Extra Helpings: Panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)


Jon asks: What is panko? You always refer to it as “Japanese Bread Crumbs” in your recipes, but what is it exactly?

Panko originated (sort of) in Japan and is made from specially baked, crustless white bread. The coarsely ground crumbs are larger and more delicate because the crumb itself is slivered and oblong, instead of rounded like traditional breadcrumbs.Election_Still_394

This light and airy crumb shape coats the food instead of compressing on to it. This keeps fried or baked food from absorbing oil so it stays at its crunchy best. Food tastes lighter and less heavy.

Many larger supermarkets have panko in the “ethnic” aisle. You can almost always find it in Asian markets, as well.

Oh, and when I say panko “sort of” originated in Japan, it’s because the Portuguese introduced bread to Japan. The word panko comes from the Portuguese word for bread (pão) and –ko, the Japanese suffix for crumb: pão + ko = panko.

Sorry… Mama’s gone all Tracy Flick again. I’m working on it.

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com