Tonkatsu is a form of pork cutlet, where pork filleted steak or pork loin are mixed with flour egg and breadcrumbs and deep fried together. It is a popular food dish in Japan, originating as early as the late 19th century and was inspired by Western cooking and food preparation.
Tonkatsu has a variety of serving methods. Some people eat it in sandwiches, others in a bowl with rice, and still others eat it with Japanese curry. It is served with Japanese Worcestershire sauce and shredded cabbage.
It has also evolved to have several different meat variations, and some form of Katsu is now made with Chicken, ham, fish and other meats – generally prepared using the same methods as Tonkatsu. Ton means “pork” in Japanese, so every variation of the meal has a name that ends in Katsu, to signify that it is a friend food.
The thickness is supposed to be approximately 3 to 4 inches thick, and weigh about 150 grams. The meat is then supposed to be wrapped in salt, pepper, flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs in that order. A large pot with lard is supposed to be preheated to 250-275 degrees, but not hotter as this can take the moisture out of the dish.
You want the texture of the skin to be thick but not hard.
The idea of “Katsu” had already existed, and it was usually meat friend or roasted with a small amount of oil. But deep fried food, like Tonkatsu, was not yet known.
Though its origins are not 100% clear, it is believed that the Tonkatsu began at a small restaurant in Ginza in 1890 that was known to serve Western inspired food. Japan’s pork cutlet is eaten with a fork, which was generally unheard of at the time in Japan.
Even though it was inspired by Western dishes, it has since become far more influenced by traditional Japanese dishes. Often times the Tonkatsu, which was originally meant to reflect Western cuisine, is seen being served with rice and miso soup.