Tonkatsu Sauce (Japanese-Style Barbecue Sauce) Recipe

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Joshua Bousel

A few weeks ago I picked up some pork katsu for lunch, only to return to the office and find a vacant space where the that thick sweet and salty tonkatsu sauce should have been. As I tried to down the rather dry and flavorless katsu, I was forced to dig deep into the bowels of my desk to find what must have been a two-year old McDonalds ketchup packet—to inject some sort of sauciness into my fried pork. It was at this point that I vowed never go without my tonkatsu sauce ever again and decided to learn how to make it.

For what tastes like a rather complex sauce, it's very simple to put together. Although eaten alongside Japanese breaded and fried cutlets, the origins are actually British, with tonkatsu sauce being a sweeter and thicker variation of Worcestershire.

A quick mix of ketchup and Worcestershire gets you most of the way there. I added some soy sauce for extra salt, sugar and mirin for more sweetness, and mustard and garlic powder to add complexity. The end result was the exact sauce I was missing that sad day I was forced into using an inferior product to go with my crispy golden katsu.

Recipe Facts

3.5

(8)

Active: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Makes: 1/2 cup

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together ketchup, Worcestershire, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, mustard, and garlic powder. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.