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Japanese Pork Katsu

Pork katsu, a staple Japanese dish, is traditionally served with a simple shredded cabbage salad. Soak 3 cups shredded cabbage in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain well. Transfer to a bowl and toss with a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of rice wine vinegar. Serve alongside the pork and rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. hot water
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. mirin or sake
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbs. ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. hot mustard
  • 4 pork cutlets, about 1 1/2 lb. total
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko or plain fine dried bread crumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup corn or peanut oil
  • Steamed rice for serving

Directions:

Make the dipping sauce
In a bowl, stir together the hot water, soy sauce, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and mustard.

Prepare the pork
One at a time, place the pork cutlets between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and pound with a meat pounder until 1/4 inch thick. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg. Spread the flour and panko on 2 separate plates. Season the flour with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Just before frying, season the cutlets on both sides with salt. Dip them first in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the panko, coating evenly each time and pressing the panko with your fingertips so it adheres.

Panfry the pork
Heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat until just hot and pour in the oil. Add the cutlets and fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and just opaque at the center, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to paper towels to drain briefly, then cut across the grain into strips 1/2 inch thick. Serve with the dipping sauce and steamed rice. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Asian, by Farina Wong Kingsley (Oxmoor House, 2007).