Tonkatsu, Chicken katsu or Anything-Katsu is a Japanese fried food made with Panko breadcrumbs. Lighter, crispier and flakier Panko will bring ordinary breaded food into Japanese restaurant quality territory. You don’t have Panko in your pantry? No problems. Let’s make it.
What is Panko?
Panko is basically bread crumbs. It is a Japanese word. “Pan” is bread and “Ko” means flour, meal, dust or powder. Genuine Japanese panko crumbs are made from Japanese white bread called “Shokupan” without crust.
Panko vs Bread crumbs
So what is the difference between Panko and Breadcrumbs? Because Japanese panko is made from white bread without crust, it is lighter and flakier in texture and more coarse than regular breadcrumbs. Also because it is made from bread without crust, it is more white in colour as opposed to brownish breadcrumbs. Thus it absorbs less oil and grease and makes deep fried foods less heavy.
Where to buy Panko?
Since more people know about Panko and it gained popularity, it is available from major supermarkets. Major brands that make Panko are Kikkoman and Progresso. Also they are available from any Asian/Japanese markets. It is kind of dried food so is available Online too.
How to make it at home
Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find these special breadcrumbs at your local supermarket. The good news is that it is quite simple and easy to make and you only require one ingredient; white bread. It does not have to be Japanese bread. I made it from a cheap white bread loaf that I bought from a local supermarket.
1. Taking moisture out of the bread
The first step of making homemade bread crumbs is to remove moisture out of bread. You can do this by leaving slices of bread for a few days on the kitchen bench without any cover, using microwave for a couple of minutes or using frozen bread.
2. Making the bread into crumbs
There are a couple ways to do this process. One way is to use a grater or you can use a food processor. I have made mine with both methods and find the end result is not much different. So using a food processor is less effort but if you don’t have a food processor, you can use a grater.
Is Panko Gluten Free?
No, as you can see. It is made from wheat bread therefore it is not gluten free. However, you can make gluten free Panko breadcrumbs using gluten free bread.
Panko Crusted Japanese recipes to try
Tonkatsu (deep fried pork) Chicken Katsu (deep fried chicken) Katsu Sando Kushi Katsu Japanese potato croquette (Korokke) Japanese pork cutlets(Hire Katsu) Baked Tonkatsu Katsudon Miso Katsudon Chicken Katsu Curry
Other uses of Panko
Although predominantly used in making Japanese deep fried dishes, it makes perfect toppings for macaroni cheese and many casserole dishes. Also it is often used as a binding agent for hamburgers and meatloaves.
How to store the panko bread crumbs
If you make it bulk and have some left over, place the breadcrumbs in a ziplock bag. It will store for about a month in the freezer.
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- 6 slices white bread *1
- Leave slices of white bread on a tray without any cover on kitchen bench for a few day. *2
- When the bread dried out, make crumbs using a grater or pulse in a food processor until it makes coarse breadcrumbs.