I'm taking a vacation day on Wednesday so that I don't have to wake up for work, since I suspect any effort to go to sleep at a reasonable hour Tuesday night would be doomed. I am so anxious about the election that I can work up a sweat reading the paper, and I have begun to address audible comments to televised news and punditry, with only the cats to hear me.
I in no way presume that anyone is interested in my position on this contest, but lest you think me evasive or coy- I'm happy to tell you that I (enthusiastically) support Barack Obama. I'm not going to talk about the issues here. It isn't that I think it would be somehow wrong to do so, but rather that I am already way too keyed up, and I'm pretty sure the only possible effect of airing my views in any detail would be further angst on my part, and maybe boredom on yours. Apparently there are still a substantial number of undecided voters. The mind boggles. I can't imagine what they want to hear, or what they are waiting for.
In any event, if you are, as I am, planning a Tuesday evening, after voting, wrapped in an afghan in front of the tube, clutching a bowl of some sort of comfort food, and a spoon (or chopsticks), you may have been, as I was, intrigued by the recipe in the Times Magazine last weekend. The article discussed Katsu Curry, a specialty of Go Go Curry restaurants. This Japanese (! curry?) chain now has a few outposts in New York, which are proving popular.
Katsu curry is, "a comfort food, an energy food, a power food, a guilty pleasure," says Miyamori, the proprietor of Go Go.. It is "British Indian food as imagined by excited Japenese and cooked in the United States a hundred years later," per Sam Sifton, who wrote the article. As he commends it for televised football viewing and as it can be served layered in individual, personal bowls, it sounded just the thing to me. And really, the bowl arrangement is best. I've got it spread out a bit here, so you can see all the parts- but layered is nicest- and most efficient for living room consumption
The dish consists of rice, topped with a fruity pork curry, and further topped with strips of fried, panko encrusted pork chops, a handful of shredded cabbage, and a dribble of Tonkansu "fruit and vegetable" sauce.* Sound yummy? I picked up the S&B Japanese curry powder* and the Tonkatsu sauce* at the Asian grocery in the Strip at lunchtime on Thursday, and I was pretty sure this was going to be the meal in question. I was so certain that I dragged an eclectic bag of groceries to and home from post-work theater-going (August Wilson's last play, "Radio Golf"- and a terrific performance it was, too), just so I could try it out this weekend.
To avoid disappointment, (I do NOT want to suffer from disappointments of any kind, if at all avoidable, on Tuesday) I thought I'd have a dry run ahead of time, so here you are. A little research revealed that there are also chicken versions of this curry, which was good, because I had ground chicken, and no ground pork. Also, I oven- fried the pork chops, rather than deep frying them, partly out of nutrition guilt, but mostly because I didn't fancy dealing with smoky fat..laziness, more than anything. Also- sue me- I used basmanti rice rather than short-grain Japanese rice, because I like it better- especially with curry. Anyhow, the curry keeps, and I will reheat it and cook it up for election night, making another pork chop to slice up then.
This is really just the thing for the purpose- invigorating to the fingertips, strong and sustaining..it suits me fine- and no doubt would also work for the football viewer. Here are the instructions- as minimally altered by Yrs Truly -based mostly on availability of ingredients:
3 Tbsps butter
1 lb. ground pork, turkey or chicken
s and p
3 Tbsps flour
3 Tbsps S&B Japanese curry powder
peeled onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
peeled sliced carrot
2" fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
mango, peeled and coarsly chopped, or a peeled banana and 2 Tbsps sweet mango chutney- such as Major Gray
a green apple, peeled, cored and quartered
2 Tbsps tomato paste
1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 cup chicken broth
6 thin boneless pork chops, pounded
2 beaten eggs
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
Curry Sauce: Melt the butter and add the meat. Brown the meat thoroughly, add S and P, then stir in the flour and curry powder. In the meantime, combine everything else, up to, and including the Worcestershire sauce in a food processor, and combine thoroughly. Add to the meat, and cook, stirring for five minutes or so, until sludgy. Add the chicken broth, stir and cook down over a very low heat, for about an hour. You can do this ahead, and reheat it, if you like.
Pork: Preheat the oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Beat the eggs, and put the eggs and panko each in a wide shallow bowl. Heat a large saute or frying pan with two tablespoons of peanut oil until almost smoking. Dip each chop into the egg, then coat thoroughly with panko, and, for a good crust, repeat. Set in the hot oil. Brown each chop on both sides, then set on the lined cookie sheet, and place in the preheated oven. Finish cooking in the oven, until cooked through and beautifully browned. Slice chops on the diagonal.
Assemble: Put a nice scoop of rice in each bowl, ladle on some curry sauce, and top with slices of pork and a handful of shredded cabbage. Squirt on some tonkatsu sauce, tasting it first, to make sure you like it. (I do. It kind of tastes like V-8 juice with the color and texture of oyster sauce. In a good way. Really.) Consume, holding the bowl in one hand, and chopsticks, or a spoon in the other. And hope for the best.
* I have pictured these ingredients in an effort to make it easier for you to find them; it always takes me forever to locate a listed ingredient in an Asian shop...though they are labeled in English, it just helps to know what they look like.