tonkatsu

豚カツ(Pork Cutlets)

Earlier in the month while I was at my parents house I made a few different dinners and planned on using them to update my blog since I rarely have time or money to do so while in school. One of the meals I made was reminiscent of my time spent in Japan. My most frequently enjoyed meal was Tonkatsu (豚カツ) aka Pork Cutlets. At the restaurant down the street from my apartment Tonkatsu was always served with cabbage and rice, and the condiment on the table was tonkatsu sauce. It was so unbelievably delicious, and going to that restaurant with my friends holds some of my most fond memories of my study abroad experience.

Doesn’t it look like a delightful experience?

With everything going on in Japan right now, I feel like there isn’t much I can do to help but I still have to try my best. Luckily my friends are all ok and safe, if a little scared and anxious about the future. I’ve been talking to my friend Yuko on gchat a lot, and she’s told me about the aftershocks, blackouts, and lack of food (but she said she’ll be fine since she has a lot of rice). Yet she’s still strong enough to tell me that she’s ok, because in her own words she is a “long time survivor.”

If anyone wants to help out, there are many ways to donate money. Google has a great resource page for making donations. Even Lady Gaga has a donation page set up where you can buy a $5 wristband and all proceeds go to Japan, plus you have the option of donating more money if you want. Engrish.com has a t-shirt you can purchase, with all money going to Red Cross Japan. According to the Red Cross website “People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.” There are many ways to help out, so I hope you try to help in any way you can.

One of my favorite pictures I took in Machida (町田), Tokyo. This is the area where my study abroad school, Obirin, is. I was there the summer of 2007

Now for a bit about some Japanese Cuisine, try making tonkatsu, it’s absolutely delicious!

We started with a package of thin pork chops, then I placed a large piece of plastic wrap over a cutting board, place one piece of pork at a time on top of it, folded the plastic wrap over it and gently flattened it more. You should use a mallet with a flat edge, but I didn’t have one so I gently hit them with a rolling pin. You don’t have to go too crazy with this, about 1/4 inch thick should be fine.

It’s a great way to get out any stress :)

Then you do the breading procedure. Gather three bowls, put flour in one, equal parts eggs and milk in the next, and panko in the last. The amounts don’t really matter, if you need more of any of them along the way just add more to the bowl. For the egg bowl, I used three beaten eggs and added milk to it, and that was plenty for the 10 cutlets I made. Then you coat the cutlets in flour, then the eggs, and then cover in panko as much as you can. I usually press a little to make sure it’s really stuck on there.

Fill a skillet with enough oil to reach halfway up a cutlet, and heat it to about 350 degrees (I usually just drop a few pieces of panko in and see if they crackle). Gently place the cutlets in the pan, a few at a time so as to not overcrowd it. Cook until that side is brown, about 3-4 minutes. Then carefully flip them over and brown the other side. Sprinkle salt on them after you remove them from the pan. If it takes a long time, and you’re worried about the finished ones getting cold, you can put them in an oven at it’s lowest setting to keep them warm.

In the meantime I had made rice and cabbage. For the cabbage I just chopped it up and lightly steamed it so it still had some of its’ crunch. I filled the bowl with rice, but some cabbage on top, and then put the cutlets of top of that. This way the rice eventually gets the flavors from the cabbage and pork and makes it more delicious. I, unfortunately, didn’t have tonkatsu sauce on hand so I just put some BBQ sauce on it.

This delectable dish was inspired by Japan. Let’s help them out, ok? Thanks!