Chicken Katsu Recipe – Fresh Canteen Menu Mashup Challenge

A handful of media were invited to the St. Lawrence Market Kitchen to experience Fresh Canteen‘s new ready-to-cook meal-in-a-box service in Toronto.  After trying their duck with grape sauce recipe (see post here about the recipe, service & experience), we were sent home with a mock-butter chicken box and a challenge to mash it up to create our own recipe.

I took the ingredients Fresh Canteen's Mock Butter Chicken Ingredients

With a few small edits and substitutions created a Chicken Katsu with rice, fresh pickled salad and homemade tonkatsu sauce.

Ingredients for Chicken Katsu

Not bad if I do say so myself.

I was introduced to Chicken Katsu by Paul and the ladies at Sakura in Village by the Grange in the 80s when I was on a work-term at BNR.  It quickly became a favourite and I’d get it to go and eat it al fresco in Grange Park year round. About 10 years ago we started making it at home so I didn’t have to sit in the snow to get my Chicken Katsu fix.

Chicken Katsu a la Lex

Traditionally chicken katsu is served with tonkatsu sauce, rice and shredded cabbage.  We’ve done it with a homemade tonkatsu (recipe below) and a fresh pickled salad for a little extra hit of flavour.

Chicken Katsu w/ fresh pickled salad


serves 2

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c flour  (approx – you need enough to cover all the chicken.)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c panko  (approx – you need enough to cover all the chicken.)
  • 4-6 T oil – preferably an oil that can tolerate high-heat.


  • remove the tenderloin from the chicken breast
  • butterfly the chicken breast into 2 thin pieces, by placing the chicken breast on your cutting board and cutting with your knife parallel the board (like you would slice a cake to make a layer cake.)
    Alternative: cut your chicken into fingers or tenders.
  • set up a dredging station with 3 shallow bowls:
    • mix the flour and salt and put them into the first bowl;
    • put the egg in the second bowl and beat it;
    • put the panko in the third bowl.
  • dredge each piece of chicken as follows:
    • put the chicken into the flour and coat it.
    • shake off the excess flour vigorously
    • move the chicken into the egg bowl and coat it in egg.
    • drip the extra egg off the chicken
    • move the chicken into the panko bowl and coat it in panko.
    • put the chicken on a plate to be cooked.
  • Wash everything that has been in contact with the raw chicken immediately with HOT water.  Even better, read and follow these tips on Chicken and food safety from Chicken Farmers of Canada.

Shallow-fry method (our preferred method)

  • add the oil to a heavy pan with high sides.  The oil should be about 1/3″ deep on the bottom of the pan.
  • WARNING at this stage ALL your attention should be kept on the oil and pan.
  • heat oil over medium to medium-high heat, until it shimmers.
  • add chicken giving each piece a little wiggle room in the pan.
  • fry until deep golden brown on each side and cooked through. This will vary on how thick you sliced your chicken, but estimate 8 minutes per side.
  • if it’s cooking too fast, turn down the heat a bit.
  • The chicken will be done when you have a meat thermometer reading of 165°F (74°C) or by cutting into the thickest part of the chicken while it’s in the pan – it should be white and opaque everywhere!
  • remove from pan and drain on paper towel.

OR the Oven-cook method (lower fat method)

  • preheat your oven to 425
  • put your chicken pieces on a cookie sheet
  • cook for 15 minutes
  • turn the chicken pieces over and return to the oven
  • cook for 15 minutes more.
  • The chicken will be done when you have a meat thermometer reading of 165°F (74°C) or by cutting into the thickest part of the chicken while it’s in the pan – it should be white and opaque everywhere!
  • remove from pan and drain on paper towel.

Fresh Pickled Salad

Fresh Pickle Salad


  • 5 radishes – sliced thinly
  • 2 small cucumbers – sliced thinly
  • 1/4 small onion – sliced thinly
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 clove garlic – minced finely
  • 1 chili – seeded & minced finely
  • 1/8 t salt


  • wash & slice vegetables.  You can do thin slices or matchstick, but try and have the slices about the same thickness for all vegetables.
  • mix vinegar and sugar, until the sugar is dissolved
  • remove the seeds and membrane from the chili,
  • mince chili and garlic
  • add garlic, chili and salt to the vinegar mixture.
  • pour vinegar mixture over vegetables
  • stir to coat all the vegetables
  • let rest at least 10 minutes, up to overnight.


  • slice the chicken katsu in strips against the grain of the chicken breast
  • place on the plate with a portion of rice and the fresh pickled salad.
  • drizzle the tonkatsu sauce over the chicken breast and rice
  • if you are feeling fancy, garnish with thinly slice green onion.


Bottled Sauces

Rather than making your own sauce, you can make the whole process a little easier by using a store bought Tonkatsu, Hoisin or Ponzu sauce. All work well with this dish and reduce the fussing significantly.

Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

This sauce can be served hot or room temperature drizzled over your Chicken Katsu, or as a dipping sauce.  We like to leave it unstrained with the tiny chunks of ginger and garlic still there for extra hits of flavour, but you can strain it for a more uniform sauce.


  • 3 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 T soy sauce
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T fresh ginger – minced
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t chili flake
  • 1 t raisins
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3/4c water


  • combine all the ingredients  in a small pot,
  • if the mixture is still thick, add a bit more water.
  • over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil.
  • reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes to combine the flavours and thicken the sauce.
  • remove from heat.
  • optional: strain the sauce.


Chicken Katsu w/ chili honey lime sauce

Quick Chili Honey Lime Sauce


  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T chili or hot sauce – your favourite
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • optional: 1 fresh chilis – seeded and sliced thinly


  • combine all the ingredients until completely mixed.

Making Chicken Katsu w fresh pickled salad

Photos of the process

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

2 thoughts on “Chicken Katsu Recipe – Fresh Canteen Menu Mashup Challenge

  • October 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    i can see asking Alexa to make this for us ALL THE TIME now. And I’m going to insist on extra Tonkatsu sauce for all kinds of things.

  • October 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Glad you liked it!


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