Menchi katsu, which means “minced cutlet”, is not as popular as its pork-based cousin, tonkatsu. But thanks to its use of ground meat, Japanese home cooks have embraced it as an economical option. Imagine a burger patty that’s breaded with panko then deep-fried until gold and crispy.
You can make menchi katsu from beef, pork, or a mixture of both. We take inspiration from Yabu and stuff our patties with cheese, which melts into a rich, gooey filling when cooked. Take the time to chill the patties in the fridge before breading—this helps them stay firm and intact while dredging.
Serve these cheesy patties as you would tonkatsu: with hot white rice, shredded cabbage, and tonkatsu dipping sauce. Or sandwich them between toasted white bread for a filling snack.
- ½ cup hand-torn white bread pieces
- ¼–⅓ cup milk, heavy cream, or stock
- ½ tbsp neutral oil
- half a white onion, diced
- ½ cup ground pork, not lean
- ½ cup ground beef
- ¼ tsp salt, to taste
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, to taste
- 1 medium egg
- 4 slices processed cheese, preferably Quickmelt
- all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- panko bread crumbs
- neutral oil for deep frying
- steamed rice
- shredded cabbage
- tonkatsu sauce
Make panade: Combine bread pieces and milk in a bowl. Stir until you get a paste. Set aside.
Cook onions: Add oil to a pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 5–8 minutes. Set aside.
Make the patties: Combine pork and beef in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, panade, and cooked onions. Mix lightly with clean hands until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the egg and mix again. Keep it light and avoid overmixing!
Rest the meat mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes. This firms up the fat in the meat.
Shape the meat mixture into patties. Flatten each patty and place a slice of cheese in the center. Close the patty or cover it with more meat, until you have a round patty about ½- to ¾-inch thick.
Rest the patties in the fridge for 1 hour, or in the freezer for 30 minutes. This firms up the patties and makes them easier to handle during the breading stage.
Bread and fry the patties: Prepare your breading station by lining up three baking trays. Fill them with flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs respectively. Season flour with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Whisk with a fork to combine.
Before breading the patties, heat oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until the temperature reads 350°F.
Work with one patty at a time and bread them in this sequence: dredge in flour, dip in eggs, then generously coat in bread crumbs. Make sure the patties are fully covered. Set breaded patties aside on a plate.
Check if the oil is ready for frying—the temperature should be at 350°F. To test without a thermometer, drop a piece of panko into the hot oil. If it sizzles, it’s hot enough. Prepare a wire rack or plate lined with paper towels for the fried katsu.
Deep fry the menchi katsu until golden brown on both sides, 3–4 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared rack or lined plate to drain oil.
Serve while hot with steamed rice, shredded cabbage, and tonkatsu sauce.
Cooked onions add a sweet flavor to the menchi katsu.
Avoid overworking the patty mixture—this can cause your menchi katsu to become dense and hard. Keep your mixing “light” and handle the meat mixture as little as possible, mixing the ingredients only until just combined.
Based on our tests, using Quickmelt yields the richest, meltiest cheese center.
Avoid making patties that are too thick. They will take longer to fry, which can cause the breading to burn.