31 Aug 2013

poor cutlet

Tonkatsu was one of the very first dishes I made at home that everyone thought was safe to eat. It was around sometime during middle school when I first started taking food tech classes at school. I saw the recipe in Cooking Guide DS and thought it was very exciting. At first, I only tenderised, marinated and breaded the cutlets and made my parents do the dirty work fry it, but a couple of years later I had more guts to do it myself. The only thing that scares me about deep frying now is when the oil gets so hot it makes a loud cracking noise, like it's building momentum to explode!

Usually when it's my turn to make dinner, I just make a variation of these chicken burgers because everyone likes them. On days when I'm lazy, I just throw in two strings of Chinese sausages and eggs into the rice cooker and let it work it's magic. 

Just a few nights ago, I decided to revisit tonkatsu - only with a slightly different technique I picked up in a manga I reread during the summer break. 

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Triple-breaded layered tonkatsu     makes 4-5 cutlets
I wish I created it first, but I stole the idea from Kawachi’s “poor cutlet sandwich” as seen in the manga, Yakitate!! Japan. Read it, it's good!

By layering the sliced pork, it creates a crispy, soft cutlet without the need of scoring the meat and butchering it with a meat tenderiser. Use a fattier cut of pork, like pork chops for a juicier fried cutlet.

500g lean pork loin, half-frozen
sea salt and white pepper, to season
plain flour, as required
3 large eggs, beaten
panko breadcrumbs, as required
oil, for frying

Put two sheets of absorbent paper on a baking tray.

Slice the pork thinly whilst it is still in its half-frozen state. Place three to four slices of pork next to each other, slightly overlapping each other on a plate. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Repeat the layering and seasoning two or three more times to make one layered cutlet. Press and shape the cutlet into a round shape. Repeat with the remaining pork slices to make four or five cutlets. Transfer onto the baking tray, place two more sheets of absorbent paper on top, cling wrap and refrigerate until required. Just make sure the pork is fully defrosted before using (I left it in the fridge for one day).

When ready to cook, bring the pork cutlets to room temperature. Prepare a plate with some flour, a shallow plate of beaten eggs*, a plate of panko and a plate to place the prepared cutlets. Coat both sides of the cutlet with flour, dust off the extra and flour the rest of the cutlets. Coat both sides of the cutlet with egg and then with panko three times each. If you're pressed for time, a double breaded coating is fine.

Heat up the oil and deep fry each cutlet until golden brown on both sides**. Drain the excess oil off the cutlets.

Allow to cool briefly, slice it thickly and serve with shredded raw cabbage/lettuce, lemon slices, pickles and tonkatsu sauce***.

*I prefer to beat one egg in a shallow plate at a time.
** I also whacked it in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 150C to ensure the insides were cooked. Just incase the cutlet was too thick.  
***I made my own sauce consisting of ketchup, worcestershire sauce, mirin and a bit of water. There's a good recipe over here.