Tonkatsu is a Japanese breaded, boneless pork cutlet deep-fried in oil.
The exterior comes out very crunchy; inside it is very soft and moist.
The cutlet will be ½ to ¾ inches (1 to 2 cm) thick. In a restaurant, you get to specify what grade of pork cutlet you want. The best is considered that from the Berkshire Black Pig.
You dredge the cutlet in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in very coarse dried breadcrumbs (called “Panko” in Japanese), then refrigerate for at least ½ hour, then deep-fry.
It is served with Tonkatsu Sauce, lemon and Japanese mustard. In Nagoya, it is served with a miso-based sauce instead of Tonkatsu Sauce.
It is also accompanied by grated cabbage (which has been soaked in water to crisp it), rice and miso soup.
You squeeze some lemon juice over your cutlet, and dip each piece as you eat it in the mustard.
There is a Japanese chain of restaurants (over 230 as of 2006) called “Tonkatsu Wako” that specializes in Tonkatsu.
Originated in the 1930s.
“Ton” means Pork” in Japanese; “katsu” means “cutlet.”