On Pork Katsu

Out of the frying pan and into the fryer, this cooking chick is serving up something new and different this time around! Pork Katsu (Tonkatsu if you want the traditional Japanese name), otherwise known as breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet.

While I do have a strong pull towards Asian cuisine from my time living in Asia, I haven’t really pushed myself to make anything traditionally Japanese, and I felt like doing something…different. As it so happened, about a week ago, NY Times Cooking featured their rendition of Pork Katsu with Pickled Cucumbers and Shiso that looked too yummy to pass up! Shiso isn’t something I could really find that at my local grocery store, though I’m sure the specialty Asian markets have them available, so instead I opted for a Thai basil that I found at Mariano’s, which I think worked just fine.

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Now, I don’t cook with pork on a frequent basis, and it had been a while since I put my frying skills to the test, but honestly, this dish was a walk in the park! The recipe recommends a few types of cuts, but in the end, I chose center-cut, thin pork chops (which you can easily find this at your local grocer at either the butchers’ area or pre-packaged near all the other meats) because they were already the right thinness, so no pounding necessary! The only thing I had to do to the meat was remove the small piece of bone on the edge, but with a paring knife, it was quick & easy. Then, you flour-egg-panko bread each piece, fry it up, slice it, and serve! EASY, and the extra egg wash ingredients weren’t overwhelming nor were they so subtle they weren’t noticeable post-fry! The Worcester sauce and tomato paste add a really lovely tang to the meat, and really play up the salty crunch of the panko!

And then you have the cucumbers, and this little salad was almost a one and done kind of dish. Minimal, yet flavorful. Salty, yet sweet, with a bitter hint to balance it all out! Fresh, crunchy, and if you can’t find Kirby cucumbers, then seedless cucumbers will work fine, or your basic cucumbers too, but you’ll need to cut them up a little more than with the seedless ones, which are smaller in general! All in all, this whole meal took about 30 minutes to make, and even though the pork was fried, it was light and juicy, and the cucumber side salad added a huge note of freshness and tang! A great weeknight meal we will for sure be returning to! —Cooking Maggie

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Pork Katsu with Pickled Cucumbers & Shiso from NY Times Cooking

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