Pork Tonkatsu

This Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet dish uses either pork loin or tenderloin breaded in panko flakes that absorbs less oil and provide a crispy and lighter coating while maintaining a juicy interior. It was originally inspired by western cuisine and is popular with students in Japan preparing for an exam or competition (‘katsu’ sounds like the word for ‘to win’). For best results, we recommend foregoing the premade ‘bulldog’ tonkatsu sauce and making yours from scratch with our recipe. 



Prep time 30 minutes (plus chilling)
Cook 1 hour 50 minutes (plus resting) 


  • 700g pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon shiro miso (white miso)
  • Plain (all-purpose) flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, for dusting
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 80g panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Roasted sesame seeds, to serve

Tonkatsu sauce:

  • 185ml (3/4 cup) tomato ketchup
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) Worcestershire sauce
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) rice vinegar, plus extra to finish
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) light soy sauce
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) mirin
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 granny smith apple, coarsely grated
  • 3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch each of ground cloves, ground allspice and ground cinnamon

Cabbage salad:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 225g (3 cups) thinly shaved white cabbage
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced

1. To make the tonkatsu sauce, put all of the ingredients in a saucepan with 100ml of water over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1-1 1/4 hours until well flavoured and thickened. Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, then add a dash of extra vinegar to brighten the flavour.

2. Cut pork into 4 even pieces and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to flatten each piece to an even 1.5cm thickness.

3. Brush the pork with miso. Put the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Working with one piece of pork at a time, dust pork in flour, then egg, shaking off excess. Dip into the breadcrumbs, pressing to evenly cover the pork. Lay the crumbed pork on a tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes to help set the coating.

4. Preheat the oil in a large deep saucepan to 170°C or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 20 seconds. Deep-fry the pork, one piece at a time, turning occasionally, for 4–5 minutes until golden brown and just cooked to medium. Drain on a wire rack lined with paper towel. Rest for 5 minutes.

5. While the pork rests, make the cabbage salad. Whisk the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a small bowl to combine. Combine the cabbage and spring onion in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing to taste and toss lightly.

6. To serve, slice the pork across the grain, transfer to a plate and serve drizzled with tonkatsu sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds, with the cabbage salad.