Pork Katsu Sando
Sando, sando, sando. How I love thee! If there's one thing I love more than regular sandwiches, it would have to be Japanese-style sandwiches ("sando"). What makes these unique is that they are typically made using Shokupan (Japanese milk bread). I love the soft, doughy texture with subtle sweetness. Bonus: crusts are removed, which is what I prefer!
When I visited Japan a couple years ago, I would buy at least one sando each day. What's wild is that you can find fresh, high quality sandos almost anywhere -- including train stations and 7-Elevens! (Can you imagine trying to buy one at a Bart station? Probably not).
After I returned to the States, the three things I missed and craved the most were: (1) sushi, (2) wagyu, (3) sandos. Since I can't get sushi as fresh as in Japan and I can't find wagyu as affordable as in Japan, sandos were the most realistic for me to recreate at home. In recent months, I've made egg salad sando and wagyu sando. Today, I tried the pork katsu for the first time! I managed to fry the pork loin perfectly, keeping the meat juicy while the outside crispy. The trick is to constantly stare at your meat thermometer. No joke. Once it reaches 140 degrees F, I start to turn off the heat. Meat will naturally continue to cook after it comes off the stove, so after a few minutes, it's likely to reach 145 degrees F (the minimum internal temperature to safely consume pork).
Looking forward to adding this quick and easy dish into rotation of meals!
Pork Katsu Sando
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 15 min
1/4 cup cabbage (thinly sliced)
1 lemon wedge
1 tsp Kewpie (Japanese mayo)
2 pork loins
1 large egg (beaten)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 slices of Shokupan (Japanese milk bread)
Tonkatsu sauce (example)
Canola oil (or other frying oil)
In a small to medium bowl, mix together cabbage, squeeze of fresh lemon, and Kewpie mayo. Set aside.
Place pork loins in a large Ziploc bag. Do not zip or close the bag. Place the bag over a cutting board or a surface you do not mind roughing up. Use a meat pounder (or a can) and pound until both pieces are flattened.
Set up 3 bowls. Fill one with flour, salt, and pepper. Fill the second with the beaten egg. Fill the third with Panko bread crumbs.
In a large frying pan or pot, add oil (enough to fill about 1/4 inch) over medium high heat. Wait for oil to get hot before starting the next step.
Dredge pork loins completely in flour, then in beaten egg, then generously in Panko bread crumbs. Carefully add to frying pan. Let sit for about 5 minutes (or until bottom is nicely golden brown). Turn pork loins over and cook for another 5 minutes. Place a meat thermometer in the pork. Careful not to burn. As soon as it reaches an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees F, transfer pork katsu onto a plate with paper towel (to soak up excess oil). Note: Internal temperature needs to eventually reach 145 degrees F to safely eat.
While the pork cools down a bit, toast the Shokupan. Optional: Trim off the crusts.
Assemble your sando: Start with bottom Shokupan, add a spoonful of set aside cabbage, then add pork katsu. Generously drizzle with tonkatsu sauce. Top off with Shokupan. Repeat for remaining sando.
Serve warm and enjoy!