Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Zettai ni Katsu!

The title above is another attempt at a clever pun. It could be read two ways: "It's definitely katsu (pork cutlet)" or "I'll definitely win!". Who doesn't win when delicious katsu are involved?

For the katsu, I took some bone free, thinner pork chops and beat them thinner with the bottom of a heavy bottle ('cause I'm classy and have every tool I need). This also has the added bonus of making the pork tender.

A three stage dipping arrangement. Flour (spiked with black pepper and salt), beaten egg with water (I used three eggs which turned out to be too much and about a tablespoon of water), and panko (which we've discussed before).

Don't start getting nervous because now we are going to deep fry. It'll be easy, you take a large heavy pan (cast iron if you've got it) and put about an inch of high smoke point oil (canola for example) and you put your heat on about medium high. Drop a little bit of your beaten egg into the oil and if it starts sizzling immediately, it's hot enough (alternatively you can use a fry thermometer and test for about 350F). Boost the heat a little bit after you put fresh batch of food in the pan because the cold food will drop the temperature. Lower the heat after it has regained the temperature that you want.

Isn't that simple?

Deep fry the cutlets until 165 degrees F and let rest perhaps five minutes. The cooling rack keeps them suspended so they can drip and not get soggy while they cool down. When they're cool enough to handle, cut them into strips.

A little shredded cabbage and some rice are the usual companions. That brown sauce is actually labeled "Katsu Sauce". It's kind of like a BBQ sauce that tastes like Worcestershire sauce. I used to make my own, but that was by just combining other prepackaged sauces, so, in the end it all comes out in the wash.

Some people put the sauce directly on the katsu because it looks pretty. And while I agree with the aesthetic, depending on how slow you eat the sauce can make your katsu soggy, which kind of defeats the purpose of breading and frying it in the first place. I guess I'm just a "sauce on the side" kind of girl.

In any event, deep frying can definitely be done at home, and you know everything that went in there because you put it there.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

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