Essentially a Japanese spin on a chicken schnitzel sandwich, what's not to love? Coating the chicken in crunchy panko crumbs is oh-so right, and the tonkatsu sauce is a punchy version of barbecue sauce. Fluffy white bread is a must, best cut from an unsliced loaf, while cucumber pickles cut through the richness. Start this a day ahead to pickle the cucumber.
- 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 80 gm panko crumbs
- 2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds, plus extra to serve
- 16 thick slices soft white bread, crusts removed
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthways and seeds scooped out
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1For pickled cucumber, bring soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and 2 tbsp water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Thickly slice cucumber and place in a jar large enough to fit it snugly. Pour pickling mixture into jar to cover cucumber completely, seal and refrigerate at least overnight. Pickled cucumber will keep for 2 weeks; drain before using.
- 2For egg salad, cook eggs in a saucepan of boiling water (7 minutes for medium yolks), refresh under cold running water, peel, then tear into pieces and place in a bowl. Mix mayonnaise, mustard and rice vinegar in a separate bowl until smooth, drizzle mixture over eggs to taste, scatter with spring onion and set aside.
- 3Halve chicken breasts horizontally so you have two escalopes from each breast. Pound each between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 4mm-5mm. Place beaten egg and flour in separate wide bowls. Combine panko and sesame seeds on a tray and season to taste. Turn chicken in flour to coat, then egg, then crumbs, pressing into crumbs so they stick.
- 4Heat 2cm oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering, then shallow-fry chicken in batches, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through (1-2 minutes each side; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels, then halve.
- 5Spread the bread slices with tonkatsu sauce. Top half with chicken, then a little mayonnaise, season to taste, sandwich with remaining bread and cut into fingers. Scatter sandwiches and egg salad with extra roasted sesame seeds and serve with pickled cucumber.
Tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, such as Kewpie, are available from specialist grocery stores. If tonkatsu sauce is unavailable, make your own by combining 80ml tomato ketchup, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp caster sugar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard and ½ tsp garlic powder.
Drink Suggestion: Cloudy, fragrant hefeweizen Drink suggestion by Max Allen