Have you guys ever had menchi katsu? It’s kind of tonkatsu’s (that oh so crunchy panko-crusted deep-fried pork cutlet that is a must eat Japanese dish) cheaper, younger, more chill vibes cousin. It’s true Japanese B-cuisine: laid back, casual food that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg. When you’re in Japan, you can usually find menchi katsu at grocery stores or food halls, where they sell them for people to take home for dinner.
There’s also a very famous meat shop in Kichijoji called Satou that sells a very famous beef menchi katsu. Satou is a steak house as well as a butcher so they happen to have a lot of extra cuts of meat that they use for minced meat. Their menchi katsu is incredibly juicy – to the point of juice dripping down your hands if you’re not careful. The crunchy panko outsides are a delicious foil to the piping hot, soft and juicy insides. They’re worth the long line up!
But, of course, if you’re not in Tokyo and you have a menchi katsu craving, why not make your own? And why not use turkey in a tiny effort to be just the littlest bit healthy. Summer is coming after all. Gotta work on that summer body, am I right?
Menchi katsu is pretty easy to make. All you need to do is mix up ground meat with onion, panko, egg, and a bit of milk, much like a meatball. Shape them up, do a classic breading station of flour, egg, and panko, a dip in hot oil for a deeply golden crust, and you’re done.
I paired the menchi patties with karashi mustard (Japan’s version of yellow mustard), tonkatsu sauce, a toasted buttered brioche bun, and cheese because cheese makes everything even better. Cheese is like a VSCO filter, but for food. It was SO GOOD. Incredibly juicy, crunchy, and perfectly paired with the soft and fluffy brioche. Probably one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever made.
PS – Please ignore the expired tonkatsu sauce >_<
PPS – If you’re looking for more Tokyo snack foods, be sure to check out our guide!
Turkey Menchi Katsu Burger Recipe
makes 2 big burgers
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes
total time: 30 minutes
- 1/2 lb ground turkey thighs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 1 cup panko
- canola or grapeseed oil for deep frying
- sliced cheese
- toasted brioche buns
- mustard of choice
- takoyaki/tonkatsu sauce
In a bowl, mix the ground turkey with the milk, onion, 1/4 cup panko, egg, salt, and pepper. The mixture will be very loose. At this point, it would be best to put them in the fridge to firm up. If you feel like the mix is still to difficult to shape, you can add more panko to the mix, but the more panko you add the more dense your menchi katsu will be. Loose filling equals juicer, looser patties.
Divide the meat mixture into 2 equal portions and shape into patties. Dip into the flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then the panko, being sure to coat fully and evenly. Place the patties in the fridge while you heat up oil for deep frying.
In a very deep heavy bottomed pot, heat up 2 inches of oil over medium high heat until 350°F. Carefully lower in a menchi katsu and cook, flipping as needed, until deeply golden, crunchy, and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack. Top with a slice of cheese. Deep fry the other patty then top with a slice of cheese.
Spread mustard (I used Japanese mustard) on the bottom bun. Top with a cheesy menchi katsu patty and drizzle on sauce to taste. Top with the top bun and enjoy immediately!