Stack two slices of ham and season with freshly ground black pepper.
This is an optional step. To increase the fluffy and crispy texture of panko, spray some water on panko and fluff it up with hands.
Dip the ham into the flour, then shake off the excess. Next, run the ham through the egg to coat it on both sides.
Finally, lay the ham in the panko, turn it over and gently press it into the breading to coat. When you deep fry, panko will become fluffy again so don’t worry about pressing it.
Add the oil in a heavy-bottom pot and heat the oil to 340ºF (170ºC). You will at least need 1 inch of oil. You can check the temperature by inserting wooden chopsticks. When small bubbles appear around the chopsticks, the oil is ready. Or throw a piece of panko into the oil. If the panko immediately comes right back to the surface, oil is ready. Read more on How To Deep Fry Food.
Gently drop the panko-coated ham in the oil and deep fry for 1 minute on the bottom side. Try to maintain the oil temperature by adjusting the heat. If you’re new to deep frying, a deep-fry thermometer is helpful.
Once the bottom side is a nice golden brown, flip and cook for about 45 seconds on the other side. Drain the excess oil and remove from the pot.
Transfer to the wire rack or plate lined with a paper towel. Before you start the next batch, always pick up the crumbs in the oil (they will darken the oil)
Once they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half, and serve immediately. Just like the drama Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, I served Ham Katsu with shredded cabbage, tomato wedges, and Japanese potato salad, garnished with parsley, and put a small amount of Japanese karashi mustard on the plate.