Kushikatsu is a variation of the famous fried pork cutlet, tonkatsu. “Ton” is the Japanese word for “pork” and “katsu” is a corruption of the word “cutlet.” During the Meiji government, Japan opened to foreign commerce and culture. People were encouraged adopt Western ways in science, technology, and customs. The taboo against eating meat was abolished (1872), and many new meat dishes were created. Here is a good article summarizing the history of Japan.
These skewers were a confidence builder for my deep-frying skills. Success of this recipe depends on the care you give to coating the skewered pork and onions with flour, egg, and panko. To ensure a thick crispy but not greasy crust, each skewer is dredged in flour then eggs three times before the final coat of light and crunchy panko crumbs. Allowing the skewers to stand in a bowl meant that the coating would adhere to the meat and vegetables rather than sticking to a rack. The time between each step of the coating process allowed the flour to absorb the moisture from the egg to become a sort of paste.
- 1 pound boneless pork loin, excess fat removed, cut into 20 cubes (original recipe:9 ounces / 12 pieces)
- Salt and Black Pepper
Lightly season the pork and let it sit for half an hour.
- 3 – 4 naganegi (Japanese long green onions), or young slender leeks, white part only
Cut the onions crosswise into 30 pieces, about 1 1/2″ long.
- 10 bamboo skewers (6″ long, soaked in water for 30 minutes)
Thread a piece of onion, a cube of pork, onion, pork, and onion on each skewer.
Coating the Skewers:
- 1/2 cup flour for coating (or more)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
1. Put each of the above ingredients into a separate dish. Dredge each skewer of pork and onions in the flour. Shake or tap the skewer to shake off excess. I arranged the skewers in bowls, rather than placing them on a rack.
2. Dip each skewer into the egg, shake off excess egg, and dredge in flour again. Stand each skewer in bowls until all of them have been coated. I let the skewers stand in the bowls for 15 minutes to set the coating.
3. Repeat the egg and flour dipping. At this point, each skewer has been into the flour three times, and the egg two times.
4. Finally, dip each skewer in the egg again, shake off excess, and put it into the panko. Gently press the pork and onion so the breadcrumbs adhere well. Turn to coat the other sides. The skewers were left standing in the bowls while I prepped my deep frying operation.
- vegetable oil for deep-frying
In a wide deep skillet (a wok works very well), heat 3 inches of oil over medium heat to 360°F. Add 2 or 3 skewers and cook until the crust becomes barely golden. Reduce the temperature of the oil to 300°F, and cook until the crust is quite golden, about 8 to 9 minutes. Drain the skewers on a paper towel-lined rack. Repeat to fry all of the skewers.
Serve the skewered pork and long onion, with tonkatsu sauce and shredded cabbage. I was interested in how the recipe for tonkatsu sauce compared with a commercial bottled sauce: It really is worth making your own!
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