This 4-ingredient recipe for katsu sauce is fast, easy, and creates a phenomenal flavor. Ketchup, Worcestershire, oyster sauce, and brown sugar conspire to create a sauce that is insanely savory with a tantalizing tang.
Today’s recipe for katsu sauce, or tonkatsu sauce, is a gift from the world of Japanese cuisine. Often referred to as Japanese barbecue sauce, this sauce is traditionally paired with breaded and fried cutlets of meat.
As simple as the ingredient list seems, this sauce delivers a serious dose of flavor. It features the bright, enticing tanginess of ketchup and the scintillating savory-sweetness of Worcestershire and oyster sauce.
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We add a touch of sweetness and get a concoction that will transform the simplest of meals into a sweet-and-sour sensation. This katsu sauce recipe is the perfect way to jazz up a quick weeknight meal!
- Ketchup – Brings a variety of flavors to the tables with sweet, salty, savory, and sour hints. It also gives the katsu sauce a smooth, slightly thicker texture that makes it excellent for dipping and drizzling.
- Worcestershire Sauce – This intensely umami sauce infuses the recipe with salty, savory, sour, and sweet flavors. If you don’t have any available, or you want an anchovy-free option, you can try substituting in some balsamic vinegar or soy sauce with a bit of sugar added. The flavor of your sauce will be slightly different but still delicious.
- Oyster Sauce – Has a deep, complex profile that adds a uniquely fishy, savory-sweet flavor. It tastes somewhere between fish sauce and soy sauce. Look for this ingredient in the international food aisle or at a local Asian market. However, if you need an alternative, you have lots of options. You can use fish sauce, soy sauce, or even more Worcestershire sauce with a little bit of sugar added.
- Brown Sugar – Harmonizes the recipe and adds an earthy, caramel-like sweetness. I definitely prefer the taste of brown sugar for this katsu sauce recipe, but other sweeteners like white sugar, honey, molasses, or maple syrup could do the job. Feel free to add more or less sugar, depending on your tastes.
What does katsu mean?
Katsu is a shortened version of the Japanese term katsuretsu. In English, this roughly translates to cutlet while tonkatsu translates to pork cutlet.
- Combine Ingredients. Use a small bowl or jar to combine all the katsu sauce ingredients.
- Whisk or Shake. Whisk thoroughly (or shake if using a jar) until all the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has a nice, smooth consistency. That’s it!
Katsu sauce is a simple combination of a few intensely flavorful ingredients. This particular katsu sauce recipe is quite minimal, requiring only 4 ingredients. Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, and brown sugar come together to create this sweet and savory masterpiece.
Other recipes sometimes also include freshly chopped garlic, ginger, a dash of cayenne, or other zesty ingredients. In fact, a traditional katsu sauce recipe contains upwards of 10 different spices and includes a menagerie of fruits and vegetables. Carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, lemon juice, prunes, dates, and apples are all likely candidates.
Don’t worry though! As I mentioned, this particular version is the quickest and easiest one you’ll find, letting the Worcestershire and oyster sauce to do the heavy lifting.
Yes, tonkatsu sauce is the same as katsu sauce.
Although there are several different types of katsu out there, tonkatsu just so happens to be the original recipe this sauce was used for. Hence, the names are often used interchangeably.
So while all katsu is not necessarily tonkatsu, the sauces used are exactly the same.
This savory sweet sauce is traditionally served with breaded and fried cutlets, often chicken or Pork Tonkatsu (Katsu). It makes an amazing drizzle, dip, or even sandwich spread. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
– Drizzle your katsu sauce on any of the many different types of katsu dishes. Choose from tonkatsu (pork cutlet), chicken katsu, tofu katsu, salmon katsu, veggie katsu and more.
– Use as a dipping sauce for Asian appetizers like Pork Pot Stickers or Crab Rangoon.
Start your meal off right with a nice hot bowl of Hot and Sour or Miso Soup.
– Pair your katsu dish with a steaming heap of Jasmine Rice or Hibachi Fried Rice.
– Freshen up your meal with a Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono Salad) or fresh garden salad of your choice.
– Add some tender, stir-fried vegetables to the menu with this Bok Choy Stir Fry, Vegetable Stir Fry, or these Asian Green Beans.
– Feel free to get creative with your tonkatsu sauce too! Try it with chicken tenders, chicken wings, french fries, or any of your favorite snacks — anywhere you might use barbecue sauce.
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- In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the ingredients until sugar is dissolved and a smooth sauce forms.
- Store in an airtight container and keep in refrigerator for up to 2–3 weeks.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.