Yes, it’s fusion. Chicken katsu is Japanese but the inclusion of tomato sauce and cheese makes the filling quite similar to chicken Parmesan. Why cook the chicken katsu-style? Why not just dredge in flour and fry? One word — panko. This bread crumb invented by the Japanese gives any fried food an incomparable crispy surface.
But don’t think it’s a lot of added work when using panko. If you were coooking fried chicken with flour, you’d dredge it in flour, dip in egg (or milk) and coat it with flour again. The only difference here is that instead of a second coating of flour, you use panko. The rest of the steps are the same.
You pound the chicken fillets so that the thickness is uniform. You don’t want the chicken to be overcooked in spots and undercooked in others after all.
Then, you build the crust. The seasoned chicken is dusted with flour before it is dipped in egg. Dusted? It means you just want a very light layer of flour on the chicken. So, you dredge and shake off the excess.
With the surface of the chicken fillets moist with egg, it is easy to make the panko stick. After that, you fry until the crust is golden and crisp.
Now the things that go on top of the chicken… You return the chicken to the frying pan. No more oil this time. You spread tomato sauce on top and lay slices on cheese. Just wait for the cheese to melt and you’re ready to assemble your sandwiches.
To make the sandwiches
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 4 to 8 slices mozzarella
- 4 to 8 slices Parmesan
- 4 bagels or your bread of choice, split and toasted
- arugula or lettuce
Fry the chicken
- Pound the chicken between sheets of cling wrap until the meat is half an inch in thickness.
- Lay the chicken pieces flat and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the flour, beaten egg and panko in three shallow bowls.
- Dredge each chicken thigh in flour; shake off the excess.
- Dip each floured chicken thigh in the beaten egg, making sure that every inch of the surface is coated with egg.
- Roll each chicken fillet in panko. Make sure that the panko coating is even.
- Heat enough cooking oil so that it is at least an inch and a half deep.
- Over medium heat, fry the breaded chicken fillets for two to three minutes per side.
- Drain the chicken on paper towels.
Assemble the cheesy fried chicken sandwiches
- Place the cooked Parmesan-crusted chicken fried steaks in a hot pan.
- Slather the tomato sauce on top.
- Arrange the cheese slices over the tomato sauce, cover the pan and, over low heat, let the tomato sauce get heated through which should be just enough time to melt the cheese. A minute, really, so long as the pan is hot.
- Cover the bottom halves of the bagels with greens, place the chicken and everything on it on top of the greens, cover with the top half of the bagels and enjoy.