Friday, 29 July 2016

Tonkatsu Pork - Kind of

I've been on a health kick of late, well, since Christmas. I've lost a significant amount of weight, but haven't stopped cooking and eating really tasty and different food. All I've done is replace the obvious carbs (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes) with less obvious alternatives. I'm trying to make the meat we eat special, then pickling all sorts of veg to go alongside, and eating an awful lot of Chinese Leaf cabbage. Is it cabbage, or is it lettuce? Not really sure, however the Japanese eat a lot of it with fried bread-crumbed pork, so I thought it worth a try. It's fair to say that I fell for it hook line and sinker either with home made Tonkatsu sauce, or Bulldog brand Tonkatsu purchased online at Sous Chef (like many of the odder ingredients I seek out). Tonkatsu is kind of like a Worcestershire sauce ketchup, but please don't let that put you off!!!

The traditional Japanese version is simply a boneless pork chop, battered out a little thinner, they then panĂ© the chop (passing through flour, then egg, then panko breadcrumbs) and deep fry or shallow fry but in deeper oil than perhaps under normal circumstances. They then serve simply as per the picture with very finely shredded Chinese leaf, and some Tonkatsu sauce. I'm not sure if I prefer the sauce on the meat or on the leaves, so usually end up with both! 

The reason I've called it "kind of" Tonkatsu is because we had it as a family for the first time, and one of my daughters suggested that it would be nice with mozzarella cheese inside. Of course, their wish is my command under all circumstances (?!?!) so I thought I'd give it a go. Having had some interesting experiences with stuffing various cuts of meat, usually ending up with the need to cover my creation with sauce due to the explosion of molten cheese, I thought about encasing the cheese in another of my favourite things. Parma ham. 

 I cut a good sized pouch in to my boneless pork chop. Then took a nice slice of mozzarella and wrapped it tightly in Parma ham. 

Then I placed the ham and cheese parcel in to the chop and pressed firmly around the edges. Then passed it through plain flour, then whisked egg, then finally in to Panko breadcrumbs. You can get these everywhere now, but again, Sous Chef do good ones for about the same as supermarkets. 

Then all that's required is shallow frying for about 8 minutes on each side. If you're worried about it not being done, you can always pop it in to the oven for a few minutes to make sure. It stays moist due to it's internal surprise so if you are cautious about pink pork then go ahead. It's worth saying however, that if you buy pork from a butcher who knows where the animal was from and how it was raised and slaughtered etc, then eating pork on the pink side is no problem, and actually desirable in this house. I wouldn't eat it pink from the supermarket though. The legal temperature that pork can be served at in the USA was reduced by 9.5c in 2011, down to 62c, which would be pink, so it's up to personal taste.

Whether you use mozzarella, cheddar, or any other decent melting cheese is entirely up to you. Worth trying it without as well, the Japanese do know a thing or two about what tastes good. Just make sure you either make or buy some Tonkatsu sauce as it really makes the dish come alive. I'll post two recipes for the sauce, which if you make, then combine, it works brilliantly. 

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Pork Ribs

Fitting really that I'm talking about ribs, as I am currently nursing broken rib or ribs following a rather flamboyant, and high speed roller skating accident. I was tripped by a small child who fell in front of me. I must have done a good 20 yards of "will he, won't he" wobbling before finally crashing on to the floor chest first!

Anyway, my woes apart, as long as I can still lift the lid of my Big Green Egg, then I can cope. As such, I thought it long overdue that I slow cooked some pork ribs. It seems to be the thing to do if you look on any American BBQ forum.

I bought belly ribs from Joseph Morris (surprise). I got them from "the dark side". Not sure why they were over there but who cares, they were big and cheap. I smothered them in a "mustard moisturiser" of about 6 tbsp French's mustard, 6 tbsp water, 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce, and 2 tbsp cider vinegar.This idea is from Adam Perry Lang's book "Serious BBQ". He uses moisturisers, seasoning rubs, wrapping mixtures and sauces. Seems a right fag, but the results are worth it all.

Seasoning Blend
6 tbsp mild chili powder
3 tbsp sweet paprika
3 tbsp Dark Muscavado Sugar
1 1/2 tsp English mustard powder
2 1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 1/4 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
2 1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp Multi Purpose Seasoning
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Wrapping Mixture

250g Muscavado Sugar
250g Honey
50ml Apple Juice

Honey BBQ Sauce
250 g BBQ Sauce
125g Honey
2 tbsp cider vinegar

Preheat your BBQ to 135c / 275f, then set it up for indirect cooking. Soak some applewood chips in warm water.
Combine all the mustard moisturiser ingredients and smother the ribs with it. Then combine all the seasoning blend ingredients and sprinkle half of it over the ribs. Place the ribs on the BBQ for 2 hours.
Combine all the wrapping mixture ingredients and cover large sheets of foil with the mixture.
Remove the ribs from the BBQ, and wrap each rack in the covered foil, and crimp the edges. Return to the BBQ for another hour. You can stack them up if you want, but flip them around a couple of times during the cooking.
Remove the ribs from the BBQ and allow to rest still in the foil for 20 minutes.
Remove the ribs from the foil and season on both sides with the leftover seasoning blend, then put back in the BBQ for 30 minutes.
Combine the BBQ Sauce ingredients, and brush the ribs with an even coating of it and leave on the BBQ for another 20 - 30 minutes. Cut them in to individual ribs and serve. We had fried chicken wings, salad and rice and could have eaten both racks of ribs to myself!!