The other day I was playing with Steven’s Nintendo DS and made some (virtual) pork katsu with Cooking Mama. Cooking Mama is a game that allows players to “cook” various meals by performing tasks such as chopping vegetables, pouring batter, kneading dough, etc. using the DS touchpad and stylus. For the pork katsu, the first task was to make slices in the meat. After a few swipes with the stylus, Mama said I did a very good job. Next, I had to tenderize the meat and with a few taps on the touch screen, my pork chop was fully tender. Following that I had to tap on the pork in a tray of flour, flip, tap again, then into the egg, swirl around, and onto another tray. Okay sounds easy enough. The first 3 cutlets went pretty well. But on the fourth cutlet, I couldn't get the pork to flip for the life of me. And there it sat on the tray of flour while I furiously drew on the screen to try to flip it and yelled at the handheld console. Then, I ran out of time. Boo, only 3 out of 4. I breaded the cutlets with panko and fried them until they were golden brown. Finally, I artfully arranged my food on a plate and waited for my score. Only a 91, a silver medal, all because that last cutlet just wouldn’t flip in the flour. I told Steven that cooking in real life isn’t nearly as frustrating as cooking in Cooking Mama (he's better at virtual cooking than I am). In fact, I made (real) pork katsu last night and I had no trouble flipping it in flour.
Pork katsu or tonkatsu is deep fried pork cutlet served with katsu sauce, a Worcestershire-like sauce. According to Wikipedia, it is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. Ironically, pork katsu was originally invented in the late 19th century as a sort of Western style dish to appeal to Japanese tastes, but over the years it has become more and more Japanese and is now served with rice and miso soup. It was one of my favorite lunches during my undergraduate days.
Traditionally, pork katsu is deep fried but I have a confession to make: I, Amy Chen, am scared of deep frying. I love deep fried foods but I’m just too scared to do it at home. I don’t trust my cheap candy/fry thermometer that takes eons to read a temperature (There will be an oil fire before it says the oil is 350 degrees). Purists will be shocked but I panfried the pork instead and it still turned out pretty crunchy.
4 boneless pork loin chops
Salt and pepper
Flour (about 1/4 C)
1 Egg, beaten
1 1/2 C panko
1/4 C ketchup
2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
I buy bone-in loin chops and debone the chops myself and keep the bones for soup (plus it's cheaper this way).
Make a slice through the fat and silverskin (tough whitish fiberous membrane) that surrounds the outer edge of the chop every 2 inches around the chop. This helps the chops flatten more evenly and prevent them from curling when cooked. Pound each cutlet with a meat mallet until 1/4 in thick. Use the waffle surface (spiky side) to tenderize the meat and the smooth side to pound the chop to a thin even layer (the bottom of a pan also works).
Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chop then dredge the pork cutlet in flour and shake off the excess. Then coat the chop in beaten egg and bread with panko. Repeat for each cutlet.
Heat 1/4 in of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place the pork chops in the hot oil and fry each side until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel and pat off the excess oil.
Cut into bite size pieces before serving. Serve with rice and katsu sauce (optional: miso soup and cabbage)