Tonkatsu Sauce: The Basic recipe

Tonkatsu is another Japanese gastronomy fast becoming a global favorite!
The tonkatsu is not that difficult to achieve, but too often disappointment comes with the wrong choice of sauce or simply not realizing that the sauce is half of the recipe!

The sauce is not difficult to create and it is open to a lot of variations, so next time instead of using a dubious (cheap) product make your own!

The following recipe is only a basic one which will allow to work on quantities according to your taste and priorities!


Sesame seeds
Soy sauce (plenty of possibilities there!)
Worcestershire sauce (my favorite is Lea & Perrins, but it’s up to you!)
Tomato ketchup (if you can make your own, so much the better. Try and void too sweet specimens!)
Water (easy on that!)


Sesame seeds are the most important point in a tonkatsu sauce!
The more, the better!
Use golden sesame seeds.
First dry-fry them.

Grind the sesame seeds thoroughly with a mortar (Japanese-style is best!) and pestle.
Bear in mind that the mortar must be big enough to contain all the sauce!

This is where improvisation and personal tastes come into consideration!
First add Soy sauce, Tomato ktechup and Worcestershire sauce.
Mix well and check taste, then add sugar.
Check taste and rectify if necessary.
Add water to liquefy the sauce. Careful there. Too much water and you will end up with soup! Proceed slowly!

Taste again to make sure it is perfect!
Now, there are many things you could further add:
I personally add some very strong Japanese mustard for more zip.
Ground pices of all spices can be considered, but proceed carefully!
There is no need to add salt!

Try to present the sauce in the mortar for better impression and invite your family, friends or guests to serve themselves!


With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
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Must-see tasting websites:

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-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
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13 thoughts on “Tonkatsu Sauce: The Basic recipe”

  1. Tonkatsu sauce may be half the recipe, but I find the thinly sliced and crisp cabbage served along with it to be just as crucial. It complements the crispy texture of the panko in a refreshing manner, without it it seems like just a slightly altered katsudon.

    How does this rank against the bulldog variant? I like to pour the sauce over the cabbage and then into my rice as I eat the tonkatsu.

    Before I had access to the Bulldog I made my own, but it was so hearty that it resembled a chutney more than a sauce, its still quite good and I still make it to this day as it had both grated apples and mango puree as the sweet-tangy component. What can i say, I was inspired after a few episodes of Dotchi no Ryōri show.

    Big fan of your blog, DL. I especially liked the posts about the onsen.


    1. Dear Friend!
      I totally agree with you, the shredded cabbage is all important!LOL
      Bulldog sauce is fine although a bit too sweet for my own taste!
      You just started your blog? Do you live in Japan?


      1. Robert-Gilles,

        Sorry for the delayed response, I’ve been working flatout on the project you see on my blog–and much progress has been made as a result, I’ll have more recent progress shots up soon. Unfortunately, my koktatsu heating unit and a few artisan pieces were destroyed in transport from Japan. I’ve been having to play catchup ever since and find replacements.

        No, I don’t live in Japan, I live in S. California; there are a few shots of what is literally my front yard (Pacific Ocean) on my blog. Which places me at a disadvantage when trying to procure Japanese goods–as alluded to in the aforementioned–for example I was initially looking for a source for a whole dried katsuobushi and shaver last year to no avail, which is actually how I found your blog. The dashi powder, its what is commonly available at the Japanese stores here, that I buy is from Shizuoka-ken and is ok when in a pinch. The niban is quite thin so I tend to just add it to a more robust and aromatic roasted niboshi dashi; the two mixed are rather good in udon and aka miso soup.

        I find the Bulldog sauce enjoyable in limited quantities for just the very same reason, its quite sweet with an indescribable aftertaste, its not entirely bad, but as I mentioned previously the cabbage is a must to cleanse the pallet.

        Kind Regards,

        Edgar (ibuildkotatsu)


  2. Robert-Gilles, you can absolutely be sure I will make this sauce. It will probably make us eat more tonkatsu to 🙂 I happen to have the Japanese mortar and find it perfect for sesame grinding and it is such a beautiful object 🙂
    According to one of my British friends, Lea & Perrins is THE original Worcestershire sauce and all others are worse copies, so you have a very good taste 😉
    I make my own ketchup every year (one of the most demanding and expensive preserves, but the taste is heavenly).


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