Katsu sandos: Cabbage and oysters and pork, oh my!

Flipping through my copy of Not Your Mother’s Cookbook by Donny Enriquez, I quickly earmarked the recipe for katsu sandos, a Japanese sandwich made from fried pork, cabbage, and tonkatsu sauce.

That was really weird of me seeing as I’ve never eaten pork cutlets, cabbage, or tonkatsu sauce.

But in the spirit of the blog (and frying things), I made katsu sandwiches for dinner this week anyway!

After dredging one pork cutlet in flour, eggs, and panko, I almost instantly burned the living daylights out of it and filled my whole apartment with smoke (see evidence below).

The trick is to get it black on the outside and raw in the center. JK.

Lesson quickly learned. Time to start over.

Thankfully the second batch came out perfectly golden brown. I had to google what cooked pork should look like because that is the level of pork knowledge I had going into this dinner. But I haven’t died or thrown up, so I think I did it.

Much better

Next came the tonkatsu sauce—the sandwich’s condiment made with oyster sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and sweeteners. Based on other dinners I make, I knew I’d like a sauce like this if it was cooked into a glaze, but I was skeptical of eating it raw (mostly because oyster sauce sounds gross and ketchup looks gross).

And finally the shredded cabbage: straightforward enough, but still new to me! All of this gets assembled on what’s supposed to be crustless white bread but in my case was crustless whole wheat—close enough.

The verdict

Let’s break it down by the elements:

  • The breaded, fried pork was delightful. Might as well have been chicken. In fact, next time, it probably will be chicken. But either way, it was crispy, juicy, and delicious.
  • The tonkatsu sauce made the whole meal. Since it’s such a simple sandwich, the condiment really had to pack a punch to cut through the fatty fried pork and carby bread, and this one did the trick.
  • I could take or leave the cabbage. It was fine. Just fine.
  • Given the crispy breading on the pork, it makes sense why this sandwich calls for a softer bread. It also makes it an easy sandwich to make during the week since there’s no fancy bread needed!

As a whole, the sandwich was delicious and filling. But in the future, I think I’ll skip the extra carbs and just make tonkatsu chicken (breaded and fried and served with the sauce)—maybe even in the air fryer.

The sauce was too good to give up, and it’s begging for crispy chicken! I might even try it on chicken wings soon!

The leftover pork cutlets and tonkatsu sauce also made for the best fried rice I’ve ever made! I added some shichimi togarashi, all the veggies going bad in our crisper drawer, and a couple scrambled eggs: *chef’s kiss*

Oops, must’ve forgotten the cabbage!! Oh well!

In summary, although my dinner may have just looked like a fried chicken cutlet between two slices of bread and some lettuce, it was in fact incredibly adventurous for me: oyster sauce! cabbage! pork, people!!

The oyster sauce sold me, and the cabbage…it’s fine. But should I be integrating more pork into my life? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @thepickyeaterchronicles!

Published by Bethy St. John

Lifelong picky eater with a love for all things cooking. I'm a complicated woman.

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