“A kitchen knife… Wonder if it’s a culinary battle he wants.”
—Ignis Scientia, FFXV
For the tomato sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion or 2 small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 head of garlic (about 8–12) cloves, peeled
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the cutlet sauce:
- ½ cup homemade tomato sauce (see recipe below)
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
For the breaded cutlet:
- 4 boneless pork loin chops, 4 to 5 ounces each, about 1 inch thick
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus more for frying
- 1½ cups Japanese-style panko bread crumbs
- Thinly shredded raw cabbage
- Lemon wedges
To make the tomato sauce, heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, spices, and few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered.
Remove from heat and transfer carefully to a blender. Process until smooth. Let the sauce cool before transferring to a tightly sealed container and refrigerating for up to 1 month, or freezing for up to 4 months.
Next, make the cutlet sauce by whisking together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Finally, to make the cutlets, begin by removing the extra fat from the pork loin chops. Make small slits all over the chops with the tip of your knife, including on the connective tissue between the meat and the fat.
Place one of the cutlets inside a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag and pound gently to ¼-inch thickness, using a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy skillet. Season well on both sides with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the other three cutlets.
Arrange three wide, shallow bowls in a row. Place the flour in the first bowl. Whisk together the eggs and grapeseed oil in the second bowl. Place the panko in the third bowl. Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour with your left hand and shake off excess. Transfer to the second bowl, keeping your hand dry, and use your right hand to turn the cutlet, coating both sides in egg. Lift and allow excess liquid to drain off, then transfer to the third bowl. Use your left hand to scoop panko on top of the cutlet and press gently to ensure an even layer of crumbs on both sides. Transfer to a clean plate and repeat with the other three cutlets.
Heat ½ inch grapeseed oil in a large wok or cast-iron skillet. Heat over high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 350 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature by dropping a panko crumb into the oil. If it floats to the surface immediately, the oil is ready.
Using tongs, gently lower each cutlet into the oil. Fry until the bottom sides are set, about 2 minutes. Flip and fry until the other sides are set, about 2 more minutes. Flip again and cook about 3 minutes more, until golden brown on both sides.
Transfer cutlets to a cooling rack set over paper towels to drain. Season immediately with kosher salt. Cut each cutlet into three pieces by pressing the knife directly down instead of back and forth, to ensure the breading won’t come off. Then cut the larger pieces in half, using the same method, so that you end up with 6 strips of meat per cutlet.
Arrange a mound of cabbage on two plates. Divide the cutlets between the plates, placing the strips of meat on top of the cabbage. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and cutlet sauce.