Katsu Sando is the perfect savoury snack to fulfil your cravings for any time of the day! It’s a Japanese sandwich filled with crispy, juicy, and tasty meat cutlets topped with signature tonkatsu sauce. Better yet, it’s simple to make at home in just 30 minutes!
We created this Katsu Sando recipe to satisfy just that savoury craving. In this article, we will show you different recipes on how to cook it and different meat variations you can try. So, ready to indulge? Keep on reading!
What is Katsu Sando?
Katsu Sando is a Japanese-style sandwich made of breaded fried meat drizzled with sweet and spicy barbeque sauce. The name comes from two words - Katsuretsu and Sandwich. Katsu is short for Katsuretsu which means fried pork or chicken cutlet, and Sando is the Japanese term for a sandwich.
You may be more familiar with Tonkatsu - a popular Japanese dish of deep-fried pork cutlets served with rice. It is coated in flour, egg, and bread crumbs. With the cutlet sandwich, the breaded meat is served as a sandwich filling.
Fun Fact: In most Asian countries, it’s common to eat meat either with rice or bread, e.g. burger patties, ham, steak, etc.
The most popular version of this recipe is by using pork. Later on, we’ll also cover good alternatives for Chicken Katsu Sando and Beef Katsu Sando.
Altogether, Katsu Sando tastes meaty and savoury with a hint of creaminess and sweetness from different sauces. It has become a popular snack all over the internet, thanks to the sandwich’s burst of taste and texture.
This recipe consists of three parts: the sandwich, the filling, and the sauce.
Japanese shokupan is often used for this recipe. The bread is light and has a milkiness to its flavour.
Your Katsuretsu base flavour will definitely depend on what meat you’ll use. When cooked right, the Katsuretsu is crispy and crunchy on the outside. The typical version will also use thinly sliced fresh cabbage as a filling. The cabbage adds a refreshing crunch to the overall sandwich.
For the sauce, the mixture of tonkatsu sauce and mayonnaise blends together to create the perfect balance. The former adds rich creaminess, while the latter makes the dish sweet and sour.
Katsu Sando Calories
Chicken Katsu Sando has calories of about 449 calories per serving. However, the calorie count per serving will depend on what type of meat you use. For example, a serving of Pork Katsu Sando has 478 calories while Beef Katsu Sando has 334 calories.
There are different types of meat cutlets you can fill in your recipe. You can use any meat you have. Although pork Katsuretsu is the most popular, people also crave different variations of meat to use in the Katsu sandwich.
This variation is also called panko chicken and is the most common alternative. We recommend using skinless, boneless breast parts of chicken for your Chicken Katsu Sando. The thigh part of the chicken can also work. Just make sure it’s boneless.
You can prepare your chicken by pounding it to a quarter of an inch. The tenderising and flattening process will help your chicken katsu cook faster and more evenly.
The beef variation, also known as Katsu Sando Wagyu, is known to be one of the World’s Most Expensive Sandwiches. The secret is in the beef that you use to make the dish.
Most restaurants that serve this recipe use Wagyu Sirloin, a Japanese steak known for its tenderness. No worries, though, as you can still make this at home with local beef.
Shrimp Katsu or Ebi Katsu is also a good variation of this recipe. You have two options to cook your Ebi Katsuretsu. The first is to coat large and small shrimps in panko breading, then deep fry it. The second option is to finely chop your shrimp into a paste. Either way tastes really good.
Iberico Katsuretsu also had its time of popularity on Instagram. It’s also a pork variation - but thicker and juicier. People who love to chew big chunks of meat will enjoy Iberico as a sandwich filling.
Katsu Sando Ingredients
To make Katsu sando, the ingredients you will need are bread, breadcrumbs, meat, cabbage and tonkatsu sauce.
The ingredients you use will highly influence the quality and taste of Katsu Sando. You can opt to buy ingredients from your local grocery store. But for your recipe to taste like the traditional versions, we recommend using Japanese brands.
All of these ingredients are important in making a tasteful and savoury sandwich!
Japanese Loaf or Japanese Milk Bread
Shokupan is a light, fluffy, and chewy bread that goes perfectly with Katsu Sando. The loaf is made from tangzhong, a traditional Chinese paste used to bake buns.
Japanese milk bread is unlike a standard loaf that wastes a lot of crumbs when you bite into it. Instead, it is so dense that it doesn’t fall when you eat it.
Japanese Milk Bread is also best used to create a fluffy version of Korean Sandwich. You can find Shokupan in your nearest Asian store.
We mentioned different variations of meat earlier. For this recipe, you don’t need to marinate your chosen meat.
We prefer Katsu Sando recipes with natural flavours of meat, especially beef katsu and Ebi katsu. Therefore, ensure to buy the freshest meat available.
Japanese Panko (or Bread Crumbs)
Panko is made from white bread that’s turned into flakes and then dried. This type of bread crumb is larger and flakier than the typical bread crumbs you can find on your market. Panko has no taste but gives your chicken katsu sando recipe additional texture.
It is a norm in Japan for this recipe to pre-toast the panko to make the breading coat even crispier. You can toast your Japanese Panko in medium heat for 5 minutes until it turns golden brown.
Panko is also usually available in grocery stores like Tesco and M&S Food.
Cabbage is an extra ingredient that balances the meat of this recipe. An added crispy cabbage will complement the Katsuretsu. In fact, you will find that cabbage is generally served with every Katsu in Japan - may it be katsudon or sando.
Katsu Sando is known to be a simple recipe with just meat cutlet and cabbage inside the sandwich. Well, you can make it healthier by adding more green leaves.
It’s not a Katsu without the sweet and sour Tonkatsu sauce. Tonkatsu is a Japanese condiment that will be topped on your cutlet. This sauce will complete the taste of your cutlet sandwich.
You can create your own Tonkatsu sauce by scratch. Otherwise, you can buy it from Asian grocery stores or Japanese stores. The world-famous Bull Dog tonkatsu sauce is also available online today.
In any case, you can’t find all the traditional ingredients in your local stores; there are a few alternatives you can try. This may also help if you’re looking to balance katsu sando calories.
- Milk Bread: Any moist white bread will work just as fine. You also have the option to create your toast from scratch.
- Panko: You can use toasted shredded bread.
- Cabbage: Any green leaves can substitute (or be added) to the recipe like spinach, lettuce, cucumber, or snow cabbage.
- Tonkatsu Sauce: We won’t want you to substitute Tonkatsu sauce since it’s an essential part of this recipe’s taste. However, you can alternate it with Worcestershire or barbecue sauce.
Now that all our ingredients are set and explained, let’s move forward to different ways how to cook your Japanese-style sandwich!
Katsu Sando using an oven
You have several options for cooking your Katsu Sando: deep-frying, baking, and air frying. Depending on your taste and health preference, you can follow the guidelines we wrote below.
- First off is using the oven or baking. Preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F for at least 10 minutes while preparing your meat.
- Next, season your meat with salt and pepper. Then, consecutively coat your meat with flour, egg, and panko bread crumbs.
- After doing so, place your meat on a baking sheet and bake at 200°C to 400°C. Remove your Katsuretsu from the oven once it is cooked through.
If this is Chicken or Iberico, bake for about 30 minutes. For Pork and Katsu Wagyu Sando, 20 minutes is an average bake time. For shrimp or Ebi Katsu, bake for about 15 minutes only.
Using an air fryer
Yes, you can make a crispy Katsuretsu without using oil. The secret to this is, you guessed it, an air fryer. Make your sandwich healthier by using an air fryer. This method cuts katsu sando calories by up to 80% and has less fat than deep frying.
- Start by preheating the air fryer to 200C or 400F before putting your chosen meat in it.
- Next, add your breaded meat inside the basket. Spray a bit of oil on the sides of your fry basket. Air fry for 6 minutes under 160°C or 320°F, until golden brown.
- Flip your meat, respray some oil, and then cook for another 5 minutes under 190°C or 374°F.
How to make Katsu sando
We mentioned earlier that Katsu Sando comprises three parts: sandwich, meat filling, and sauce.
Prepare your cutlet by seasoning with salt and Pepper. After doing so, batter your cutlet in egg, (seasoned) flour, and panko bread crumbs. Deep fry your cutlet at a high temperature for 20 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
Before assembling the sandwich, cut and remove the crust from your Japanese Bread. Then, spread half a tablespoon of Tonkatsu sauce on one side of the two slices of bread. If you wish, you can also spread ¼ tablespoon of Japanese mayo evenly on the same sides.
Drizzle the tonkatsu sauce on a fried cutlet on both sides and place it on top of the bread. Add your shredded cabbage on top and close it with the other side of the bread. Cut the sandwich in half. You can serve your Katsu Sando either hot or cold.
Katsu Sando Cooking Tips
- Pound or cut your meat into about quarter or half-inch pieces. Be careful not to make it too thin. You still want your meat to be tender and juicy.
- Cut some slits on pork’s muscle on both sides to prevent it from shrinking.
- When you coat your meat, use one hand for dry and one hand for wet ingredients to keep the ingredients from mixing. And to keep it clean. You can also use a thong.
- Also, it’ll be easier to bread your meat when you use shallow, long pans.
- If you bought an uncut Japanese loaf, utilise the remaining bread to make Honey Toast Box avoid food waste. Extend your Japanese craving a little longer.
- Always opt for healthier options. Use olive oil when frying your panko.
- If you love the taste of mustard, you can spread a teaspoon of it on your bread.
How to Store
In case you make a little more than what you can consume, here are several storage tips:
- You can store your cooked Katsuretsu in your fridge for 1-2 days in an airtight container. Put it in your freezer to store for up to 1 week. You can reheat it later on with an oven or toaster.
- Your toasted panko can be stored in an airtight container and used for later as well. Toast it again to bring back the crunchiness.
- Got a big chunk of leftover Katsu? Give it a new life and cook it as a topping for Katsu Ramen.
Now that we’ve covered preparation and different options let’s get to the main show: Katsu Sando Recipe.
Katsu Sando Recipe (Oven version)
- 4 sliced Japanese loaf bread crust removed
- 2 chicken breasts pounded (180g)
- 70 g cabbage
- 3 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup panko
- 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Tonkatsu Sauce
- Start by preheating your oven to 200°C or 400°F and preparing your ingredients. If your cutlet is thicker than your preference, you can cut or pound it to a quarter of an inch of thickness. Next, shred your cabbages and set them aside.
- Next, assemble the cutlet breading. Season your meat with salt and Pepper. Put egg, flour, and panko individually on three flat dishes. Coat your meat first on flour, next on the egg, and lastly on toasted panko. Set aside.
- Place your breaded cutlet on a baking tray, but preferably on top of an oven-safe wire rack. Bake your meat for 20 minutes at 200°C or 400°F until golden brown. Set aside.
- To assemble the sandwich, spread ½ tablespoon of mayonnaise to one side of each slice of bread. Then put ½ tablespoon of tonkatsu sauce on the other side. Then, coat or drizzle your baked cutlet with tonkatsu sauce and place it on top of the sandwich. Add the shredded cabbage on top of the katsu and close with one slice of bread.
- Press the slices together, then cut in half. Serve Katsu Sando with a smile!
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Interested to recreate the traditional recipe from scratch? Burgermeister Cooking on Youtube has an in-depth recipe showing you how to make all the ingredients from the ground up. He makes the fluffy Japanese shokupan, and tonkatsu sauce and finally assembles the sandwich in his video below.
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