Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Week 41 - TONKATSU

Menu of the Week - 25 January 2006

Breakfast -- Yogurt and cherry sauce.
Lunch -- Chicken soup.
Dinner -- Tonkatsu. Cabbage salad.

When I was in Japan I could not afford to eat in restaurants. It’s not that I was so broke, but the restaurants were really expensive. I met a young woman who wanted to practice her English so she took me out for dinner. We went to a tonkatsu restaurant – a place that served a breaded pork cutlet with tonkatsu sauce. It’s a western-style dish, as far as Japanese food goes, and it’s quite easy to make at home. Recently, my bookclub read Memoires of a Geisha and the theme for dinner was, of course, Japanese. So, I looked up a recipe for tonkatsu. It is one the few Japanese dishes I’ve found that can be made with mostly Saskatchewan ingredients.

4 pork loin cutlets, trimmed of bone and fat
(I bought cutlets that had been tenderized – ie: pounded – by the butcher. Each cutlet was then large enough to be cut in two.)
salt and pepper
2 T flour
1 egg, whisked
1 cup good white bread crumbs (by this I mean, no factory bread)
canola oil for deep frying
tonkatsu sauce (see below)
finely shredded cabbage for garnish

Place the breadcrumbs on a cookie sheet and toast under the broiler until they are crispy and brown, turning once or twice. Pound the meat to tenderize it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dust it in flour. Dip into whisked egg. Coat with dried breadcrumbs, pressing with your finger so the breadcrumbs firmly adhere to the meat. Let rest about 15 minutes. In the meantime, heat enough oil in a frying pan that it will just cover the pork. Fry the cutlets in the hot oil, about 5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. To serve, cut the cutlet into several bite-sized slices. Place some cabbage beside it, and spoon on the tonkatsu sauce.

You can buy the sauce, but it’s also easy to make by mixing 4T ketchup, 2T Worcester sauce and 2T soy sauce.

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