I’m a pork cutlet bowl fatale

I made katsudon this week! 😀 It’s essentially chicken donburi, but with a breaded pork cutlet instead of chicken.

I substituted the leek for a handful of frozen peas in order to dial down the portion size a bit — this actually turned out very well 🙂 I also miscalculated the frying of the pork a little, using too little oil and too hot a pan. This did leave the pork with a slightly carbonised layer, but the meat was properly cooked and the burnt bits didn’t affect the overall flavour of the dish very much.

I chose this dish in particular because I’ve had something of a craving for it ever since I discovered my current favourite anime, Yuri!!! On Ice — katsudon being the trademark favourite food of the main character Yuuri Katsuki. A full-length gush about how brilliant this anime is would be approximately novella-length at minimum and be full of spoilers, so I’ll just direct interested readers to the relevant Crunchyroll page and urge you to give it a look 🙂 Beautiful animation, choreography, music, character development, excellent handling of mental health issues like anxiety and depression, an excellently done and very healthy romantic relationship and a strong running theme of love and courage in all their forms — the sort of gem that comes along once a decade, if that.

If the title seems familiar, it’s probably because you were watching the Olympic figure skating — Miu Suzuki and Ryuichi Kihara skated to Yuuri’s free skate music (also called ‘Yuri on Ice’) for their pairs skating short program, and the fandom profoundly rejoiced 🙂 It’s very significant for a sports anime to be so strongly embraced by that sport’s real-life practitioners.

Can you hear/my heart beat?/Tired of feeling/never enough,/I close my eyes/and tell myself/that my dreams will come true…

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A bowl of chicken-y goodness

This week’s recipe was chicken donburi, a Japanese dish involving chicken, rice, egg, veg and other good things! I chose this partly to celebrate the opening of a new Asian food shop near me, and partly as a dress rehearsal for making katsudon next week (a very similar dish which uses pork instead of chicken).

I did this recipe at 1/4 quantities, to make just one portion, as I was a bit uncertain about the reheatability of the finished product. I also used instant miso soup paste (made up to 375ml liquid) as I didn’t have the time or ingredients for a proper dashi stock — the paste in question contained kombu extract and bonito (yer basic dashi ingredients) anyway, so it seemed a perfectly acceptable substitute. I also used some Bristol cream sherry as a mirin substitute (more cost-effective considering that I hardly ever use mirin in my cooking at the mo).

The end result was very tasty, with lots of savouriness and depth of flavour. The texture of the eggs was similar to what I encountered when I made menemen — there’s a similarly spongy texture from cooking the eggs in liquid — but I found it a lot more palatable here. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it has to do with the surrounding flavours in each case.

Even made at 1/4 quantities, this recipe made a large and very filling portion — given my general diet habits and activity levels, next time I make this I’ll go 1/4 or 1/2 quantities, divide the meat-and-broth component into portions to freeze for later and cook up a fresh serving of rice when preparing each saved portion. I might also omit the leek or replace it with peas — I’m not that fond of leeks, to be honest, and I’m not certain it added anything to the recipe.

Overall, though, I’d say chicken donburi is well worth a try!

A piece of Amatrice

Another large manuscript came in yesterday, hence the delayed post.

An Amatrice-style sauce — spicy, tomato-y and with plenty of bacon — was my scheduled experiment for this week. I cooked half a head of garlic with the bacon, because I like the stuff and it needed using up; it certainly didn’t hurt the flavour at all!

Technically, I should have used the ‘traditional’ tomato sauce, with sautéed onion and so on, but owing to time and resource constraints I simply used a small tin of chopped tomatoes instead, and let the sauce simmer and reduce while I cooked the pasta (fusilli tricolore — yum!).

It worked out very well indeed! The grated pecorino romano that I stirred into the pasta before adding the sauce really helped up the umami and other flavours, and the sauce itself was the ideal consistency — not too runny or too thick. I was a little worried about that, I will admit, because I added the rinsings of a jar of home-made chutney to the sauce as well, which made things quite liquid initially. Everything was all right, though 🙂

In view of the fact that a new Asian food shop has opened in my area recently (so many different snacks! So many types of mochi!), I’ll be cracking open my Asian Adventures cookbook and trying out a few of those recipes — should be fun!

Old favourite

Just did pasta e piselli con la pancetta this week, at least partly because I had a largish bag of frozen peas sitting in my freezer and taunting me…

I usually use tinned marrowfat processed peas for pasta-and-peas recipes, as a timesaver and because I like the texture, but the frozen peas turned out pretty well. I added them to the bacon, onion and garlic as soon as the recipe allowed and cooked the mixture with the saucepan lid on for the maximum time given in the instructions. The peas were cooked to perfection!

The only other tweak I made was using double quantities of bacon (while everything else was half quantities). It certainly didn’t hurt ^^

I still have some peas left over after this, but I’m planning to try making katsudon in a few weeks, so they’re earmarked for that 🙂