Tonkatsu Bento Box
with rice / edamame / cucumber salad
We're celebrating the Olympics this week and next with meals inspired from around the globe. Tonight's meal from 2021 Summer Olympics host country Japan kicks off the games!
Smarts #1: Don’t forget to season the pork well with salt and pepper before coating it in breading. That’s the only stage where it will be seasoned.
Smarts #2: We wanted to fill the bento box with plenty of delicious options, but don't hesitate to skip one or more components if you prefer to simplify the meal.
- Rice, uncooked white or brown - 1 cup
- Pork chops, boneless - 4
- Flour, all-purpose - 3/4 cup
- Eggs - 2, whisked
- Panko breadcrumbs - 1 1/2 cups
- Oil, cooking - 3 Tbsp
- Ketchup - 4 Tbsp
- Oyster sauce - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Worcestershire sauce - 1 Tbsp
- Sugar - 2 tsp
- Ginger, fresh - 1 1/2 tsp, grated
- Vinegar, rice - 2 Tbsp
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 2 Tbsp
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Sesame seeds, white - 1/2 tsp
- Cucumbers - 6 oz, diced
- Lettuce, romaine - 1 heart, chopped (sub butterhead lettuce)
- Edamame, preferably in the pods - 12 oz
- Salt (opt) - for topping
- Rice - For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make sauce - Whisk together ketchup, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar (portion for sauce). (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make dressing - Grate ginger. Whisk together ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar (portion for salad). Add oil (portion for salad) while whisking. Stir in sesame seeds. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Pork chops - Slice in half to thin (skip if the pork chops are already quite thin). Place plastic wrap or parchment over pork and pound with a tenderizer until pork chops are an even ¾” / 1.9 cm thick. Season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Cucumbers / Lettuce - Prep as directed.
- Prep breading stations - Set out three shallow bowls. Place flour in one, whisk eggs in the second, and place panko in the third.
- Heat a skillet or frying pan with oil (for pork) over low-medium heat.
- Working with one piece of pork at a time, dredge pork in flour, shaking off excess. Dip pork in whisked egg to coat and then press firmly into panko to coat in breadcrumbs. Sear pork on both sides until breading is golden brown and pork is cooked through (145F / 63C in the center), 6 to 12 minutes total. Do this in batches until all of the pork is cooked, adding more oil if the pan looks dry.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest.
- While pork rests, place edamame in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high until warm, 1 to 4 minutes (use the shorter end of the time if the edamame is refrigerated and the longer end if frozen). Sprinkle with some salt if you’d like.
- If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
- Toss cucumbers and lettuce in dressing.
- Slice pork and serve over rice with sauce for drizzling over top. Enjoy salad and edamame on the side.
Pork came out great. Added some rice vinegar to sauce to cut the ketchup a bit more.1 Helpful
Pretty easy and tasty! Pork was was good- sauce didn’t need sugar with all the ketchup. Salad and edamame were good too. Subbed cauliflower rice.0 Helpful
Was really good! Word of advice, even if you think your pork pork chops are already on the thinner side, you should probably slice them in half still. My mistake.0 Helpful
This meal was amazing, we loved all the different flavors!0 Helpful
So time consuming, but it was delicious! Definitely a weekend meal.0 Helpful
I was afraid that this was going to take longer than it did. It was a lot of dishes, but worth it for something so tasty every once in a while. The pork was nice and crisp on the outside, the tonkatsu sauce was not bad for so few ingredients, and the salad was refreshing. Both kids ate at least a bite of everything. Yay!0 Helpful
Subbed bread for the rice0 Helpful