20 October 2013

Tonkatsu Sandwich and Mixed Sandwich - AFF Japan Oct 2013

Whenever I go to Japan, I would have at least one brunch or lunch at bakery cafes. I love the bakery cafes in Japan! There are typically two sections to the bakery cafe, one section selling all the breads, sandwiches, cakes, salads for takeaways (just like our local bakery), and another section for dine-in. Customers may select the different types of bakery items they like, order a drink and dine-in at the cafe. The concept is very much like Province bakery at Holland Village, but the selection is so much more! I usually had a very hard time deciding what I want to eat because everything looks good! You know the Japanese, the food always look palatable with well-coordinated colour schemes even!

One of my favourite sandwich is the Tonkatsu Sandwich. It's basically deep fried pork cutlet drizzled with tonkatsu sauce and sandwiched between shokupan (Japanese white bread). The combination - crispy bite of juicy tonkatsu, tangy tonkatsu sauce and fluffy white bread is a match-made in heaven I would say! Some bakery would also add shredded cabbage to make the sandwich more refreshing as well as visually appealing.

This is a very easy to put together sandwich, the toughest part is frying the tonkatsu. I usually buy pork loin and cut into 5mm thickness for ease of cooking. The key to achieving a crispy piece of tonkatsu is to deep frying the pork loin two times. The first time using medium low heat in order to cook the meat, and the second time using high heat to make it crispy. Using this method, the tonkatsu won't be oily at all and will remain crispy for a long time.

Tonkatsu Sandwich
(makes 1 serving)


(1) Deep fried pork cutlet - Tonkatsu
  • 1 slice pork loin, about 1/2cm thickness
  • Salt and pepper
  • Egg, cornstarch
  • Japanese panko
  1. Wash pork loin, pat dry with kitchen towel, then tenderise.
  2. Marinate pork loin with pinch of salt and pepper. Chill in fridge for 30 mins.
  3. Heat oil in pot, medium low heat.
  4. Coat pork loin with cornstarch, tap away excess cornstarch.
  5. Coat pork loin with egg.
  6. Coat pork loin generously with panko.
  7. Deep fry pork loin in medium low heat till panko turn pale brown, both sides.
  8. Remove from heat, and place pork cutlet on wire rack or kitchen towel to remove excess oil, for 5 minutes.
  9. Turn up heat of pot, on high.
  10. Deep fry pork cutlet for second time, about 20-30 seconds each side. Remove immediately and place pork cutlet on wire rack or kitchen towel.
(2) Assembly
  • 2 slices Japanese sandwich bread (Shokupan)
  • 1 slice Tonkatsu
  • Shredded Japanese cabbage
  • Tonkatsu sauce
  1. Place some shredded cabbage on a slice of bread.
  2. Drizzle some tonkatsu sauce generously onto the shredded cabbage.
  3. Top with tonkatsu.
  4. Place some shredded cabbage onto the tonkatsu.
  5. Drizzle some tonkatsu sauce generously onto the shredded cabbage.
  6. Finally end with the other slice of bread.
  7. Cover the sandwich with kitchen towel and place a heavy plate/bowl on top for 10-15 mins *to compress the sandwich slightly to hold the shape.
  8. To serve, cut the sandwich lengthwise into rectangles.

Other fillings for Japanese sandwich include veggie, egg mayo, teriyaki chicken, karaage chicken, korroke and even fried noodles.

Here's another mixed sandwich (egg mayo and tomato/cucumber) which is so easy to put together and requires minimal cooking. The other key to making yummy sandwiches is using good quality white bread that's cut slightly thicker and very fluffy. I find that the white bread by Sunshine or Gardenia brand is not really suitable for sandwiches as they are more dense in texture, and not fluffy enough. Bakeries like Four Leaves, Provence sell thickly-sliced fluffy white bread these days.

Mixed sandwich
(Makes 2 servings)

  • 1/2 Japanese cucumber (Kyuri)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 egg
  • Japanese mayonnaise, black pepper, salt
  • Butter and mustard
  • 4 slices Japanese sandwich bread (shokupan)
  1. Cut cucumber lengthwise into 4 slices.
  2. Cut tomato into 4 slices.
  3. Boil egg for about 10-12 minutes, mash and mix well with Japanese mayonnaise, black pepper and salt to taste.
  4. Mix butter and mustard together (alternative: Japanese mayonnaise) and spread on 4 slices of bread.
  5. Arrange cucumber and tomato between 2 slices of bread.
  6. Spread mayonnaise egg between the other 2 slices of bread.
  7. Cover the sandwiches with kitchen towel and place a heavy plate/bowl on top for 10-15 mins *to compress the sandwich slightly to hold the shape.
  8. To serve, cut the slices of bread lengthwise into squares or diagonally into triangles.

Both the above recipes are referenced from this Japanese cookery book I bought several years ago in Japan. It's called Beginners Guide (with basic tips) to Japan's western cuisine Yōshoku. Although I can only read and understand the instructions partially, I bought it because the recipes look colourful and yummy, and some recipes come with step-by-step pictorial instructions.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, 

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