Japan’s answer to barbecue sauce, tonkatsu sauce gets its sweet, tangy flavour from a mix of fruits, vegetables, vinegar, sugar and spices – think of it as a thicker, richer, more flavourful version of English Worcestershire sauce. You can use this authentic Japanese condiment to add a sweet kick to classic pork katsu cutlets or get creative with tonkatsu sauce by adding a Japanese accent to your favourite burgers, ribs and hotdogs.
Your first port of call when experimenting with tonkatsu sauce should be the classic Japanese dish of tonkatsu pork. Take a golden, panko-crumbed pork steak, drizzle it with tonkatsu sauce and serve with a crunchy cabbage slaw and you have one of Japan’s favourite meals. Some cooks like to serve it with a dab of hot English mustard on the side for a hit of sinus-clearing heat.
Once you’ve mastered the classic tonkatsu, why not try:
• Substituting chicken breast for the pork to create a crowd-pleasing chicken katsu
• Sandwiching your crumbed pork or chicken, tonkatsu sauce and shredded cabbage between slices of pillowy white bread to make a mouthwatering tonkatsu sandwich (read all about the Japanese katsu trend here)
• Slicing your katsu and serving with steamed rice, Japanese curry sauce and pickled ginger for a warming dish of katsu curry, drizzled with tonkatsu sauce
Keep a bottle of tonkatsu sauce handy to add sweet-savoury Japanese flavour to a range of snacks and barbecued meats.
• Make Japanese-style burgers by topping your beef patties with crispy bacon, shredded cabbage and carrot, Kewpie mayonnaise and a dollop of tonkatsu sauce
• Give your hotdog a Japanese twist by topping with tonkatsu sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise, toasted sesame seeds and slivers of nori seaweed
• Marinate pork ribs in tonkatsu sauce then chargrill until tender
For more Japanese inspiration get creative with Japanese curry paste.
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