Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tonkatsu pork and pickles

This is a Japanese style breaded and deep fried pork dish.  
Like rookworst and endive in Holland, Caldo Verde in Portugal or our own bacon and cabbage the essence of this meal is those good companions, pork and cabbage.

I've added a Japanese staple, quick pickled veg to give it a little more of an oriental feel, and any excuse to incorporate seaweed in a dish is good with me.
Pickles take about 2 hours but are better overnight.

This recipe is based on one I found in Fionas Japanese cookbook blog 
Fionas recipe is really good, the main change I did was to incorporate fresh garden herbs and some mustard powder into the egg mix.

I pureed some parsley, chives, wild garlic leaves with half a teaspoon of mustard powder and beat in an egg.
I just did home-made breadcrumbs. Fiona talks about Panko flakes, but being in Connemara at the time, Asian supermarkets are tricky to find - unless your in China town on Craggy Island.
Cut off the crusts, toast and crumble onto a baking tray, stick into a warm oven or under a grill for two minutes - simple as that.

For the chops - 
Trim the fat off the pork chops if you prefer not to eat the fat, I just take off the rind.
Score small cuts all around the edge of the pork chops
Coat the pork chops in some seasoned flour (shaking off any excess flour)
Dip the pork chops in the beaten egg, mustard powder and herb mix.. 
Finally coat in the bread crumbs (rub the crumbs gently onto the pork chops).

Cook in a heavy based saucepan or cast iron frying pan - the oil should come half way up the chops.
Oil needs to be very hot - sizzling, about 140 C.
Turn and cook until golden brown all over

If serving with chopsticks dond forget to slice up the pork - and it makes for nicer presentation I feel.

Tonkatsu sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
50ml cup ketchup
25ml Worcestershire
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp Yorkshire relish (optional)

Whisk together mustard and 2 tsp. water in a bowl until smooth. Add ketchup, Worcestershire, and soy sauce, and whisk until smooth.

Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to wakame no amasuzuke) as a side dish - and the meal is served with Sushi rice and home grown greyhound cabbage.

Japanese style Pickled Cucumber
This amount of marinade is enough for one large  cucumber - the long, relatively thin kind that often comes shrink-packed in plastic. If you’re using other gherkins, aim for about 4 to 5 cups cut up.
The marinade:
8 Tbs. rice wine vinegar (not sushi vinegar)
10 cm square piece of kombu seaweed, its a kelp if you are foraging.
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
4 Tbs. boiling water
Half a red chili pepper (optional; leave out if you don’t want any spiciness)
Combine and mix until the sugar is melted.

The vegetables:
1 large cucumber
2 Tbs. dried pre-cut wakame seaweed ( the kind that just requires soaking)

De-seed and cut up 1  cucumber
Put the marinade in a small glass, ceramic or plastic bowl (not metal) or the good old ziplock plastic bag. I used a fancy French jar!! Moving up in the world.

Put the cucumber and wakame seaweed in. Stir or shake around, seal well and let marinade in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Drain off the marinade and serve in small bowls. This should be eaten within 2-3 days.
You can reuse the marinade once: let it come to a boil, cool off, and put in fresh vegetables.
Besides cucumbers try sliced turnips, carrots, daikon radish, regular radish, etc.
I served the pork and pickles with some regular rice nori and finely shredded greyhound cabbage that worked really well.

Thanks for reading, I hope you try and enjoy this - also works very well with chicken.

Please do take the time to comment, I really do appreciate the time and effort taken - and its nice to know someone is reading these postings

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Shandon Sushi (or How to cook a Cork Nori) - An Irish take on a Japanese classic

Happy new year to one and all. I do know that I have been updating very little in the last year, but that has been due to moving from Connemara to Cork, and working a great deal at sea.

Good news is I have applied for an allotment in Cork, and will be getting back to growing and cooking.

So, the one thing - which I wrote about a while back, was the use of seaweed in traditional Irish recipies.
Nori are probably the most identifiable Japanese food. Most people associate this delicate looking and delicious seaweed wrapped Japanese treat with the exotic east - and yet it was eaten in Ireland as a staple of the poor for centuries, and the same type of sea veg used to make Nori was eaten in Ireland but known as Sleabhac (pronounced Schlowk).

A very good UK based company producing Nori sheets and a very wide range of dried seaweeds are Clearspring and they are quite widely available in Ireland as well as having an online store.

This was covered in previous postings, an Irish version of a Welsh staple - Laver bread - and a Nettle and Nori omelet.

But Nori itself can be made the main attraction. nori sheets, along with sushi rolling mats are easily found in most health stores.
Personally I tend to shop in the English market a lot - the people across the way from Mr Bells in particular.
I tried to make a type of Irish bulgar wheat one year, using oats - but that failed and was simply too much work, so I just gave up on that and bought bulgar wheat.
In this recipe, I use it to replace expensive sushi rice, and do a quick Irish nori using Bulgar - which in theory I could grow and make myself here in Ireland.

It could not be easier to prepare.

Prepare the bulgar in to a Tabbouleh - in this case it is an Armenian version called Eech.

Anyway, you will need:
Bulgar wheat, 1 cup
Boiling water, 2 cups
Shallot - very finely sliced
Fist full of parsley, very finely chopped
dash of olive oil
Pack of Nori leaves, toasted (most health stores have them)
Half a lemon, squeezed.
Small pack smoked salmon

It could not be easier to prepare.

You will need:
1 cup of Bulgar wheat
2 cups boiling water
1 very finely sliced Shallot.
A handful of parsley - finely chopped.
Half a lemon, squeezed.

Prepare the Bulgar in to a Tabbouleh - in this case it is an Armenian version called Eech.

Put the Bulgar wheat and shallot in a bowl
Add the boiling water and cover
after 15 minutes add the parsley, lemon juice and olive oil to mix through
That's it - Sin E !!!!

Lay the toasted Nori sheets on the sushi mat.
I layered on some smoked salmon slices, then some very thinly sliced cucumber.
After that about a centimeter depth of Eech/Tabbouleh
Baton of cucumber in the center
Serve with a little dollop of homemade horseradish sauce.

I topped mine with a little wasabi and shop bought pickled ginger.
In future, I'd use home grown horseradish sauce - after all wasabi is just Japanese horseradish - and I'd leave out the ginger.

Looks great, and tastes great.

I topped mine with a little wasabi and shop bought pickled ginger.
In future, I'd use home grown horseradish sauce - after all wasabi is just Japanese horseradish - and I'd leave out the ginger.

Looks great, and tastes great.

Think of it - to paraphrase Basil Fauwlty as a Hiberno / Nipponese cucumber sandwich.

Actually, with the fillings it would be Hiberno / Nipponese / Turkish / Armenian hybrid !!!!

I wonder if with reference to my new home would it is a little too much to call it a Cork Norrie recipe??

Although this is my own recipe, if you are interested in cooking with seaweed I still have to say you should invest in Dr. Prannie Rhattigans great book - Irish Seaweed Kitchen

Enjoy - and please feel free to leave a comment - I really do appreciate the time, effort and feedback.

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