Tonkatsu with curry sauce and kohlrabi, kimchi and coriander slaw

Tonkatsu (crumbed pork cutlets) with Japanese curry sauce, rice and slaw.
Tonkatsu (crumbed pork cutlets) with Japanese curry sauce, rice and slaw. Photo: Katrina Meynink

I added a touch of katsu curry powder to the panko crumbs to intensify the flavour. Please don't panic if you can't find it – once your pork cutlet is lovingly doused in katsu curry sauce, no one will be concerned with its absence. I have included a recipe for curry sauce but if you are short on time and motivation, those supermarket Japanese curry sauce mixes are (don't judge me) a great backup.

Ingredients

Curry sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 small bunch of fresh coriander (30g), stems finely chopped (reserve leaves for the slaw, see below)

3 tsp Herbie's katsu curry powder (or 1 tsp each garam masala, medium curry powder and ground turmeric)

2 heaped tbsp plain flour

1 heaped tsp brown sugar

800ml water or coconut milk

Kohlrabi, coriander and kimchi slaw

1 kohlrabi (500g), peeled, trimmed and julienned

1 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

½ cup kimchi

2 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise

Tonkatsu

4 pork cutlets, frenched (300g each)

2 cups panko crumbs

1 tbsp katsu curry powder (optional, I used Herbie's brand)

2 eggs

plain flour for dusting

60ml (¼ cup) rice bran oil

1 tbsp butter

To serve

steamed rice

spring onion, finely sliced

Method

For the curry sauce, place a frying pan over medium-low heat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, coriander stalks and katsu curry powder. Fry for 15 minutes, or until starting to caramelise and soften, stirring often to prevent the veg from catching. Stir in the flour, then the brown sugar. Pour in 800ml of boiling water (or coconut milk for a richer flavour) and leave to reduce to a saucy consistency (about 15 minutes; keep an eye on it). Taste, season and add more sugar if needed. Set aside and keep warm.

For the slaw combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Set aside for the flavours to develop while you prepare the pork.

Combine the panko crumbs and curry powder (if using) in a large shallow bowl. Add the eggs to a separate bowl and whisk lightly.

Lightly dust each of the pork cutlets in flour. Coat the chops in the egg mixture then dredge them through the panko crumbs, using your fingers to gently press the crumbs to the cutlet and to ensure they are generously covered. Set aside on a plate until all four cutlets are crumbed.

Heat half the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add two cutlets and half the butter and turn occasionally until golden and just cooked through (eight to 10 minutes). Transfer to an oven tray lined with baking paper and keep warm, then wipe out the pan and repeat with remaining oil, butter and cutlets.

When ready to serve, strain the curry sauce. Add the rice and a generous scoop of the curry sauce to individual serving bowls. Top each with a cutlet and a quarter of the kohlrabi slaw. Sprinkle with a few slices of spring onion and serve.