Friday, November 26, 2004

katsu katsu! A Sure-Win Meal: Chicken Katsudon

Katsudon & Miso Soup
♥ chicken katsudon with miso shiru
This was our dinner last night.

My first encouter with this simple Japanese rice dish was from a tiny Japanese stall tuck away almost at the corner of a food court in Adelaide. For Aud$5.50, you get a generous serving of katsudon with a bowl of miso soup and a side dish of japanese pickles. I got hooked ever since then.

Katsudon or tonkatsu donburi is one of the most popular type of Japanese rice dish (donburimono) served with deep-fried breaded pork cutlet (tonkatsu) on top of egg and onions on a bowl of rice.

Why is katsudon so popular in Japan?
Reason is simple. The word "katsu" rhyme with "win" in Japanese so katsudon is usually a must if you have an important day coming up the next day like exams, interviews, competitions etc.

*katsu katsu* Pinkcocoa must ganbarimasu!

I have always thought only deep-fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu) was used in katsudon but I have seen quite a lot of Japanese restaurant here serving chicken katsudon. Personally, I still favour the pork katsudon better than chicken for no other reason: my mind has stereotyped katsudon as a pork only rice dish!

Healthy Katsudon
♥ low-fat chicken katsudon
This is low fat because I baked my supposedly deep-fried chicken cutlets.

  • Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.
  • Give it a light coating of flour.
  • Dip it in beaten egg mixture.
  • Then a generous (but not too thick) coating of Japanese breadcrumb (panko).
  • Place in a lightly greased baking pan and spray with some more cooking oil over the top.
  • Chuck it into a preheated 225c oven for about 20min then reduce the heat to 200c and bake for another 30min.
The chicken cutlets had very crunchy crust, to my surprise. It wasnt too bad except that the crust had trouble sticking to the chicken. Room for more improvement here.

Another thing would be to bake the chicken on a roasting rack so air could circulate to the bottom. The bottom of the chicken cutlets wes soaked in juices from the chicken so it was soft and soggy. Well, this wasnt much of a problem in my case because I was going to put it into a mixture of dashi stock, soy sauce, sugar and mirin.

Almond Miso Asparagus
♥ Asparagus in almond miso
I didnt have any japanese pickles on hand nor do I have ingredients for pickles so I stir-fried asparagus in almond miso paste. The almond miso paste was very appetizing. I have liked all the dishes I made using the paste.

The outcome was not too bad. Not bad for first attempt I guess. I kinda overdid on soysauce too. Overall, it was good. I like the crunchy crust. Next time I might do a vegetarian version using mushroom for myself. I wonder how it would taste like :-)

We felt like we were in Japan last night. (=^-^=)//