It wasn’t until I moved to Seattle that I reluctantly tried Japanese food. Having grown up on a traditional UK diet of fish & chips, roast dinners and sausage & mash, Japanese food was distinctly “alien” to me.
As my hubby escorted me to Seattle’s International District for my first Japanese experience, I had butterflies in my stomach and Stephen King-esque thoughts running through my mind. I had seen many stomach churning eating challenges on “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” (when they make celebs eat stuff like live grubs, raw testicles and eyeballs!) and I couldn’t even watch that without having to peek through my fingers and getting the dry heaves – now here I was, about to endure a similar torture, but without any safe words to get me outta there!
Once inside Tsukushinbo (now one of my fave restaurants in Seattle) I was in no way comforted by the very traditional Japanese interior with full on sushi (raw fish!!!) bar – “at least we pass a McDonald’s on our way home” I thought.
As I had no idea what to order my hubby suggested the bento box so I could taste a selection of different dishes. As the server approached with my bento, I gave a rather idiotic nervous chuckle, followed by a huge sigh of relief as the contents became visible – there were no fish heads, slimy slithers, or terrible tentacles in sight! And that was it, ever since that moment I was smitten with Japanese food.
This love has only intensified with my trip to Japan this April, which also inspired me to attempt to re-create some of my favourite dishes at home. This Japanese Pork Katsu Recipe (deep-fried pork) is now a staple in our home – and is so easy to make!
A quick announcement for all local Seattle followers: a Night Market is being held today (Saturday, September 10th) from 4pm ’til midnight in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District – so go check it out! It’ll be my excuse to visit Tsukushinbo (again!) and to take a sneaky trip into Uwajimaya’s Asian Grocery to get some Ube Buns for dessert – sayōnara!
First you’ll need to lightly pound the pork steaks to a ¼ inch thickness and season with salt and pepper. Then get organised for the breading, by placing the flour, eggs and panko breadcrumbs into 3 separate trays – I got my prep trays from Tovolo, but you can use any shallow dish or tub.
Dredge a piece of pork into the flour, tapping off the excess. Then dip it into the egg, to coat both sides, allowing any excess to drip off. Finally press the pork into the panko breadcrumbs ensuring both sides of the meat are thoroughly coated in the crumb. Repeat this process with the second piece of pork.
Now you’ll need to heat the vegetable oil in a deep heavy-bottomed pan. The oil should reach 340ºF before you start to fry the pork, but if you don’t have a thermometer – or are more of a “suck it and see” cook like me! – you can test whether the oil is hot enough by dropping a few breadcrumbs into the middle of the oil. If they surface immediately the oil is ready!
Now deep fry the pork until both sides are golden brown, about 5-6 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack or paper towel-lined tray to remove the excess oil.
Traditional Japanese Katsu is usually served with shredded cabbage, but I like to use a vegetable or slaw mix to add a bit of interest. Place your chosen vegetables into a medium size mixing bowl and toss with the sesame dressing.
Drizzle the breaded pork cutlets with the katsu sauce and serve with a cup of steamed rice and the sesame vegetable salad.
PS: you can buy the Sesame Dressing and Katsu Sauce from any Asian grocers and some good supermarkets.
Followers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, or Spain can now buy our favourite kitchen tools and gadgets at the Arugula & Rocket Store on Amazon. Readers in the USA can visit the Tovolo website.
Japanese Pork Katsu
2 Pork Steaks
1 Cup Flour
2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs
2 Eggs, Beaten
Salt & Pepper, for seasoning
Vegetable Oil (for deep frying)
2 Cups Steamed Rice
½ Bag of Shredded Cabbage or Shredded Vegetable/Slaw Mix
Lightly pound the pork steaks to ¼ inch thickness and season with salt and pepper.
Place the flour, eggs and panko into 3 separate trays.
Dredge a piece of pork in the flour, tapping off the excess.
Then dip the pork in the egg, coating both sides. Allow any excess to drip off.
Now press the pork into the panko breadcrumbs ensuring both sides are coated in the crumb.
Heat oil to 340ºF, then deep fry the pork until both sides turn golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel-lined tray to remove excess oil.
To make the sesame vegetable salad, toss the shredded cabbage/vegetables in the sesame dressing (if using).
Drizzle the pork with the katsu sauce and serve with the steamed rice and sesame vegetable salad.