pounder) which will give you a tender finish when it's cooked.

3) Sprinkle small amount of salt and pepper on each piece of meat before coating it in flour. Shake off the excess flour before dipping into the beaten egg and then coat it with the bread crumbs. Do the same for each piece.
4) Place the ready coated meat onto the baking tray, lined with baking paper. Cook for about 20 minutes, or till the meat is no longer pink inside.

5) Drizzle or prepare a dip to enhance the flavor of the tonkatsu. We used barbeque sauce here. Enjoy!

Till the next post, have a wonderful day!


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