Thursday, August 30, 2007

Katsu Curry

The Japanese love their curry. I have to say, I love their curry too. Usually sold in pre-made pasty blocks, the most popular brands are S&B and Vermont. I prefer the S&B brand. It has a stronger curry flavor and the hot variety tends to be a bit spicier than the other brands. I also love tonkatsu. Panko coated pork cutlets fried golden brown with a savory soy and onion sauce. Katsu curry is probably one of my favorite all time comfort foods. I order it nearly once a week for lunch from a Japanese restaurant called Hana, which happens to be right around the corner from work. They may not be the best place for sushi but they make a mean katsu curry. When I was in culinary school I was lucky to have a great Japanese chef as one of my teachers. He was also a world champion ice carver. He carved a ten foot tall samurai standing on a wave that was so life-like it was scary. I learned a lot about Japanese cuisine from him. He had us learn almost every Japanese term that could relate to food. I probably memorized about 400 Japanese words and phrases for his tests and learned to cook over 200 Japanese dishes in my relatively short but intense time under his watch. One of the dishes he taught me to make would become one of favorites. Here's my recipe for it.

Katsu Curry
4 thinly cut pork cutlets, about 4 oz each
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
canola oil, for frying

1 lb yukon gold potatoes, quartered
1 onion, sliced
1 block of Japanese curry, follow brand instructions
water, as needed
steamed white rice

In a large pot over medium high heat saute the onions in a little oil for about 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes and saute a few minutes more. Add the curry paste and stir until fragrant and somewhat dissolved. Then add the right amount of water according to the curry instructions (4-6 cups). Lower the heat to medium low and make sure the curry dissolved in the water.

Meanwhile in a skillet filled 3/4 of the way with canola oil over medium high heat you will fry the pork. First dip the pork cutlets into the egg and then coat with the panko. Shake to remove excess breading and fry 2-3 minutes each side, until golden brown. Place pork a plate lined with a paper towel to remove the grease.

After simmering about 10-15 minutes the potatoes should be soft and the curry sauce should have thickened. Spoon some rice on a plate. Cover with curry, onions, and potatoes. Slice a pork cutlet on the bias and place on top of the curry. I hope you like as much as I do.

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