Tag Archives: Japan

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!

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Curry Buns and Greek Buns

I’ve mentioned these before, in a post a long time ago, but I thought it would be nice to actually keep track of what goes into my version of this recipe and then share it with the world. I got the idea from a Cooks Country magazine about traditional recipes. The recipe in the magazine is for Beef and Cabbage Buns (Runsas), and when I made them exactly as the recipe said I was amazed at how incredibly delightful they are.

The dough is made with a little bit of sweetened condensed milk, so it has a very slight sweetness to it, and then you place a slice a cheese into the rolled out dough, put the filling on top, close it up, flip it over and bake it so that the cheese melts down into the meat and creates a cheesy, meaty, savory flavor that is complimented by the sweet dough encasing it.

Look at the melted cheese in the Curry Bun, so gooey and fantastic

Of course, being me, I had to play with the recipe. When I was in Japan, one of my favorite things to eat was curry bread, which is buns filled with dry curry seasoned meat and vegetables. I was eager to try it with this dough, and sure enough it worked! I still used the slice of cheese even though curry doesn’t traditionally have cheese in it, but it was still quite satisfying.

This time, I decided to make them again as a bribe to get my brother to visit me. He wanted to learn how to make them, so he made one batch by hand, and I made a batch with my stand mixer. For his, we tried using ground turkey, spinach, and a Mediterranean herb seasoned feta (from Trader Joe’s). Mine was curry. Both were amazing. You can use pretty much any combination of ingredients you want as a filling, just make sure it’s dry enough. We put the meat and spinach, for example, into paper towel lined bowls after they cooked to get some of the excess moisture out.

Try this out with any flavor you want! In the recipe I gave directions for both of the fillings my brother and I made. I highly suggest making two batches of the dough so you can try both of the fillings (or just making one batch of dough and halving the amounts in the fillings so you can try both). They are delicious! The recipe may seem stupidly long, but that’s only because I added both filling choices to it.

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25 and still snacking

So it was my birthday on the 16th. I went to Boston to see some friends and go to an event, ended up not going to the event and didn’t get to see some friends, but I had fun with the ones I saw and the activities I did. Vague? Well, it’s ok, the point is that snacking happened. Since I’ve been so busy the past few weeks (projects, midterm, final, final, career fair, etc.) I haven’t really had a chance to make anything special outside of class, except for my rice with mayonnaise and bulldog sauce, but other people just think that’s gross. Those people are wrong. Japanese mayo is the tastiest!! Bulldog sauce it amazing as well.

It’s pretty much a fantastic version of BBQ sauce

In order to kill time on here, I have decided to review products that I sampled or revisited on my birthday. First stop? Lollicup! Now, if you haven’t had bubble tea by now then I pity your life. It’s tasty milk tea, or smoothies, or anything drinkable through a straw, with tapioca pearls to give you something to chew on while you drink. Sound repulsive? Whatever, it’s good. I had the Avocado Snow, and it was divine. I also tried my friends Barley Chocolate Milk, which tasted like chocolate milk with snacking barley bits that were extremely satisfying. My other friend had the Tapioca Milk Green Tea, which I’ve had before, and has a nice and simple flavor.

Barley, Avocado, Green Tea

There’s more…

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