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.
Cook’s Notes for Pork Tonkatsu Sandwiches
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.
Pork Tonkatsu Sandwiches
For the pork:
- 6 thin boneless pork loin chops (1/4-1/2-inch thick), trimmed of visible fat
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt divided
- 1/4 tsp. pepper divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the tonkatsu sauce:
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. mirin or substitute 1 Tbsp. boiling water with 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 3/4 tsp. grated gingerroot
- 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
- 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.