Thursday, February 14, 2008


Usually I think of sushi and highly refined cooking when I think of Japanese food, but Japanese cuisine has its fair share of comfort food. Katsudon - a big rice bowl topped with a breaded pork cutlet and a sort of omelete - is one of my favorites. It's one of those dishes that will really warm you up on a cold winter day. As with most Japanese food, the key flavors come from a combination of dashi, mirin, and soy.

INGREDIENTS (2 servings)
-1 small onion
-2 scallions
-1 1/4 c dashi
-3T soy
-3.5 T mirin
-4 eggs
-2 thinly sliced, boneless pork chops
-panko bread crumbs
-3 cups cooked short grain rice

First, thoroughly rinse the rice and get that started. You want to be finishing up all the other elements of the dish just as the rice is finishing.

Slice up the onion and scallions, cook them until soft, and then add the dashi, soy, and mirin. Let simmer over low heat.
In the mean time, season the pork chops with salt and pepper and flour them. Beat one of the eggs, dip the pork chops in this, and coat with panko crumps. Let the pork chops rest for a couple minutes, then fry over med high heat for about 3 minutes per side. Add about 1 cm oil to a small pan, let heat for a minute or so, and fry them one at a time. When they are done, let them rest for a little while and then slice them up.

When the rice is done, beat the three remaining eggs and add them to the dashi/onion mixture. If you are making two servings, it might be easier to split the dashi and eggs into two different pans.
While this is cooking, serve the rice up into big bowls and arrange the pork cutlets on top.
Cook until the egg just begins to set and then pour the mixture over the top of the rice. You want the egg to still be runny so it seeps into the rice. If the rice is still really hot, it will continue to cook the egg. The timing for this step can be pretty tricky, and it might take a few tries before you get it down.
Here's the finished product.

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