Tonteki: juicy pork steaks in sweet garlic sauce. How yummy it is? Well, a good tonteki can proudly compete against a premium beef!
Tonteki was the theme of one of the Netflix episodes of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (also known as 深夜食堂 – Shinya Shokudo). It is the very first dish presented at the beginning of the main trailer on YouTube:
The name tonteki comes from the junction of two different words: the ‘ton’ (トン) part comes from 豚, which means ‘pork’; the ‘teki’ (テキ) comes from ステーキ, which is how you write ‘steak’ in Katakana. Pork + steak = pork steak, tonteki!
Although it feels like a typical yōshoku menu item, tonteki actually has roots in a Chinese food restaurant in Mie Prefecture, Yokkaichi city: Lai Lai Ken. This city carries local dishes with a lot of pride – you can find big websites solely dedicated to the dish (they even have a very organized tonteki map list!).
One of the main characteristics of tonteki is the strong, garlic-flavored Worcestershire sauce. That unusual glove-shaped meat cut is actually a very traditional and reasoned technique, allowing you to use very thick cuts of pork without undercooking the center.
Fried garlic and cabbage are the most common sides, plus some Japanese mayonnaise as an extra dressing. Enjoy!
- 1 thick pork steak (around 200g)
- 1 garlic clove, cut in slices
- 4tbsp of shoyu
- 2tbsp of oyster sauce
- 2tbsp of mirin
- 1tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
- Trim down the excess fat off the steak.
- Cut the steak like a glove, in large strips while keeping the meat joined at one side.
- Season the steak with salt and pepper.
- Add 1tbsp of oil to a frying pan and set it on low heat, then add the garlic. Lightly tilt the pan so the garlic gets deep fried in oil.
- When the garlic is golden brown, remove it from the oil and drain in paper towel.
- Grill the meat until half done, using the same oil you have just used to fry the garlic.
- Reserve the meat and add the ingredients for the sauce to the pan.
- Let the sauce reduce until evaporating about half of the contents.
- Put the steak back and cook everything until done.
- Plate the dish with shredded cabbage, pour the sauce over the steak then finally finish it with the garlic.
I usually use the leftover sauce and mix it with a portion of cooked rice and cabbage. It’s pretty good!
Some people serve tonteki with whole fried garlic cloves instead of slices.