Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken Katsu... sort of

This is a Katsu recipe I got from a Japanese cookbook I bought in Hawaii two years ago. I've changed up a couple things for the better. If you're not sure about Katsu, don't worry it's the most white- people friendly Japanese food there is. So, you need...
-Pork cutlets or chicken cutlets (I had chicken for this, pork is GREAT for this though. Trust me I wish I had pork)
- Eggs, beaten
-Panko bread crumbs
-Italian Bread Crumbs (GASP!!!)
-Unrefined peanut oil (GOOD LORD!)
So I had chicken tenders in the frig. Place one or two tenderloins on a plastic cutting board. Something about meat on a wooden board I just don't like. Before you pound them with your meat hammer cover them with a piece of wrap, to prevent meat juice from spraying while you hit it. Don't forget even, not so hard hits. It's not a strong man challenge.
So 60% panko, 40% Italian bread crumbs. I like the flavor of the Italian and they are a much finer crumb that help fill the little voids that panko can't reach without crushing them past the point of being panko.
So set up a little assembly line of your pounded chicken, flour, beaten eggs, bread crumb mix, and plastic cutting board. In that order.
Coat the chicken in flour, shake off the extra
Then coat in egg wash
Then the bread crumb mix. Take the time to pat the crumbs in and make sure the cutlet is coated. You're the one eating it so why rob yourself of taking the time to make a nice piece of chicken?
Ok so, after we breaded all the chicken pieces while we wait for the oil to heat up we're going to make a quick sauce. Whatever you want to dip it in, great. This is one sauce I like to eat it with.
-Worcestershire sauce
-Thai sweat chille sauce

Ketchup,Worcestershire and hot sauce is great too
Ketchup is the base so most of it will be Ketchup, next the sweat chili then Worcestershire . Mix together.
Most of the time I'll fill up my cast iron to a deep fryer depth (for that much oil I'll use 50/50 peanut and vegetable oil) but I don't have that much oil on hand so a large heavy pan will do just fine. Turn the heat on to medium, if you try to rush the heat it won't get you anywhere. When the oil shimmers test it with a piece of bread crumb picked off a piece of chicken. If it promptly rises to the surface after you dropped it and begins to bubble and fry your oil is ready. There is a correct temp for all of this and you can use a thermometer... but why? The bread crumb will not fail.

Don't crowd your pan with chicken, mine works great with three pieces tops. I like to bump my heat up for 30 seconds from medium heat to high heat after I put the meat in. After about 30 seconds I turn the heat back down to medium. Pay attention while you fry and never leave the pan's side. When the temp. of the oil with meat in it is correct, the frying should sound like a bubbling brook, not some crazy frying- freak- out fest. Frying is something you need to get used to and expect to mess it up now and then.
Flip to the other sides once golden brown
Transfere meat onto a brown bag with a paper towel on it. Sprinkle with salt once hot out of the frying oil. Make sure you pat dry both sides on the bag. Repeat until all of your chicken is ready to be eaten.
This chicken is crispy and just darn good.

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