Donkatsu, a Koreanized version of Japanese style pork cutlet, Tonkatsu (not to be mistaken with tonkotsu ramen) was my childhood favorite dish—but Mom made them only on special occasions. Probably because our kitchen was tiny and frying would stink up the entire house. This is my take on the classic. Roll out the pork loin thin, layer it with perilla leaves and mozzarella cheese, and roll it up like a roulade.
If you are not familiar with perilla, that's ok! Look for it in Asian grocery stores: Sometimes it will be labeled "sesame leaves" (although it is not related to sesame family, Koreans call perilla seeds "wild sesame," hence the name). I do think perilla leaves make this dish stand out; they have slightly grassy notes with a hint of basil and licorice-like flavor, but feel free to experiment with basil or mint! In terms of cheese, I grew up eating lots of mozzarella so it brings all the nostalgia, but you can use any other melty cheese like Gruyère or cheddar! —koreanfusion
Test Kitchen Notes
Seung Hee Lee, aka @koreanfusion, is a recipe developer based in Atlanta, Georgia. —The Editors
Pork and Filling
pork loins (about 3 to 4 oz each, 1/2 inch thick)
slices mozzarella cheese
panko bread crumbs
to 2 cups neutral frying oil
shredded cabbage (for serving, optional)
Calabrian chile paste (or any hot sauce)
Place pork loin in between two pieces of parchment paper. Using the rolling pin, roll out the pork loin thinnest possible. Tip: Use the rolling pin like a meat tenderizer. It will help ease out rolling out the pork!
Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place 2 perilla leaves on the inside of the pork loin, making sure they are completely inside the loin (it is okay if the leaves overlap) and then place mozzarella slice on top.
Roll the meat and secure the opening with toothpick or skewer. Set aside.
Prepare the dredge station, in the order of flour, egg wash, panko.
Dredge the rolled pork in flour, egg wash, then panko. Set aside.
Heat the frying oil to 375°F. place the pork rolls into the hot oil, seamside down. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the bottom half turns golden brown. Flip and cook for another 2 mins. Set aside.
Lower the heat, and let the loin cool down slightly, for about 5 minutes. Bring the oil back up to 375°F and cook the pork again, for about 1 minute each side.
Let the pork cool until it is not too hot to touch. Twist the skewer before pulling them out. Slice into bite size and serve over shredded cabbage with dipping sauces.
To make the dipping sauces, mix Calabrian chile paste with ponzu and serve in a small bowl, and mix mustard and mayonnaise and serve in a small bowl!