January 18, 2009

Pork Katsu Donburi

This is another recipe from the Meal Planning 101 blog that I often read. I love that the author of this blog focuses on economical, yet healthy meals. I am really making an effort to stay within our food budget this year, but not compromise the quality of our food. I am trying; but it is a lot more difficult than I expected...considering I have an expensive cheese addiction! I have noticed that by sticking with a meal plan, it has made the process easier. I think the hardest part is keeping to what is only on my shopping list (especially if I see something on sale that is not on my list). There is definitely less room for impulse purchases. So, I am working on it. In doing so, I am beginning to see where we need to tweak our spending habits. I started a spread sheet to chart the cost of our weekly shopping trip and compare that to our budget ideal. Actually, I am in better shape that I thought...but I am certainly not perfect. I am still going over budget...but less over budget than I was prior to the start of my meal planning/tracking. Progress is being made!

During this whole shift, I have really started gathering info on frugal living and budget-trimming. My goal is to find a balance between healthy foods (which are typically more expensive)and thriftiness. This blog is a pretty good resource for tips and techniques on food budgeting. It is nice to find that other people are concerned with nutrition, and at the same time, needing to shop within a budget. It is encouraging to know that it can be done!

Okay, on to my recipe. I need to tweak this dish, as usual. I don't have everything I need on hand, but I do have some acceptable substitutes. I will just adapt the ingredients/directions based on what I do have. I typically don't cook a whole lot of Asian foods, and I am not sure why. I guess I just don't think of it. This recipe seems easy enough to make, and it looks more interesting than your typical stir fry. I am excited to try this dish, and I will let you know how it all turns out.

Pork Katsu Donburi

2-4 pork loin chops
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (try not to substitute or the result will not be the same)
1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
6 shitake mushrooms, sliced into strips (you can substitute regular button mushrooms)
1 carrot, julienned (I am using a frozen Asian Veggie Blend with carrots instead)
2 tbsp white sugar
4 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped green onions
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked rice

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cover the pieces of pork in plastic wrap and using a meat tenderizer, bash the meat until the piece is about 1/4 inch thick. Make sure you flip it over and do the other side as well. Do this to all your pieces. Then cut pork into cutlet sized portions, if needed. Now that your pieces of pork are cut and tenderized, season both sides with salt and pepper. In three separate bowls put flour in the first, beaten eggs in the second and Panko breadcrumbs in the third. Dredge each piece of pork in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, and place on a baking sheet with a baking rack on it. Drizzle lightly with oil and place in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip the pork, drizzle the other side lightly with oil and then place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

While pork is cooking chop veggies (or follow stir fry directions for cooking frozen veggies). In a large frying pan set to medium-high heat saute the onion in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and carrot and stir-fry a couple more minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, sugar, soy sauce and salt and let simmer for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle in half of the green onions, stirring gently.

When pork comes out of the oven, cut into strips.

Turn the heat down to medium-low for the veggies and pour beaten eggs over the mixture, stirring a bit to incorporate the sauce and egg. Gently add the pork over the top and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked. You may need to add a lid for part of the cooking time to get the eggs to cook through on top.

To serve, scoop rice into four bowls. Divide pork and veggie mixture into four, and place on top of rice. Garnish with a little more chopped green onion. Serve immediately!

The Result:
This was excellent! We all really liked it a lot. There were a couple of other changes I made to the recipe, while I was cooking. First, I put some hot chili paste (Sambal Oelek) into my egg wash, during the breading process. It gave the pork a tiny little bite that it normally would not have had. Then, at the end I garnished the whole dish with toasted seasame seeds and chopped green onions. I loved the added element of texture and flavor of the toasted seeds. The last thing I did differently was that I did not put the pork back into the pan, once it was sliced. The pork turned out so crispy and perfectly cooked, I was afraid that putting it back in the pan with the veggies and sauce would have made it soggy. It was completely delicious as it was. I would recommend just slicing it and setting it aside; that will ensure that the meat will keep it's awesome crisp texture. Yum!

This dish is a definite keeper, but I do wish it was a little saucier. However, the fact that it was short on sauce was totally my fault. I let it reduce down too much. I think if I would have left more liquid in the pan, it would have been perfect. The flavors were great, and it was super-filling. You really do not need that much rice to make this dish stick to your ribs. I think the eggs mixed in with the veggies make this dish pretty substantial. Overall, we will definitely make this meal again.


Knightly Family said...

this sounds good...if you guys like it I may try it next week.

The Meal Planner said...

Jen I'm glad you are finding useful tips and recipes. Great job on the Katsu Donburi! I agree with you that the pork is so beautifully crispy it's best to be added on top at the end to prevent it from soggifying. It's still good added to the sauce/egg mixture, but you really get to enjoy the texture just adding it at the end. I'm glad you liked the recipe :)