However, the Japanese do eat bread, especially in modern times. They even make sandwiches very similar to ours, albeit with some Japanese flair, called "sando" (サンド). Some popular fillings include egg salad or ham, but you may be surprised to see even varieties like fruit sandwiches.
|Marukai's Katsu Sando|
Here's a hearty sando using tonkatsu, one which is a snap to make if you make a whole bunch of tonkatsu at once and freeze the extras. This is also good for those of you who don't have a rice cooker, or you too have your own version of Mr. Mochi breathing down your neck while you edit a blog post. (Hence the less than stellar photography, and I actually only had some pretty wimpy cheap white bread around.)
|So-su is a must for this sando|
Katsu Sando (カツサンド)
2 slices of bread
shredded cabbage or lettuce
mayo (I prefer Japanese mayo like Kewpie)
For the tonkatsu:
1 boneless pork chops (1/2" thick)
1 tbs all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
|Toasting frozen tonkatsu|
To make the tonkatsu, trim the excessive fat off the pork chops and make cuts along the edge of the meat to keep it from curling. Then, either tenderize by making cuts all of the surface of the meat or giving it a couple good whacks with a meat mallet. Season with salt and pepper, then dredge in the following order: flour, egg, then panko crumbs. Make sure the pork is completely coated, paying attention to the edge of the cutlet. Pour the oil into a saucepan, you only need about 1.5-2" of oil. Heat the oil to 350°F and fry the cutlets, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total. If it's a small pan, fry one piece at a time or two, don't crowd the pieces or the temperature of the oil will plummet. After the panko is a rich golden brown, remove cutlet from oil and drain on a wire rack. Let cool to room temperature.
Spread mayo thinly on both slices. Top one slice with the tonkatsu, then drizzle so-su on the tonkatsu, as little or as much to your liking. Follow with your preferred amount of shredded cabbage or lettuce, then the second slice of bread. For the most Japanese, who for whatever reason love sando crustless, cut off the crusts and cut sandwich in half. Makes one sandwich.
If you don't have access to shokupan: I recommend toasting normal white bread, so that it's not so soft. You could also get a bakery loaf that has a thicker slice and more hefty crumb. Alternatively, if you want to keep the bread ultra-soft and don't want to toast it, cut the bread in half and cut the crust off before assembling the sandwich. If you cut the tonkatsu in half ahead of assembly as well, then when you put it all together you won't have to cut through the whole sandwich, preventing the bread from getting flattened.
Tonkatsu Kare Donburi