Monday, July 13, 2015

Recipe: Katsu Sando (Spicy Japanese pork cutlet sandwich)

This is definitely a cheat day treat but to me a katsu sando is the best sandwich in the world. It hits all the major indulgence food groups - fried meat, fluffy bread, spicy morish sauce and rich Japanese egg mayonnaise.

Tonkatsu is the Japanese version of schnitzel - breaded and fried pork or chicken cutlet. After watching one of the contestants make this favoured dish on Food Network Star recently I just had to make one!



Katsu Sando



Tonkatsu cutlet
  • 4 pork cutlets
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying

Sandwich fillings 
  • 8 tbspn Tonkatsu sauce 
  • 4 tbpsn Whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Cabbage or 4 lettuce leaves
  • 8 slices White sandwich bread

Method

  • Start by preparing your cutlet preparation station - get 3 flat bowls, a tray for the breaded cutlet and a chopping board to trim and pound the meat
  • Pound the pork cutlet using a meat tenderiser, the cutlet should be about 1cm thick 
  • Into one bowl plate the flour, if desired you can season the flour using salt and pepper
  • Into the second bowl beat the eggs and milk
  • In the third bowl pour the breadcrumbs - if you can buy Japanese Panko but normal breadcrumbs will also do the trick

  • To bread the cutlet we want to complete a 1 - 2 - 3 process using the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs
  • The flour and egg will form a glue to stick the breadcrumbs to the meat


  • Place the cutlet in the flour and then using a fork push the flour up into the sides of the cutlet, turn over and repeat. The meat should be completely covered in the flour. 
  • Then move the floured cutlet into the egg and dip again using a fork to ensure the mixture covers the sides of the culet then turn over
  • Once the cutlet is completely covered in egg mixture use the fork to lift the cutlet and drain off excess egg before placing in the breadcrumbs.



  • Cover the cutlet completely in bread crumbs and then turn over, ensure that all the meat and egg mixture is covered in the crumb.
  • Once you are satisfied with the coverage move the breaded cutlet to a tray while you complete the other cutlets



  • Your completed schnitzels should look like so. If you want to make less than 4 sandwiches move the excess fillets to the freezer and use them later - tonkatsu is great with rice, salad or vegetables!



  • Heat a pan on medium heat and add a high temperature fry oil like grape seed oil. 
  • Use tongs to transfer the cutlets to the hot oil, the bread should sizzle when you add it to the pan. If it doesn't your oil is not hot enough and your sandwich may turn out greasy.
  • You can deep fry the cutlet but this is not required, a pool of oil about the size of a pancake should be enough to shallow fry the cutlet. 
  • Fry until the crumb turns golden and then flip. If desired you can add more oil in when you turn the cutlet to ensure that there is enough oil for even frying. 



  • Once the crumb is golden press the center of the cutlet with your tongs - if the meat is cooked it should be firm and the tongs should not spring to the touch. 
  • If your crumb is golden but the meat is not fully cooked then turn the pan to a lower heat to cook for a further 2 mins 
  • Using your tongs move the cutlet to oil absorbing paper or paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
  • You can serve the cutlet hot, or prepare the fried meat then leave till the following day - it is just as delicious cold 


  • Tonkatsu sauce can be bought at any Asian supermarket or on Amazon. I like this Bull Dog brand which can be bought in most good Asian stores. 
  • Kewpie Brand Japanese mayonnaise is best for authenticity but just about any rich whole egg mayonnaise will do - I like Hellman's or Best Foods mayonnaise when I can't find Kewpie
  • Any soft white sandwich bread will do but I love this thick cut Japanese Hotel Bread to really add to the "wish you were in Tokyo" taste


  • You can toast the bread if desired but I find this works best with untoasted bread
  • On one side of the bread spread the mayonnaise and 1/4 cup of cabbage or if preferred a single lettuce leaf
  • On the other side of the bread liberally cover with Tonkatsu sauce. If you like a lot of sauce then pour it directly onto the breadcrumb coating of the meat rather than onto the bread. This takes some of the crispness out of the cutlet but gives you a rich oozy sandwich.
  • Add the fillet to the sandwich, you may need to cut it into pieces to fit evenly onto the bread
  • Cut the sandwich in half and serve cut side up to your diners. You can cut the sandwich into 3 or 4 slimmer slices if you want to fit it into a bento.
  • Rinse and repeat for each diner - recipe makes 4 sandwiches
  • To get in the spirit of Japanese bistros serve with a creamy dressed side like potato salad or cheese and corn
  • Delicious!

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