1. Arts & Entertainment
  2. /
  3. Food

Try making this crispy chicken katsu sandwich with Japanese barbecue sauce at home

This Japanese-style sandwich rivals any fast-food chicken sandwich.
Japanese-style katsu chicken sandwich. [LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI  |  Special to the Times]
Japanese-style katsu chicken sandwich. [LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI | Special to the Times]
Published Oct. 2

Watch out fast-food joints. We have left you in the dust with this Japanese version of a chicken sandwich made in the katsu style.

Katsu is short for katsuretsu, meaning cutlet. This fried chicken cutlet sandwich is made with panko bread crumbs spiced with five-spice powder, lemon zest and Dijon mustard. The accompaniments take it over the top: homemade Japanese barbecue sauce with a kick of dry sherry. Then there’s the pickled zucchini, fragrantly spiced with fresh Thai basil and nutty toasted sesame seed oil.

That’s a lot of flavors, but they all work together in perfect harmony.

Serve this crispy chicken on a big sesame seed bun with a dollop of sauce. Top with a slice of tomato and a leaf of romaine lettuce. Go tall and top it all with a few tablespoons of the pickled zucchini. This versatile chicken can also be sliced to top a salad or served with white rice and a side of the pickled zucchini and a drizzle of your flavorful sauce.

Chicken Katsu Sandwich With Japanese Barbecue Sauce and Pickled Zucchini

For the Japanese barbecue sauce:

⅔ cup ketchup

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

½ teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder

For the pickled zucchini:

2 cups thinly sliced zucchini, cut in half into ¼-inch rounds, skin on or off

¼ cup finely minced scallions, green and white parts

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh Thai basil

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the chicken (katsu):

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded about ½ inch thick

2 large eggs, beaten

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon five-spice powder

1 teaspoon each fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

1 cup canola oil, or more if needed

6 large sesame seed buns

2 cups coarsely chopped romaine lettuce

6 (½-inch) slices ripe tomato

Make the barbecue sauce: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all the barbecue sauce ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

Make the pickled zucchini: In a medium mixing bowl, toss all the ingredients. Set aside.

Make the chicken: Trim and then pound each chicken cutlet to about ½ inch thick. Place a rack in a half sheet pan and set by the stovetop.

Use two shallow bowls. In the first bowl: Whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard and soy sauce to a smooth consistency. In the second bowl: Whisk together the panko, flour, brown sugar, five-spice, salt, pepper and lemon zest.

Dip each cutlet first in the egg mixture. Second, dip each cutlet in the panko crumb mixture, push the crumbs onto the chicken to get an even thick coating. Set on a platter by the stovetop.

In a 12-inch or larger fry pan, add ½ cup canola oil, heat on medium high until shimmering. Add an even layer of breaded chicken cutlets not to crowd, about 3. Keep the oil at a constant temperature to keep the cutlet crisp. Fry on each side until golden brown and cooked through, remove in an even layer to the rack lined half sheet pan to drain off the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining chicken cutlets, adding more oil to the pan if needed. Keep warm in a 175-degree oven until ready to serve.

Make your sandwich: Place a fried chicken cutlet on the bottom of the bun. Slather generously with the reserved barbecue sauce. Top with romaine lettuce, a slice of fresh tomato and about 2 tablespoons or more of the reserved pickled zucchini (drain off excess juice first). Place the top on the roll and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Source: Lorraine Fina Stevenski

Lorraine Fina Stevenski is a self-taught baker and award-winning recipe contest addict. This column features recipes that have been entered in contests across America and updated for readers who love to bake. Check out what she’s cooking and creating right now on her Facebook page, LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI. Contact her at


  1. Raspberry Gin Punch [Courtesy of Whitley Neill]
    Five recipes, and lots of tips, for perfecting a festive batch cocktail.
  2. A roasted vegetable frittata [MICHELLE KOBERNICK   |  Special to the Times]
    This good meal for guests comes together quickly.
  3. Tampa's Oak & Ola was one of two restaurants that the annual Golden Spoon Awards honored with its Best New title. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Locals nabbed nods from the Golden Spoon Awards and Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer, plus two wine tastings and half-off Willie Jewell’s barbecue.
  4. Bright Ice has started serving small-batch ice cream, dessert bars and coffee in St. Petersburg. [MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Times]
    Plus, a roundup of some recently announced spots.
  5. Almond date mix [MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    You need something simple and satisfying.
  6. From left: Owners Junbae Lee, Jim Barrie and Brittney Barrie are behind BarrieHaus Beer Co. in Ybor City. [MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Times]
    Its grand opening is Dec. 14 and 15.
  7. Debbie Bernhard, inset, posted an invitation in the "I Love St. Pete" Facebook group welcoming strangers into her home. [Debbie Bernhard]
    Debbie Bernhard was surprised by the reaction to her Facebook invitation.
  8. Christmas cookie illustration [Illustration by Lisa Merklin]
    Try an internationally inspired cookie plate this holiday season.
  9. The gingerbread latte at Intermezzo Coffee. [MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    From a Thai temple to a French bistro, here are some of our favorite bites this month.
  10. The Tampa Bay Repeal Day Gala will bring its Prohibition-themed bash back to Tampa's Cuban Club on Dec. 7. [Times (2011)]
    The Tampa Bay Repeal Day Gala in Ybor City, Largo’s Death by Chocolate, canning classes at the Fairgrounds, St. Pete’s Plant-Based Popup Dinner and more.