There is no substitute for the classic breading method for making crispy cutlets like this tonkatsu. When buying pork chops, look for the sirloin chop, which is rosier in color and fries into a moister cutlet. Or substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs. With steamed rice and a simple vegetable side this makes a wonderful dinner accompanied by your favorite dipping sauce.
Place the pork chops between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound them to an even 1/2-inch thick. Season the chops with salt and pepper.
Combine the flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a wide mixing bowl. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water in another wide bowl and place the breadcrumbs into yet another bowl. Place a rack on top of a baking sheet.
Working with one chop at a time, dip it into the flour and coat it thoroughly using your "dry" hand. Shake off the excess and drop it into the egg mixture with your dry hand. Using your opposite hand, which is now your "wet" hand, coat the chop completely in the egg mixture. Lift it to let the excess drip off and drop it into the breadcrumbs. Switching back to your dry hand, press the chop into the breadcrumbs to coat it densely on both sides and the edges in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to the rack. Repeat with the remaining chops, continuing to use your dry hand for the flour and breadcrumbs and your wet hand for the egg. Wash your hands thoroughly before proceeding with the recipe. (You can bread the meat up to 1 day in advance and place it in the refrigerator until ready to fry.)
To fry, pour enough oil into your largest skillet to reach a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is hot enough to sizzle when you sprinkle a few stray breadcrumbs into the pan, which will register about 350 degrees F on an deep-fry thermometer.
Slip one chop into the oil at a time to make sure that each chop has room enough to fry freely in the oil. You may have room for all 4 chops, but if it looks crowded, hold back and do a second back.
Fry until the bottom is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Use tongs to flip the chops and fry the second side until evenly golden brown, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the cooked chops back to the rack to drain and fry the next batch, if necessary. You can keep the fried chops warm in a low oven until ready to serve.
To serve, transfer the chops to a cutting board and slice at an angle into strips before serving with your favorite dipping sauce.
Copyright 2021 Lynne Curry