This Is The Kind of Breadcrumb You Should Use For the Crispiest Fried Food
It becomes incredibly crunchy when fried.
The Japanese have given the world many delicious dishes: sushi, ramen, tempura, yakitori, and katsu. If you love tonkatsu, that incredibly crunchy exterior is the result of the unique breadcrumbs used. It's called Panko.
These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are unique to Asian cuisine and while it has invaded the rest of the world's dishes, many are still curious how these breadcrumbs are different from the others.
Here's how Panko or Japanese-style breadcrumbs is different from plain breadcrumbs and why you should be using it for every fried dish you will ever make:
The large flakes that make up Panko breadcrumbs are what gives it that fantastic crunch when fried.
1 Panko is made from large dried breadcrumbs.
One look at Panko breadcrumbs and it's obvious it's different from other breadcrumbs. The large pieces that make up these breadcrumbs are the result of being shredded or crumbled instead of being ground finely to a coarse powder. It's a flaky breadcrumb which gives you a nice crunch when you take a bite from a Panko-breaded dish.
2 Panko is not made with bread crust.
You'll notice that all Panko breadcrumbs are white. That's because Panko is made from crustless bread so only the white, fluffy interior of your usual loaf of bread is used. This results in evenly flavored crumbs no matter how crusted you make your katsu. Usual breadcrumbs are traditionally made from bread trimmings, usually the crusts, which gives it a different flavor from Panko.
Traditional breadcrumbs like these are more finely ground.
3 Panko is unseasoned.
Check out the section where the breadcrumbs are in your local supermarket, and you'll find many variants of seasoned breadcrumbs perfect for coating fried food. However, none of these pre-seasoned breadcrumbs will be made from Panko. Panko is sold plain and unseasoned, making it the perfect coating for any dish since it will combine with any seasoning you want to mix in, including desserts.
While you can certainly buy a bag of these breadcrumbs whenever you need to add crunch and crispiness to a fried food, know that you don't always have to, especially if you have leftover bread lying around which have become stale.
In fact, you can make both types of breadcrumbs with stale bread. Just cut off the crust, toast until crisp, then finely grind in either a blender or food processor to make your traditional breadcrumbs. With the stale, crustless bread pieces, coarsely shred or manually break apart the pieces until just large enough to mimic panko. Store both types in resealable bags or airtight containers in the freezer until you crave crunchy fried chicken or pork chops.