Bento, Recipes
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Bento Series #3 — Katsu Sandwich

Oh Katsu, how can I describe thee? A mouth watering, crispy, delicious bite of heaven? That might do it!

Katsu is a Japanese word for a meat that is sliced thin, then pounded even thinner, coated with a breading and fried. If we want to get technical this sandwich in particular is a Tonkatsu because it is made with pork.

But who cares about the name? All you need to know is that it is delicious. However it is Fried. Yes, I said it, that dirty word that means we are going to have to feel guilty while we enjoy every last bite of it, the word that means we will have to negotiate with ourselves and agree to extra laps/treadmill time. Fried >_<

But I have a solution… We can oven “fry” it. So I will be giving you two options, for those of you who want to be naughty, fry that glorious tonkatsu in peanut oil. For those of you who say ” Oh, no I can not negotiate another lap, I already ate chocolate/cake/icecream/insert any other delicious food, I simply can not spend the rest of my life running” I will tell you how to make it in the oven!

Bento Components:

  • Raspberries Stuffed with Blueberries
  • Katsu Sauce
  • Tonkatsu Sandwich

 

Tonkatsu Sauce —

Ingredients:

-2 Tbsp Mayo

-1 Tbsp Soy Sauce

-1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

-1 tsp Katsup

-1/2 tsp chopped Garlic

-Pepper to Taste

Mix all of the above ingredients. Be careful on the amount of garlic you add. You will not be cooking this sauce so it might get a little strong. If you are planning to eat this near your love interest, you might want to skip the garlic all together, but it is up to you. The sauce will keep well for a couple of days if you put it in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

image

Tonkatsu —

Ingredients:

-4 thinly sliced Pork Cutlets (About 1 butterflied chop per person)

-2 cups of Panko

-2 eggs (beaten with a Tbsp of water added to it)

-1 cup of all purpose flour

-Salt and Pepper to taste

-Juice of 1/2 a lemon

-1 tsp garlic powder

-1 tsp onion powder

-2 cups Peanut Oil if frying

-1 Tbsp Olive Oil and 1 Tbsp Sesame oil if Baking

Pound your pork until it is a very thin cutlet. Release your anger and tensions, but with caution since we are trying not to break it, you just want it very thin.Season the pork with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Mix the flour, garlic, and onion powder. Set up a dredging station. First dip the pork cutlet in flour. You want all of it to be lightly coated. Then pass it through the egg, same thing, coat everywhere with a light layer.

IF FRYING: Finish your dredging by coating your cutlet with plain panko. Make sure you coat it very well. Fry on medium until both sides are golden brown. When you take it out of the oil let it “rest” for a few minutes on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

IF OVEN-FRYING: If you are going to make this in the oven you need to add an extra step to your preparation. We are going to toast our panko. If you don’t do this step your pork will resemble a hockey puck by the time the outside gets golden and crispy. So on a frying pan add the olive and sesame oil. Set on medium. Add the plain panko and toast. You need to constantly stir it so that it doesn’t burn. As you stir, the oils will mix in with the panko and will aid the toasting process. Once it looks golden and delicious set it in your dredging plate and let it cool to room temperature, or to a temperature you are comfortable handling (In other words, DON’T BURN YOURSELF). Finish dredging. Set your oven to 375 degrees. Cook pork for 20-25 minutes. If your cutlet is very thin then 20 minutes should be enough. If it is a little thicker then you are looking at 25 minutes.

There you have it! Now all you have to do is assemble it! Get your bread, spread Katsu sauce on it. Set your golden cutlet on it, then top with thinly sliced cabbage. Trust me on that one, the cabbage actually tastes great with the pork, the French agree and so do the Japanese, so give it a try!

 

Note: For the bento. The best way to reheat the katsu whether it was fried or baked is in the oven or a toaster oven. Set to 375 for 10 minutes in the oven, 3-5 minutes in the toaster oven. You can even get creative and try it in the toaster… I have not tried a toaster so let me know how it goes! If you don’t have an oven you can microwave it, but I have to warn you that it will get hard and dry. So I would actually recommend eating it at room temperature if there is no oven available.

Do not add the sauce to the bread until you are going to eat it. It will make your bread and cutlet soggy. So I would recommend doing a deconstructed sandwich. Put cutlet in your bread, sauce in a separate container or resealable bag, and cabbage separate as well. Assemble once you have reheated. And by their powers combined you shall have deliciousness!

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