Tonkatsu sauce is as popular in Japan as ketchup is in the United States, for good reason: It delivers the perfect sweet, tangy counterpoint to crispy breaded pork cutlets. In this recipe, blending prunes into a homemade tonkatsu sauce balances the savory flavors. Instead of the traditional way of cooking the cutlets by pan-frying, these are baked for a lighter result.
Yield: 4 servings
1/2 cup / 100 g Prune Bits or Pitted Whole Prunes
45 ml / 3 tablespoons ketchup
15 ml / 1 tablespoon soy sauce
15 ml / 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
23 ml / 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
15 g / 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
10 ml / 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
.5 g / 1/4 teaspoon allspice
15 ml / 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
120 g / 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
35 g/ 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
4 thin-cut boneless pork chops or pork loin cutlets (about 455 g / 1 pound total)
4 lemon wedges
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Have 3 shallow bowls or rimmed plates ready.
To make the sauce: Pour boiling water over prunes to cover and let soak 5 minutes. Strain, saving 1/2 cup soaking water. In a blender or food processor, puree prunes with soaking water until nearly smooth. Add remaining sauce ingredients and blend until smooth (makes about 1 cup sauce).
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the panko and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to one of the bowls. Beat egg in another bowl. Put the flour in remaining bowl.
To prepare the pork: Place each piece between two pieces of plastic wrap. With the flat side of a mallet, pound to 1/4-inch thick. Dredge each piece in the flour, followed by the egg, followed by the panko, pressing pork into the panko to ensure each piece is evenly coated. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. For each serving, slice pork into strips and place on a plate with 1/2 cup cabbage a lemon wedge. Spread a little sauce over the top and serve more on the side for dipping.