Japanese Pork Cutlet (Tonkatsu) Curry

This fried golden brown pork cutlet paired with a flavorful curry is done in less than an hour, making it the perfect comfort food.
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Prep Time
15 Mins
Active Time
45 Mins

Tonkatsu Curry is a popular Western-inspired dish that features breaded, deep-fried pork loin served alongside Japanese-style curry, which probably isn’t like most Asian curries you may be familiar with. Curry was first brought over to Japan by the British in the form of stews spiced with curry powder. S&B Foods, the producer of Golden Curry, a popular Japanese curry mix, later developed curry roux (a mixture of flour and fat used to thicken sauces) in block form so that it can easily be used by homecooks.

This brought us the Japanese curry we know today: A thick, sumptuous stew that typically includes onions, potatoes, and carrots. It’s not as vibrantly spicy as Indian curry and Thai curry, or creamy like Filipino curry—its flavor profile leans towards umami, is mildly spicy, and even sometimes a little sweet.

Tonkatsu Curry is a staple at any homestyle Japanese restaurant, alongside other classic dishes like katsudon, gyudon and karaage. While it may seem like a complicated restaurant dish, it’s actually fairly simple to make. With just a few ingredients and a little bit of effort, you’ll have a satisfying and comforting dinner on the table in less than an hour.

How to fry the perfect Tonkatsu

Set yourself up for success by butterflying your pork loins to get nice, flat cutlets that are perfect for frying. To butterfly your pork loin, press it flat against your cutting board with your non-dominant hand. Then, with a long, sharp knife, slice lengthwise along the middle of the loin, but make sure not to cut the whole way through. You should be able to flatten the cutlet into a butterfly shape when you’re done!

Another quick tip: Make incisions in the edges of the pork so it doesn’t curl up while frying. Cut small, evenly spaced slits along the top and bottom of your cutlet. This should keep it nice and flat as it fries. Then, flatten and tenderize the cutlet by pounding it lightly with the back of your knife. You can also pound it gently using a rolling pin.

The curry

You might think that using instant curry roux is cheating, but it’s actually pretty authentic. Most Japanese households use store-bought blocks of curry roux in their curries. These blocks make it super easy to put together a meal—just dissolve them into a boiling pot of water and vegetables, and you’ll have a satisfying stew in 10-15 minutes.

Curry roux comes in many different brands, with varying flavors and spice levels. Our recipe uses Medium Hot Golden Curry, but you can use whatever’s available to you!

For Pork Cutlet

  • 2 pcs pork loin
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 cups Japanese panko or regular breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • neutral oil, for deep-frying

For Curry Gravy

  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, cubed
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cubes Japanese Golden Curry Mix

Prep pork cutlets: Using a sharp knife, cut small, evenly spaced incisions into the top and bottom edges of the butterflied pork cutlet. This will prevent it from curling while deep frying. Then, pound the cutlet with the back of your knife to flatten and tenderize the meat. Season both sides of the cutlet with salt.


Dredge: Put flour, beaten eggs, and panko in 3 separate wide containers or bowls. Working one cutlet at a time, place pork into the flour, pressing down to make sure it is evenly coated on all sides. Shake off excess flour, then dip the pork in the egg. Make sure all sides are coated with egg, leaving no dry spots. Lastly, transfer pork into the panko. Turn pork to coat. Pile some of the panko over the cutlet and gently press down with your hands, getting as much breadcrumbs as you can into the coating. Set breaded cutlet aside, and repeat with the rest of your cutlet/s.


Make curry gravy: Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add carrot and potatoes and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add 3 cups of water to the pot. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add curry cubes and stir to dissolve. Season with black pepper and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are cooked through, set the pot aside and keep warm.


Deep-fry cutlets: Heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. The oil should be at 350°F on an instant-read thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a piece of panko into the hot oil. If it sizzles and floats within 5 seconds, it’s ready. Add breaded cutlet and fry until crispy and golden brown, 3-4 minutes.. Flip cutlet and fry the other side, another 3–4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil. Season cutlet lightly with salt.


Serve: Add rice on one side of a plate and curry gravy on the other. Slice pork tonkatsu and carefully lay on top of rice and curry. Serve hot.

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