Ideal for a picnic, BBQ or just a delicious lunch or dinner, these Pork Tonkatsu Sandwiches (Katsu Sando) are comfort food at it’s Japanese best!
I guess it should come as no surprise that my love of comfort food knows no borders. These delicious Pork Tonkatsu Sandwiches are Japan’s comfort food gift to the world, that I am only too happy to adopt. Featuring a crispy fried pork cutlet, a spicy tonkatsu sauce (a great Worcestershire/ketchup combination) and shredded cabbage, all between soft, white, crustless bread.
I think these sandwiches would be great for summer picnics and BBQs, or of course, just for a delicious treat anytime! I also love that I don’t need to bust out the deep-fryer to make these. They cook up quickly in a deep skillet in an inch or so of hot oil. These are great both with warm pork or cold, from the fridge.
I don’t like my pork to be too thin. Look for the thinner pork loin pieces often labeled “fast fry”, but not the scallopine-thin ones.
If you are not a pork lover, you can also make these with thin pieces of chicken.
I can’t find any pre-made tonkatsu sauce in my area, so I make my own. It’s a pretty good version and a great alternative if you can’t find it either. If you live in a larger centre though, look for Bulldog tonkatsu sauce for a great bottled one!
These sandwiches are great warm or cool. To make ahead, I like to fry the pork ahead and make the sauce, then refrigerate. Assemble the sandwiches just before eating.
Get the Recipe: Pork Tonkatsu Sandwiches
For the pork:
- 6 (6) thin boneless pork loin chops, (1/4-1/2-inch thick), trimmed of visible fat
- 2 tsp. (12 ml) soy sauce
- 1 clove (1 clove) garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. (3 ml) salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp. (0.5 ml) pepper, divided
- 1/2 cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 (2) eggs
- 1 3/4 cups (105 g) panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the tonkatsu sauce:
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) ketchup
- 3 Tbsp. (51 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. (24 g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. (36 ml) soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. (34 ml) mirin, or substitute 1 Tbsp. boiling water with 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. (5.6 ml) minced garlic
- 3/4 tsp. (1.5 ml) grated gingerroot
- 1/4 tsp. (0.5 ml) dry mustard
- 12 slices (12 slices) soft white bread, like Wonder™ bread
- Shredded green or red cabbage
- To make the tonkatsu sauce: In a small saucepan, bring the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, soy sauce, mirin, garlic, ginger and mustard to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Let the sauce cool, but keep warm if you will be serving immediately. (Sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week).
- Meanwhile, prepare 4 shallow bowls or deep plates. In one bowl, combine the soy sauce, garlic and half of the salt and pepper.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk eggs with 2 Tbsp. water. In the last bowl, add the panko crumbs.
- Pat pork dry, then pass through the soy sauce and garlic, allowing excess to drip off. Next, press pork into the flour mixture to coat. Shake off excess. Dip into egg mixture, letting excess drip off. Finally, press into panko crumbs, patting to coat evenly. Place on a cooling rack and continue until all the pork pieces are breaded.
- In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat about 1 inch of oil over medium-high heat. Cook the pork, two or three pieces at a time (don't over-crowd), turning once, until deep golden on both sides.Remove to a cooling rack to drain. If making ahead, allow to cool slightly, then place on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- To serve: Butter bread slices lightly. Place on fried pork piece in the middle of the bread. Spoon some tonkatsu sauce over-top. Sprinkle with shredded cabbage. Place second piece of bread on top. Trim the bread of crusts, then cut the remaining sandwich in half and serve, cut-side up.
I’ve never heard of these before, Jennifer, but I definitely would love to try them. Love the ingredients and this would be a whole new taste adventure for me. Thanks for the education and the eye candy. Will definitely make these.
Thanks Robyn. They are a great taste experience :)
What an awesome looking sandwich! My husband actually picked up a bottle of tonkatsu sauce the other day, there’s a Japanese import market near his office and he was intrigued by the sauce. I’ll definitely have to make these for him, he’ll be so happy!
Thanks Sara and you’re all ready to enjoy these! You can also just do the pork part, slice it into strips and serve warm over rice with the tonkatsu sauce for more of a dinner dish.
These sandwiches look great! Awesome way to use up left-over pork chops!
Thanks Alida and yes, would be a great use for them!
Wow, I’ve never heard of these before Jennifer, but they certainly look and sound delicious! Love the sauce!
Thanks Mary Ann. I suspect your son might enjoy these!
I’ve never heard of these before but they sound wonderful. I love all the super flavorful sandwiches that are enjoyed all over the world. It seems like each country has their own specialty sandwich and the Japanese version looks delicious.
Thanks Chris and these are truly delicious!
This is all new to me but I’m ready to give it a try. Love the sauce it sounds wonderful! Crispy, soft, crunchy and smooth – oh yes!
You must try these, Tricia. I have been a fan of Katsu for many years, as it’s my favourite bento box lunch at our local Japanese restaurant. Katsu on sandwiches though is relatively new for me, but once I tried it, I was completely sold. I could eat these every day (I won’t, but I really want to ;)
I always check your recipe. Every time it is so amazingly gorgeous recipe you show us.
I am a Japanese, and My mom and me are quite often making this ,too.
My mom version is put some Mayonnaise and Mustard (KARASHI,Japanese Mustard) into Store bought Tonkatsu sauce.
And also Japanese restaurant version is instead of spoon some sauce on the sandwich bread , Put Tonkatsu dipping into Tonkatsu sauce first then make sandwiches .
We are making own sandwiches bread. That is best !
Hi Yuri! Thanks so much for commenting on this. I love to hear more about this great sandwich. So I should try dipping the whole piece of pork in the tonkatsu sauce? And I love the addition of mayo and mustard. Unfortunately, Japanese ingredients are really hard for me to find here, but if I ever can get my hands on some, I will try. And yes … homemade bread is always best :) I read a lot about using super-soft bread and so thought I’d try with pre-made for this, since I have yet to find a really great, super-soft white bread recipe.
Thank YOU , too !!
Yes, just like you said, ” dipping the whole piece of pork in the tonkatsu sauce”
That’s more flavor to it.
You could find out super soft Japanese style bread in Youtube.
There is a lot.( some of in Japanese though. (^^ゞ
I will check out Youtube for the Japanese bread. Thanks! :)
What a beautiful sandwich — I’ve never had anything like it! Pinning and sharing <3
Thanks Sue and you really must try these. Delicious!!