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Chicken Katsu Sando


I watched Angelo Sato make this crispy fried chicken sandwich on Saturday Kitchen, and I’d like to give him a massive shout out for this recipe, he’s a fantastic chef and this is an awesome sandwich.

If you find yourself at a loose end in London’s Soho, you should check out Angelo’s restaurant Humble Chicken, which showcases “neck to tail” eating and focuses on yakitori Japanese skewers and larger dishes.

Unfortunately, Soho is a plane trip away for me so I make the best of it and recreate his chicken katsu sando at home instead :)

Choosing the right bread

For this sandwich, you should choose robust enough bread to hold together the fillings but soft enough to yield and be a pleasure to eat. Milk bread works well for this but you could use any soft sandwich loaf.

This is the perfect recipe to go with my Japanese Hokkaido milk bread recipe, you should take a look.

The star ingredient

The Nanban sauce which accompanies this sandwich is a perfect blend of sweet, sour and savoury. This keeps well so I would suggest making extra, it works perfectly with grilled chicken and salmon.

Kewpie mayonnaise

Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise is used in this recipe. I think it's got a creamier texture and slightly sweeter taste than normal western mayonnaise. If you can find Kewpie then you should give it a go, you’ll find yourself becoming quickly addicted to it. If you can’t find it then don’t worry, your favourite brand of mayonnaise will work just fine.

The chicken

I prefer using chicken thighs for this recipe but you can use chicken breasts if you prefer. If you are looking for a healthier option, you can bake the chicken rather than deep fry. The chicken is coated with Panko breadcrumbs which are coarse and produces a super crispy coating. If you can’t source these, you can use standard store-bought or homemade breadcrumbs.

Equipment needed

You’ll need a deep cooking pot for deep frying the chicken, make sure it is three times as tall as the level of oil that is poured inside.

I would strongly suggest using a temperature probe to monitor the temperature of the oil during heating and cooking. They are also invaluable for testing the temperature of the cooked chicken.

I use a Thermopen digital thermometer for both my cooking and baking needs. It’s perfect for monitoring the temperature of the oil and the cooked chicken in this recipe, but I also use it to keep an eye on dough and fermentation temperatures for my baking.

You’ll find the Thermapen on the UK Thermapen website and the Thermoworks website in the US.

Chicken Katsu Sando recipe

This makes three sandwiches with some Nanban sauce leftover for backup ;)

The Nanban sauce

80ml rice vinegar
110ml soy sauce
80g white sugar

Place all of the ingredients into a pan and heat to a simmer on medium to high heat making sure to stir until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to stir the mixture while reducing to half of the original volume.

Leave to cool and then pour into a small container or squeezy bottle.

Japanese inspired tartar sauce

120g kewpie mayonnaise
50g small dill pickles (cornichon) diced small
20g finely diced red onion
1 hard-boiled egg grated
Heaped tablespoon of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp dijon mustard

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Angelo used wholegrain mustard which I've substituted for dijon (it's what I had). Only the egg white was used in his recipe but I prefer adding the yolk to bump up the richness of the tartar sauce.

Shredded cabbage and salted cucumber

100g finely shredded white cabbage

After shredding I soaked my cabbage in iced water to increase the crispy texture.

I use a mandolin to finely slice the cucumber, if you use a knife try to slice it as thin as you can. Place the cucumber in a bowl and generously sprinkle with salt. Leave for 20 minutes and squeeze the excess moisture from the cucumber.

Pane chicken

3 whole, boned and trimmed chicken thighs
50g cornflour
2 whole eggs beaten
150g panko breadcrumbs
1-litre vegetable oil

I choose chicken thighs that are in one piece with the bone removed for this recipe. Each thigh should be large enough for one sandwich. Trim the chicken to remove excess fat, skin and veins. If some parts of the thigh are exceptionally thick I use a knife to even out the thickness.

1. Place the cornflour, beaten eggs and panko breadcrumbs in separate bowls, wide enough to take the chicken.

2. Coat the chicken in the cornflour making sure to shake off any excess. Next, pass the chicken through the beaten egg letting any excess drip off. Coat the chicken in the breadcrumbs making sure to cover it well.

3. Heat the vegetable oil to 180c or 355f. Be extremely careful while working with hot oil and deep-frying. See the section above on using a digital thermometer to monitor temperatures.

4. Carefully lower the chicken into the hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

5. Leave to drain on kitchen paper.

Putting the Katsu Sando together

1. Place two slices of soft white bread onto your chopping board.

2. Spread a generous amount of the tartar sauce onto each slice

3. Cover one slice with shredded white cabbage. If you soaked your cabbage in iced water make sure you drain it and pat it dry with kitchen paper.

4. Generously drizzle the cabbage with the nanban sauce and place some slices of cucumber on top.

5. Add one piece of chicken followed by another generous drizzle of nanban sauce. Place the other piece of bread on top.

6. If you want to make this look pretty you can trim the edges of the sandwich. I certainly did this for the first one… the second and third didn’t get a chance for trimming!

Don't f to check out my Japanese Hokkaido milk bread recipe, It's the perfect bread to wrap this sandwich up!

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