Hirekatsu, Japanese Pork Tenderloin Cutlet

Hirekatsu, Japanese Pork Tenderloin CutletHirekatsu is the tenderloin version of Tonkatsu.  “Hire” means filet and Hirekatsu is much leaner than it’s Tonkatsu cousin.  It has always been the dish I would order at my favorite Tonkatsu-ya, restaurants in Japan that specialize in all things fried in panko.  When my family moved back to Japan (the second time while growing up) I was fourteen years old and did not want anything to do with most Japanese food.  I always tried to be so American when I was a kid, trying to hide the Asian part of me to “fit-in” with my friends.  It’s kind of funny to me now when I look back and remember those times.

There was one dish that my friends and I did eat often though and that was Hirekatsu.  Hirekatsu is pork and it was fried so to my friends and I it was safe and kind of like an American pork chop, only much better of course.  My family had our favorite Tonkatsu-ya that was walking distance from our house.  They had the plastic food displayed in the window like most Japanese restaurants and I would always order the Hirekatsu.  At first I did try the Tonkatsu, which is made with the loin cut and has much more fat on it.  In Japan they do not cut the fat off the loin before they make Tonkatsu and many people enjoy eating it that way.  Well, being a teenager that kind of grossed me out when I first bit into it so after that it was only Hirekatsu for me.

Here in Seattle there are a few Japanese restaurants that have Tonkatsu on the menu but most do not have Hirekatsu.  I really enjoy making my own Hirekatsu at home.  I know what kind of ingredients are going into the dish and where everything comes from.  I always try and buy fresh and local ingredients when I cook and I think that makes the biggest difference when cooking a delicious dish at home.

Japanese porkIngredients:

Hirekatsu, Japanese Pork Tenderloin Cutlet ingredients1 large pork tenderloin (1 tenderloin yields about 8 pieces which serves 2-3 people)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour for dredging
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko (bread crumbs)
Vegetable or Canola oil for deep frying
Shredded green cabbage, for serving
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Tonkatsu sauce, for dipping
Karashi, Japanese hot mustard (optional)

Hirekatsu, Japanese Pork Tenderloin CutletPreparation:

Hirekatsu, Japanese Pork Tenderloin CutletSlice pork tenderloin into 1 1/2 inch medallions.  Pound to flatten to about 3/4 of an inch.  Salt and pepper both sides of the pork.  Dredge each piece in flour, then dip into beaten eggs and finally into the panko to coat both sides.  Press firmly so the panko coats the meat well.

Heat a large, heavy bottom pot, filled about halfway with oil, until about 350 degrees.  Lay 3 or 4 pieces of pork in the hot oil.  Deep-fry until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, turning them once or twice.  Drain on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with sea salt.  Cut the pork into bite-size strips.

Arrange the pork on a platter with shredded cabbage and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve the sauce on the side for dipping, or pour it over the pork and cabbage.  The hot mustard adds a nice kick.

Hirekatsu, Japanese Pork Tenderloin Cutlet
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large pork tenderloin (1 tenderloin yields about 8 pieces which serves 2-3 people)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko (bread crumbs)
  • Vegetable or Canola oil for deep frying
  • Shredded green cabbage, for serving
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Tonkatsu sauce, for dipping
  • Karashi, Japanese hot mustard (optional)
Instructions
  1. Slice pork tenderloin into 1½ inch medallions.
  2. Pound to flatten to about ¾ of an inch. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork.
  3. Dredge each piece in flour, then dip into beaten eggs and finally into the panko to coat both sides.
  4. Press firmly so the panko coats the meat well.
  5. Heat a large, heavy bottom pot, filled about halfway with oil, until about 350 degrees.
  6. Lay 3 or 4 pieces of pork in the hot oil. Deep-fry until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, turning them once or twice.
  7. Drain on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Cut the pork into bite-size strips.
  9. Arrange the pork on a platter with shredded cabbage and garnish with lemon wedges.
  10. Serve the sauce on the side for dipping, or pour it over the pork and cabbage. The hot mustard adds a nice kick.

 

Comments

  1. Oh yum! At first I did think this was tonkatsu too. These are like smaller pieces of crispy yumminess! I also love hearing about your experiences in Japan and States. It’s an interesting view into the 2 cultures. I still have some panko leftover and will def try this!

  2. Thank you always for the nice comments! The good thing about using pork tenderloin is it cooks up much faster. You can use this same recipe for chicken if you’d like.

  3. what a delicious blog! here is so many inspirations!

    have a nice time,
    Paula

  4. Thank you so much for the kind comment! I hope you try some of the recipes 🙂

  5. Now I know the different between tonkatsu and hirekatsu hehehe … 😀 Looks so crispy outside and tender inside, love it! Your recipe always so interesting yummy, makes me wanna try to make it (^.^)

  6. I’ve been looking forward to you posting this recipe, it looks so delicious. I like leaner meats as well, too much fat creeps me out. Lol.

    • Thank you for the comment. Yes, I prefer leaner meat too, that’s why I wanted to post this. Many people have never tried it with the fillet. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  7. Absolutely mouthwatering! I love pork tenderloin, what a great way to prepare it!

  8. Thank you Susan for the sweet comment. It’s perfect for bento too 🙂

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