Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Pork Katsu

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.

Pork Katsu
4 boneless pork loin chops
Salt and pepper
Flour (about 1/4 C)
1 Egg, beaten
1 1/2 C panko

Katsu Sauce
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)

Serves 4.


Anonymous said...

Can have curry katsu too! You like spicy food? I've cooked curry pork katsu before. Love it! In fact, just did a review posting yest. :D

Passionate Eater said...

Hmm, there must be a bug in Cooking Mama, because that katsu looks like it is worthy of a gold medal (and not a paltry silver one)!

Amy said...

Hi Tigerfish,
How do you make curry katsu? Is the curry flavor in the pork or the sauce? Sounds very intriguing. :)

Hi PE,
Aww thanks! I have trouble flipping the takoyaki too, must be something wrong with the touchscreen. ;P

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

That sounds like such a neat game! Right up a foodie's alley.

Unknown said...

Hmph there's no problem with my touchscreen. I'm a better virtual cook than real life.

Andrea said...

Amy, I'm in agreement with you about deep frying! No matter how good it tastes, I can't stand the funky smell that seems to hang around for days after. I've decided to take all deep frying operations outside on the grill sideburner.

By the way, the pork looks delicious, and I will definitely give this one a try.

Amy said...

Hi Ari,
The game is really cute and unique (sometime's a little frustrating). ;)

Hi Steven,
Hehe I'm just kidding. :P But you are a better virtual cook.

Hi Andrea,
I dislike the smell of lingering oil too. I hope you like the recipe! :)

Andrea said...

I made this for my family this weekend, and we really enjoyed it. The pork was nice and crispy, and the sauce was delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Amy said...

No problem! I'm so happy it turned out well. :)


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