It would be easy to write off panko as just another mass-produced brand of breadcrumb, special only because it comes all the way from Japan. But if we did that, we'd be missing out! After all, not every breadcrumb reaches cult status proportions and finds itself on menus at high end restaurants across the country.
The biggest difference between panko and regular breadcrumbs, even those we make ourselves, is that panko is shredded instead of crumbled. The result is a breadcrumb with a coarse and uneven texture that doesn't compact when used as a coating. Panko crumbs stay crispy, light, and absorb less oil than regular breadcrumbs.
We use panko primarily as a breading for fried food - talk about extra-crunchy! Panko is also great sprinkled on top of macaroni and cheese, as a binder in veggie burgers and regular meat burgers, or just to add texture to dips and salads. Anywhere we want a little extra crunch, panko gets the job done.
Panko can be found at almost any Asian grocery store, and we've even spotted it in the international aisle at our local chain grocery store. Once opened, we store the package in a sealed container in our pantry to keep the breadcrumbs from going stale.
How do you use panko?
Related: Weekend Meditation: Fear of Frying