I don’t want you rolling your eyes at this recipe. I don’t want to hear you saying “it’s just a sandwich.” Even if it is. This sandwich has a bit more depth than you’d expect - it’s our way of celebrating the iconic, Japanese Katsu (crumbed and fried pork cutlets). To do this, we’ve used a few techniques which we’d like to share, most notably brining the meat. The construction of this sandwich is as considered as any dish - the richness of the meat works perfectly with the funky Tonkatsu sauce and the textural elements are there with the crumbs and the slaw. With all of this going on, the bread we use is really just a vehicle for getting it into your mouth. Make it this weekend and you will probably proclaim it to be the best sandwich you’ve ever had. For realsies.
What you’ll need:
For the sandwich
4 x slices government loaf white bread, crusts removed, plus one extra slice
1 x cup cabbage, finely shredded
2 x tbsp mayo
1 x tsp mustard
For the pork (and brine)
2 x pork ribeyes, skin removed
4 x cups water
4 x tsp salt
1 x tsp sugar
1 x star anise
1 x tsp whole cloves
1 x tsp black peppercorns, left whole
Flour, enough to cover the bottom of a wide, shallow dish
2 x eggs, whisked
Enough oil to cover a wide pan and have about 1cm as a level (use a neutral oil here. Vegetable oil or rapeseed oil work well)
For the Tonkatsu sauce
1/2 x cup tomato sauce
2 1/2 x tbs Soy sauce
2 1/2 x tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 x tbs sherry
1 x tbs sugar
1 x clove garlic, very finely chopped
1 x tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 x tbs olive oil
1 x tsp nutmeg powder
1 x tsp cinnamon powder
What you’ll do:
- Start by brining your pork. In a small, deep pot combine water, sugar, salt, star anise, cloves and black pepper. Wait until the water is simmering and stir, to ensure everything is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- When liquid is cool, pour into a non-reactive dish and submerge your pork. To ensure it is covered, you can place a plate on the meat and weigh it down.
- Refrigerate overnight, or for up to 48 hours.
- When ready to use, remove from brine and wipe clean.
- Meanwhile, toast a slice of white bread by adding it to a dry pan, along with your removed crusts. When toasted, remove and blitz into breadcrumbs.
- Prepare your workstation. You will need the flour in a shallow dish, alongside your whisked eggs and your breadcrumbs.
- Dredge your meat by dragging it through the flour, then through the egg, then through the breadcrumbs. Repeat last two steps, dragging the meat through the egg and through breadcrumbs for a second time. Set crumbed meat aside.
- Meanwhile make your sauce, by frying garlic and ginger for a few minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add all other ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one minute. Remove from heat.
- Make your slaw by mixing cabbage, mayo and mustard together.
- Add your neutral oil to the pan and allow to get medium hot. You don't want your oil smoking hot, or it will burn.
- Working very, very carefully, add your dredged pork and fry for 2 - 3 minutes, or until golden. Turn the meat often to ensure even colour.
- When done, remove meat and set aside on kitchen paper, to allow some fat to drain.
- Assemble your sandwiches by toasting the white bread. Smear some tonkatsu sauce on two pieces and the slaw on the other two. Place a piece of meat on the pieces with the slaw and use the tonkatsu slices as the top half of the sandwich. Cut in half and serve immediately.