It seems that most of the world has a version of schnitzel: cutlet-style meat, breaded and fried. I love meat, I love bread, and I love anything deep-fried, so it’s a no brainer that I love schnitzel-like foods. If we’re talking breaded meat, tonkatsu, hands down, is one of my favourites. Tonkatsu, like many things Japanese, runs from low-end comfort food to high-end perfection. You can make it at home, get it at a fast food joint, or have white gloved waiters bring it to you at a Michelin starred Tonkatsu-only restaurant.
This tonkatsu is a down home kind of recipe, one that cooks up in a satisfying flash. You could have it with rice, drizzled with tonkatsu sauce, but I’ve opted for the sandwich form, which is faster than waiting for rice to cook. Using thin cut pork chops means that a katsu sando will take you under less than 10 minutes to make, from start to finish. It’s hard to beat crispy pork tucked into soft, fluffy, slightly toasted white bread. And yes, the bread should be white with the crusts cut off, please.
Here in Tokyo it’s too easy to walk to the corner store, or visit one of the massive food halls where they have boxes and boxes of tonkatsu sandos just waiting for you to bite into. I know it’ll be one of the things that I miss most about this city so I’m happy to know that I can make a homemade version to satisfying my cravings. I’ve added a bit of mustard, which you don’t usually find in the store-bought sandwiches and I’ve left out shredded lettuce, which you sometimes do find. Use this recipe as a base – maybe you like tomatoes with your deep-fried pork cutlet, or maybe you love cheese. Spread the katsu sando love! Because friends, sandwiches are true love.
Katsu Sando – Tonkatsu Sandwich Recipe
makes 2 sandwiches
- salt and pepper
- 2 boneless pork chops, on the thin side
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten, in a shallow bowl
- 1 cup panko
- oil, for frying
- 4 slices bread
- Kewpie mayonnaise, to taste
- Japanese mustard, to taste
- tonkatsu sauce, to taste
Lightly season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper and sprinkle with flour. Dip the chops into the lightly beaten egg and then into the panko, making sure that all sides are coated. Heat up half an inch of oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Fry the chops until golden brown and cooked through, flipping once, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Toast the bread and spread Kewpie mayo on one slice and Japanese mustard on the other. Drizzle the bread or chops with the tonkatsu sauce, place on a slice of bread and top with the other slice. Slice off the crusts, if desired and enjoy immediately.