These Pork Tonkatsu Bowls are a quick, easy and delicious meal in a bowl. With panko breaded pork cutlets, topped with homemade Tonkatsu sauce, rice and fresh vegetables.
I was first introduced to katsu at my local Japanese restaurant. You may be familiar with Katsu, which is a breaded chicken cutlet. When made with pork, katsu becomes Tonkatsu (a combination of the word for “pig” or pork and “katsu”). Tonkatsu is often served with a Tonkatsu sauce, which is super easy to make at home with common ingredients.
While you can eat Tonkatsu on it’s own (on a plate, with maybe rice and a veg), I sometimes like to make a bowl of it, placing it on top of the rice and adding some fresh vegetables to the mix. I’ve used shredded cabbage here (quite traditional with tonkatsu), along with some fresh cucumber and carrot slices.
Inspired by how my local restaurant pretties up their vegetables, I did a little easy vegetable cutting before adding to the bowl. You don’t need to do that, but if you’d like to, instructions are in the Cook’s Notes below.
If you are new to Tonkatsu, let me assure you that beyond the bit of soy sauce that the pork is dipped in, what we have here is basic breaded pork. On it’s own, quite ordinary and kid-friendly, too. You could easily just enjoy the breaded pork and skip the sauce if you prefer.
That said, I love the Tonkatsu sauce, especially with this breaded pork. It’s really much like an Asian-inspired ketchup. In fact, it starts with ketchup and is pumped up in flavour with Worcestershire and soy sauce, as well as some garlic and ginger. It tends to the salty side (owing to the Worcestershire). I use low-sodium soy sauce for this one. Despite the name, use the Tonkatsu sauce like a condiment, rather than a sauce. Add a little to start and go from there :)
For the prettied up vegetables: For the cucumber, simply cut a 3 or 4-inch piece of seedless cucumber. Using a sharp knife, cut out a wedge (by cutting in a “V” shape) in the sides from end to end. Cut 5 or 6 thin wedges out around the entire outside. Then slice your cucumber into slices as usual. For the carrot, do the same, making smaller wedge cuts around the outside, before slicing into thin slices.
*Safety tip! Safe knife practices mean we should always try to cut with the sharp edge of the blade moving away from us. So make your first cut of the “V” with the sharp edge pointing away, then flip the cucumber or carrot piece around, so you can make your second cut in that same (away from you :) direction.
When it comes to frying up the breaded pork, I always reach for my mid-sized nonstick frying pan. Using a non-stick pan that’s just big enough for the job, means I need to use very little oil to fry. I literally just add enough to make a thin layer over the bottom of the pan.
Want to enjoy Tonkatsu in another form, too? Try my Tonkatsu Sandwiches! Perfect for picnics.
Get the Recipe: Pork Tonkatsu Bowls
For the Tonkatsu Sauce:
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) ketchup
- 3 Tbsp. (44.36 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. (29.57 g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. (29.57 ml) soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. (29.57 ml) mirin, or substitute 1 Tbsp. boiling water with 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. (9.86 ml) garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. (4.93 ml) gingerroot, grated
- 1/4 tsp. (1.23 ml) dry mustard
For the Tonkatsu:
- 6 (6) thin, boneless, "fast-fry" pork loin cutlets
- 2 tsp. (9.86 ml) soy sauce
- 1 clove (1 clove) garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. (2.46 g) salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp. (1.23 g) pepper, divided
- 1/2 cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 (2) eggs
- 2 Tbsp (29.57 ml) water
- 1 3/4 cups (105 ml) panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for cooking
- 2 cups (316 ml) Cooked rice
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced carrots
- Sliced cabbage
- Sesame seeds
- Sliced green onion
- Start your rice cooking.
- To make the Tonkatsu sauce: In a small saucepan, stir together the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, soy sauce, mirin, garlic, ginger and mustard. Heat over medium-high heat and stirring regularly, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is reduced by about 1/4 (7-8 minutes). Let the sauce cool and refrigerate, if making head or, keep warm if you will be serving immediately. (Sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week).
- To make the Tonkatsu:
- Prepare 4 plates. On one plate, combine the soy sauce, garlic and half of the salt and pepper. On another plate, whisk together the flour and the remaining salt and pepper. On the third plate, whisk together the eggs with the water. On the last plate, add the panko crumbs.
- Add one pork piece to the soy sauce plate and toss to coat. Next, dip it into the flour mixture to coat. Shake off excess. Dip into the egg mixture, letting excess drip off. Dip into panko crumbs, patting to coat evenly. Place on a wire cooling rack. Continue until all the pork pieces are breaded.
- In a non-stick skillet just large enough to hold all your pork, add oil until it just covers the bottom of the skillet in a thin, even layer. Heat oil to just a bit more than medium (but not all the way to medium-high). When hot, add the breaded pork to the skillet and cook until the underside is golden, then flip and fry the other side until golden. Remove to a cutting board. Allow to a couple of minutes while your prepare your bowls.
- Fill bowls with hot cooked rice. Add some cucumber and carrot slices to one side and some shredded cabbage on the other side. When pork has cooled slightly, cut cooked pork pieces crosswise into 3/4-inch wide strips. Place pork slices in the centre of the bowls. Drizzle with some warm Tonkatsu sauce and garnish with some sesame seeds and sliced green onion.
What size bowls did you use?
You can use any size bowl you like, Marjorie. I’ve used a soup-bowl sized bowl here.
I made this recipe because I had thin pork chops and no idea what to do with them It was great! Even the picky eaters in the house liked it. Definitely making this again. Thank you!
One question, can I freeze the extra tonkatsu sauce?
So glad you all enjoyed it, Jasmine! And yes, the extra tonkatsu sauce should freeze just fine :) Thanks!
A number of your receipes have intriguing features – many of which catch my attention! Often wondered what to do with those thin pork chops . Decided to pick some up when they were on sale & give your receipe a try. Had the rice, cabbage & carrots. Tried my hand at decorative cucumber slices on the first serving. Think the cucumber wasn’t “fat” enough! The Tonkatsu sauce was very tasty.
So glad you tried this one! It’s one of my favourites. Love the crunchy pork and the Tonkatsu sauce :)
I’ve just made this for dinner and it came out great! It’s not as complicated as I thought, I think it’s going to make it into our regular rotation! Thanks so much
So glad you tried it and enjoyed it! This is one of my favourite dishes :) Thanks!
Such mouthwatering bowls! Now just wishing they would magically appear in front of me for dinner ;)
Thanks Laura :)
This looks like a super delicious, perfectly casual, fresh and easy dinner entreé! Pinning for future reference!
Thanks Chris :)
Such a pretty and easy bowl. I am a huge fan of katsu style fried meats and this tonkatsu is beckoning with that delicious sauce you whipped up!
Thanks Milena! I have to say, the homemade sauce tastes just like the one at the restaurant, too :)
This one is going on the table for my husband – he loves pork like this and I think that sauce has my name on it. Beautiful dish that sounds super tasty!
Thanks Tricia and yes, I think your husband would love this :)
Yes. I’m always wondering what to do with that kind of pork Jennifer! And what a delicious idea. I’ve never heard of this, but looks like I’ve been missing out. On my list. Love those pretty cucumbers too!
Thanks Mary Ann! This is such a delicious dish, especially if you are a fan of crunchy meat :)
Saw on this on IG and had to check out, of course! I love pork tonkatsu and everything about this! This needs to happen ASAP!!
Thanks Dawn! You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make at home :)
Panko breaded pork cutlets? What time’s dinner? ;) And those beautifully cut veggies make the meal extra special, my friend! :)
Thanks Annie :)