Tuesday, September 7, 2010

食べるとホッとする料理 (Japanese comfort food)

Katsu curry is one the best comfort foods in the world.  It consists of a Japanese gravy-esque curry (I use S&B brand) potatoes, carrots, steamed rice, and fried panko crusted pork cutlets.  Near my home is a sort of junk food type sushi restaurant that I love called Hana and they make the best katsu curry.  So warm and meaty.  On a cool Autumn day the dish is like a porky brown gravy hug from heaven.  It warms your bones and soul and makes you very sleepy. Arigatou gozaimasu (thank you very much) will be the only words that comes out of your steaming mouth as you shove in another comforting bite.  I love dishes that make you feel like everything will be okay.  Just got dumped or lose all your money in a pyramid scheme?  Eat a steaming bowl of katsu and you'll forget your troubles and afterwords you'll be so full that you'll need a nice long nap. Even more time to forget about how life is terrible.  Katsu curry is like that.  Your best friend in a crunchy fried meaty form.

Foods that comfort is not a unique Japanese idea.  In the states we have burgers and mac and cheese, Israelis have matzo ball soup, the English have shepherd's pie, the French have cassoulet, in Cuba they have arroz con pollo, and so on.  Some foods can hold back tears or rid you of a cold.  Some foods can calm your nerves and relieve grief.  It doesn't necessarily have to be healthy to heal you.  These dishes are full of memories and emotions and every time we eat them, we remember that there is pleasure to be had in this life.  All you have to do is eat.

Katsu Curry

2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons curry powder, preferably S&B
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 white onion, peeled and sliced
1 russet potato, peeled and large diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1 celery stick, slice on bias
1 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
salt and pepper tt

For the pork:
Peanut or canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
6 thin, center-cut boneless pork chops, lightly pounded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 scallions, thinly slice on the bias
Cooked short-grain sticky rice

1. Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, ginger and garlic until transluscent (4-5 minutes) Add the carrot, celery, and potato and cook a few minutes more.  Mix in the flour and curry powder, turn the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to make a light roux.

2. Stir in the chicken broth and cook, partly covered, over low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If needed, add a bit more stock to loosen the sauce.

3. Prepare the pork: Heat 1 inch of oil in a frying pan and set a candy thermometer in the oil. Place the eggs in a shallow bowl and the panko in another. When the oil is hot, season the pork chops all over with salt and pepper. Toss them one at a time in the egg and then in the panko, and fry in batches until browned, for about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and let rest a few minutes. Slice the pork chops against the grain. Serve the curry sauce over cooked Japanese rice. Top with the sliced pork and sliced scallions.  Serves 6


Dennis K. said...

Hi Violet, So Awesome!! Probably my favorite westernized Yoshoku Japanese comfort food evar. Was also of the very first Yellow Ranger (back from the 70's GoRanger series..) Well the curry anyway. Your version reads very healthy and nice and the panko crust on the katsu is better than I've seen in many Japanese eateries here in SD.. *Versatile you are...* (In voice of Yoda)

Violet Séverine said...

Well thank you very much Dennis. I love katsu curry. My second favorite is wafuu curry. I make mine with local tart green apples and chicken So yummy. Never watched GoRanger but I would have loved it as I was a huge Gatchaman/Jet Jaguar/Voltron fan. ;)

tigoxgirl said...

I just randomly came across your site and I do agree that Katsu Curry is a wonderful comfort food. I don't get much of it here in the south but when I went to Japan it was amazing! Now I try remaking it and it's never as good as it was in Japan, but at least it's good and brings back good memories! Take care!