Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tonkatsu with Vegetables

Tonkatsu is really nothing more than breaded and lightly fried pork chop, usually served with shredded cabbage and a Worcestershire/soy/ketchup sauce.  I made my tonkatsu the "traditional" way (OK, I'm really not sure if tonkatsu is traditional, so you'll have to ask someone who knows a little bit more about Japanese food for that one), but since I don't have any cabbage or Worcestershire sauce on hand, I decided to match it with broccoli and mushroom, and I made up a similar sauce from what I had.  This is a super simple dish to make, and really doesn't require any ingredients you can't pick up at the local supermarket, save for maybe mirin.

I've attempted making tonkatsu in the past, but I've had difficulty with keeping the breading attached when I go to cut it.  The reason?  You must let the pork rest in the fridge for at least 7-10 minutes after breading and before you go throwing it in the pan.  Why?  Erm.... OK, I'm not quite sure, but it makes the breading stick better.  You'll just have to trust me on that on.  (This goes for breading anything--even chicken.) 

My other tip is that if you don't have a meat mallet (which you can join me in the crowd of raised hands), you can use any heavy-duty roughly-flat kitchen utensil such as a potato masher (which is what I used) or even a rolling pin.... just don't break anything in the process.


Tonkatsu with Vegetables

Ingredients:

1 pork chop
3 Tbsp. flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil
pinch salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
3 small dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. mirin
handful of broccoli

for sauce:
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. mirin

hot cooked rice
schichimi togarashi (optional, to serve)


After rinsing and drying the pork with a paper towel, trim any fat from the chop.  Wrap a piece of plastic wrap very loosely around the pork an pound until 3/16 to 1/4 in. thickness.  Unwrap the pork.

Place the flour in on bowl, the egg in another, and the panko crumbs on a plate.  Coat the pork with the flour and shake off the excess.  Then dip in the egg until thoroughly coated.  Let the excess egg drip off, then lay in the panko.  Press the crumbs onto the surfaces.  Cover the plate with the crumbs and pork with plastic and put in the fridge until needed.  Discard the flour, but keep the egg.

Add the salt and the sugar to the egg and stir until dissolved.  Set aside.

Trim up the broccoli as needed, then place in a bamboo steamer lined with parchment.  Place the basket in a pan of water and steam the broccoli until softened, but try not to over cook.  (Alternatively, use a regular metal steamer tray in a covered pot, or boil the broccoli.)

Cut the mushrooms into 1/2 in. strips.  Set aside.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce.  Set aside.

Remove the pork from the fridge.  Heat about 2 Tbsp. oil in a pan, then add the pork.  Pan-fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is nicely golden-brown.  Flip the pork over and fry until golden-brown.  The pork should be cooked through.  Remove the pork from the pan, but do not cut yet.

Add the mushrooms to the pan, and pour over with the soy sauce and mirin.  The liquid should come to a froth.  Stir the mushrooms until nearly all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove the mushrooms from the pan.

Using a paper towel, wipe the remaining soy sauce from the pan.  Add a tiny bit of oil.  Pour in the egg and cook scrambled until just set.  Turn off the heat.

To serve, put rice in the bottom of a serving bowl.  Add the egg on top.  Cut the pork into 1/2 in. strips and place on top of the egg.  In another serving bowl, put the broccoli and top with the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with shichimi togorashi.  Serve with sauce.

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