Think Grab-and-Go Lunch Is Boring? Try a Trendy Katsu Sando.

The katsu sando is showing up as one of the trendiest foods at savvy restaurants across the country, and here’s a little secret. The Japanese name may seem exotic, but the sandwich is so simple you can make it at home with ease. “Katsu” is short for “katsuretsu,” or “cutlet” in Japanese, and sando means “sandwich.” This item has been a popular grab-and-go lunch for busy workers in Japan for years. The sandwich may look dainty, but it delivers a satisfying intense meatiness.

The katsu sando starts with bread spread with zingy tonkatsu sauce. Top with a lightly breaded and fried pork cutlet complemented by raw shaved cabbage salad. Japanese cooks use shokupan, or Japanese milk bread, but you can use soft white sandwich bread. Bite into a katsu sando and your mouth will be rewarded with the crunch of crispy cutlet and bright cabbage slathered in slightly spicy and sweet sauce. This version comes from The Food Network.

Katsu Sando with Shaved Cabbage

Level: Intermediate; Serves 4

Ingredients

Tonkatsu Sauce:

1/4 cup ketchup or tomato puree

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup fig or prune jam

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Karashi Mayonnaise:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons spicy Japanese mustard powder

Zest of 1/2 orange

Chicken or Pork Katsu:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 large eggs

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoon cornstarch

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or pork cutlets, pounded thin

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 slices white sandwich bread

Shredded green cabbage, for serving

Directions

  1. For the tonkatsu sauce: Combine the ketchup, honey, jam, soy sauce, vinegar and Worcestershire in a small bowl and stir to mix together.
  2. For the karashi mayonnaise: Combine the mayonnaise, mustard and orange zest and stir to mix together.
  3. For the chicken or pork katsu: Arrange 3 shallow bowls or pans. In the first put the flour, seasoning with salt and pepper. In the second, add the eggs and whisk for 1 minute. In the third, mix together the panko, cornstarch and salt and pepper.
  4. Lay the cutlets first in the flour, dusting off any excess. Next, dredge the cutlets in the egg, again allowing the excess egg to drip away. Finally, dredge the cutlet in the panko-cornstarch mixture, applying a bit of pressure on the meat to ensure the breading sticks properly. Place on a baking sheet or platter and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. In a large saute pan, heat the butter over medium heat until bubbles start to appear. Add the cutlets and pan fry until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  6. Spread half the bread slices with the tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayonnaise. Top with some cabbage, a cutlet and the remaining bread.

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