Tonkatsu. Photo: William Meppem
The Japanese answer to schnitzel is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. This secret to the perfect tonkatsu was taught to me by the chef at my favourite tonkatsu place in Tokyo when I lived there. Dip the pork cutlet in a double coating of flour before covering in the breadcrumbs. It gives you a thicker, crisper coating and tender pork. You can buy bottled tonkatsu sauce at Asian supermarkets, but it's easy enough to make yourself.
1½ cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 pork cutlets, bone and rind removed (about 150g each)
3 cups panko breadcrumbs
1-2 litres vegetable oil, for deep frying
¼ head cabbage, very finely shredded
fresh Asian herbs to serve
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp English mustard
1. Mix the flour and salt together in a small tray and dip each of the cutlets into the flour, then into egg, then back into the flour and back into the egg before coating with the panko breadcrumbs. Press the crumbs on gently; shake off any excess.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan to 160C. Fry the cutlets for about four minutes each side until the crumbs are golden brown. Rest for three minutes.
3. For the tonkatsu sauce, mix the ingredients together to a smooth sauce. Slice the tonkatsu and serve with a big pile of shredded cabbage, plenty of tonkatsu sauce and top with Asian herbs.
Although it was originally created in France, doria is now found almost exclusively in Japan. It's basically a rice gratin; rice is either flavoured or topped with other ingredients such as bolognese sauce or sauteed prawns, covered in white sauce and cheese and then grilled. It may sound strange, but this chicken version is a little bit like a fried ricelasagne.
600g chicken thigh fillets, sliced into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
8 cups cooked short-grain rice
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup tomato sauce
2 cups grated cheese
finely chopped chives, to serve
1/2 a brown onion, peeled and studded with 6 cloves
1 bay leaf
500ml full-cream milk
1/3 cup plain flour
1 egg yolk
pinch of ground nutmeg
1. Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the chicken and fry until lightly browned. Add the onion, mushrooms and peas and toss until the onions and mushrooms are softened. Add the rice, salt, soy sauce and tomato sauce and toss for about five minutes until the rice is coated and fragrant.
2. For the white sauce, place the clove-studded onion, bay leaf and milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, watching that it doesn't boil over. Remove from the heat. In a separate saucepan over medium heat stir together the butter and flour, and gradually add the milk while stirring to a smooth sauce. Season with salt, remove from the heat and stir through the egg yolk and nutmeg.
3. To assemble the doria, place the rice into a gratin or baking dish and cover with a thick layer of the white sauce. Scatter the sauce with cheese and grill under an overhead grill until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Top with chives and serve.