Quarantine food trends have come and gone. Baked goods, among them, is a strong contender, which remains steadfast albeit ever-changing. Remember when we were so into banana bread then eventually Basque burnt cheesecake? What is it now? Sourdough bread? I’ve lost count.[READ: Every quarantine food trend so far, explained]
But pre-quarantine cravings for specific food remain. I don’t know about you but how I long to be back at my favorite Japanese restaurant in Malate or this new one we discovered in the friendly neighborhood of Greenhills, San Juan.[READ: You call and Kikufuji Izakaya delivers—literally]
Despite the availability of delivery services, I find myself missing the experience of dining in a physical restaurant—a requisite especially when dining out.
Alas, all we can do now is try our best to replicate these dishes we miss sorely at home through recipes from strangers on the Internet or as I am doing (not advisable) consult a Japanese cookbook written by a white person.
It’s a comfort we have friends with replicable recipes they swear by, like Halohalo designer Cara Sumabat who just shared her katsudon recipe on our Comfort Kitchen series on Instagram TV.
You’ll be surprised to know that the base of this recipe is pretty much standard ingredients you can find in just about any supermarket: pork chop, eggs, flour (a quarantine necessity whether for bakers or home cooks), and panko or Japanese breadcrumbs.
What really sets this fried breaded pork chop apart from its deep-fried contemporaries is the way you level out the meat by pounding to ensure it cooks evenly—well, that and the sauce, which we will get to later on.
Cara has a nifty trick that she may or may not have learned through her recent venture to clothing through her bag and home decor label: slice the sides so the ends don’t curl up upon frying.
Then, of course, when all is crisp and golden, all there is left to do is make the sauce and assemble. This is where it gets a little specific with ingredients. You may need exact Japanese variants like sake and mirin, which may require a trip to specialty stores—or you can have them delivered to your home through this contemporary Japanese restaurant’s online store.
From there, it’s just a matter of simmering it down to incorporate the flavors. Lastly, lay your sliced fried pork chops on the pan with the sauce and break an egg or two and you have yourself a katsudon.
Of course, we love the Japanese for their parallel love for rice so we serve this on top of steaming white rice. A fitting lunch or dinner to cure the nostalgia of dining out.
Nolisoli Comfort Kitchen comes out Monday and Thursday nights on our IGTV.
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Writer: CHRISTIAN SAN JOSE
ART LEVENSPEIL SANGALANG