Pork tonkatsu curry

This next recipe is for a modified pork tonkatsu – the Japanese deep fried pork cutlet served with a curry (or kare) sauce. The Japanese have marvellous ways of appropriating cuisines – I remember reading about how the best full English breakfasts in the world can be found in Japanese five star hotels, where they prepare and execute the dish with such precision that it has become a Japanese specialty in itself. Therefore I was not surprised upon researching katsu curry to find that curry was introduced to Japan via the British during the latter 19th century, during which time of course the Brits were in occupation in India. The Japanese adopted curry, twice removed from its source, and for a long time it was considered a ‘Western’ cuisine. For this reason, katsu curry tastes very different to the curry you might taste in India.

In my view the best way to get that distinctive Japanese curry flavour right is to get it out of the packet, which is fairly easy to do as all big supermarkets have a Japanese food section. I used a well known brand, Golden Curry packet sauce. For the pork, I had some Gloucester Old Spot pork chops from my Farmison meat box, and although ideally they should have been thin cutlets, I thought it worked well – it rounded the whole dish off with an English twist on tonkatsu. A nice little joke, if you think about it 😉

You will need:

  • Two pork cutlets or chops
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • One egg
  • One packet of Golden Curry sauce
  • Two carrots
  • Vegetable oil for frying

It’s very simple to make. Prepare your pork chops – beat an egg, and prepare a plate with Panko breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper. Dip the chops in the egg and then the breadcrumbs, ensuring they are fully coated. To cook, simply heat a shallow amount of vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the chops for 5 minutes either side.

Meanwhile, prepare the Golden Curry sauce – I only used half the quantity. You simply add a cup of boiling water and simmer and stir the sauce until smooth, adding more water where necessary.

Finally, cut some carrots into flowers for garnishing purposes. I do this with a knife, sculpting V shapes out of the carrot lengthways. Finely slice into discs.

My chops weren’t as fully breaded and crispy as you might get in a restaurant, but that was fine – I’m not a fan of deep frying. To serve tonkatsu you should slice it, serve on rice and top with curry sauce. Some people like the rice to be drowning, while some like me prefer it in moderation.

The chops were delicious – a fuller, ‘red’-er flavour than your average pork cutlet. It came with a big rind of fat that I didn’t eat, but this kept everything nice and tender.

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2 thoughts on “Pork tonkatsu curry

  1. A famous aspect of Japanese curry is that there is usually at least one tiny addition that seems very un-curry like. Just as the fifties in America was full of every barbequer frantically coming up with their own prized BBQ recipe, (which is still quite popular to do I suppose, though it seems to me that it mainly occurs in the countryside), the Japanese also have a bit of a cult about creating unique curries. One that I particularly remember is a tiny dash of cocoa, which helps amplify the famous ‘umami’ aspect of flavor. (I mean aspect of flavor like sour, sweet, etc)

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