And so, last night we had a Japanese themed dinner with:
- Chicken Katsu – Panko battered chicken breast
- Pork Katsu – Panko battered pork chops
- Japanese Vegetable Curry
- Grilled Miso Eggplants
- Braised Daikon in Dashi Stock
- “Agedashi” Tofu
- Steamed Broccoli with Peanut Sauce
- Very Garlicky Fried Rice
- Glutinous Rice Balls in Ginger Soup (Tang Yuan)
As usual, no proper recipes for savoury food (it’s all by taste), but I’ll give the basic steps so that you can make them on your own to suit your palate.
Chicken and Pork Katsu
- Butterfly whole chicken breasts in half and pound them till they’re about a centimeter thick. Do the same for the pork loin chops. (Place them inside a plastic bag and pound them with a rolling pin). Marinate the meat with salt and pepper (or any pre-made sauce).
- Place three plates in sequential order (as close as you can to the deep fryer). With the plate closest to the deep fryer, spread out panko bread crumbs, in the middle plate with whole beaten eggs, and the furthest with 1 cup of cornflour and 1.5 cups of plain flour.
- With the hot oil heated to 180-190 degrees celsius, first coat the meat liberally with flour, followed by the beaten egg, and lastly with the panko crumbs. Slip the panko-crusted meat into the hot oil and fry for 5 minutes (or 2.5 mins each side). While the meat is deep frying, repeat the coating steps for the next piece of cutlet. Once done, lift the crispy cutlet out of the oil and let it sit on a kitchen towel to drain off the excess oil. I made a total of 10 pieces of cutlet and it took me an hour to finish deep frying. By the time everything was done, the very first piece was still as crispy!
Japanese Vegetable Curry
- Dice carrots and potatoes into 1cm pieces (about 6 small carrots and 5 small potatoes). Slice a bunch of spring onions into 1cm widths and set aside.
- On a medium heat stove, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot, chuck in the spring onions and sauteé for a minute, add in carrots and potatoes and stir-fry for 5 minutes until slightly tender.
- Add in 1.4l of boiling water into the pot followed by the Japanese curry blocks (S&B Brand) and mix until well-combined. If you find that the curry’s a little too thick, just add a little more water. Lower the the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Grilled Miso Eggplants
- Pre-heat oven to 170-180 degree celsius (fan). Slice eggplants in half and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern.
- Mix miso paste, soy sauce (I insist on Kikoman), mirin and honey. If you prefer it to be sweeter, double the volume of mirin (which I did). Slather the paste onto the cut-side of the eggplants (about 1 sloppy tsp each) and place it in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Braised Daikon in Dashi Stock
- Peel daikon radish, and slice into 1″ thick circles. In a 1l bowl/jug, mix boiling water, dashi stock powder, soy sauce (Kikoman again) and mirin. Taste and adjust accordingly. Place peeled and sliced daikon into a soup pot, top it up with dashi stock (just until it covers the surface of the daikon) and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour.
Very Garlicky Fried Rice
- Cook sushi rice according to the directions given. (1.5 cups worth) and cool.
- Add 1/3 cup of minced garlic (yes… it is that much) into 3-4 tablespoons of hot oil and fry until browned and toasted. Sieve the garlic bits from the oil and set aside.
- In a hot wok, add in butter and garlic oil. Once it’s reached a high enough temperature, add in the cooled garlic rice and mix throughly. Use a ‘stabbing’ motion to break apart the clumps of rice (sushi rice tends to be stickier). Make an empty circle in the middle of the wok by pushing the rice to the side and place another tablespoon of butter in the middle. Crack in 3 whole eggs and start stirring/scrambling in a clockwise motion. As you do this, mix in the rice bit by bit and add in the cooked garlic until everything is well combined. Add salt to taste. (I wasn’t liberal with my salt since the rice was meant to go with the saltier curry sauce)