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Little Pork Cutlets - Hito-kuchi-Katsu

Posted on September 19, 2009 at 10:56 PM

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There has been a lot of action in the backyard of our house lately. Sakai and his assistant are chiseling and cuttting stones and wood to make sculptures for Sakai's upcoming art show in LA in October(here is the link) By noon, the guys are tired and hungry so now that I am home, I make them a hearty Tonkatsu lunch with Kurobuta pork.



  Classic Panko batter - it's an all purpose batter. 

    I used it to coat pork, chicken, shrimp and vegetables


I like to deep fry once in a while and watch how food sizzle.  I often run into cooks who will do everything but that. The use of oil and clean up afterwards shuns them away. For reasons I am not clear, my mother didn't do much deep frying either. Maybe it was because we had a neighborhood butcher who sold deep fried foods. She would order Hito-kuchi-Tonkatsu and the butcher's son would hop on his bicycle and deliver them whle they were still piping hot in the bag.  Hito-kuchi means mouth-size pieces. The Hito-kuchi Tonkatsu was intended to be eaten at dinner time but we couldn't wait.  My mother didn't get upset if half of what she ordered was gone.  She always wanted to make sure her children were not hungry.  The hito-kuchi-tonkatsu I make for lunch today are similar to the ones I ate as a child. The pork is cut up in mouth size pieces.  They cook faster and easier to eat than the large size Tonkatsu.  I recommend you use kurobuta pork because the fat is nicely marbelized and the flavor is good. You can also use any good pork.


Recipe:
Serves 2

2 pieces of boneless pork chops (Kurobata), cut into 2 inch bite size pieces.
1 cup flour, white or unbleached
1 - 2 cups panko
1 egg
salt and pepper, as needed
Canola oil, about 3 cups - enough to fill up to 2 inches of the pan.
Tonkatsu sauce and/or soysauce for the season.
Lemon wedges, optional
Mustard, optional
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage or lettuce or 2 cups of steamed greens of your choice
Heavy cast iron pan

Pound the pieces with a meat tenderizer.


This dish is so simple, you don't even need a recipe.  Basically, you prepare three dishes -
one dish with flour, one with scrambled egg, and one with panko.  Pound the cut size pork pieces with the meat pounder and season them with salt and pepper.  Dress the pork pieces in three coats.  Start with flour.  Coat lightly.  Then dip each piece into the scrambled egg and coat with panko.  Make sure there are no wet spots or lumps of panko on the pork. Put all the pieces on a large plate.

  Popular panko brand

Before you start frying, prepare the cabbage or side vegetables.  Cabbage is the traditional accompaniment to Pork Cutlet.  You can make cabbage very crispy by dunking the sliced cabbage in ice cold water for a few minutes.  Drain the water completely and serve it as a side to the cutlet.

The Pork Cutlet will cook in the oil in less than 10 minutes. Heat the oil over medium heat, The oil should be around 350F. Test the temperature of the oil by adding some panko and see how it sizzles.  It should sizzle but not burn.  Deep fry about 3 pieces at a time.  Don't over crowd the pan.  The pieces should be able to move around freely.  When both sides of the meat are toasted, the cutlet is basically cooked. Always keep the oil free of panko pieces before you put the next batch in. Dry the cutlet on paper towels.  Serve immediately.

For the table, serve Tonkatsu with lemong wedges, soysauce, Tonkatsu sauce and some mustard if you like. I serve steamed rice with Tonkatsu.  


 I made the Tonkatsu pieces somewhat bigger and toastier than usual  for the hungry men. The Tonkatsu sauce I use is Bulldog Tonkatsu sauce (here is the link).



Note: If you clear the used oil of used panko with a strainer, you can reuse the oil a couple more times.  

Categories: Meat

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