Monday, 18 June 2012

Kinpira Renkon - Sautéed Lotus Root and Carrot

I decided to post this recipe because I'd love to see more people eating lotus root. Lotus root is very popular in Asia however most Irish people are not familiar with this vegetable. Although it's relatively difficult to find in supermarkets in Ireland many Asian markets have started to stock fresh lotus root. I bought this one in the Asian Market on Drury St in Dublin. 

Lotus root (renkon in Japanese) is a vegetable that has amazing health benefits. It's low in calories, aids digestion, increases energy levels, helps treat lung related illnesses such as asthma and lots more! Lotus root like other vegetables can be cooked in a variety of ways. In Japan it's often added to salads, soups, stews, fried dishes, tempura etc.

If you can't find lotus root for this recipe then try to replace it with another vegetable or seaweed to go along with the carrots and use the same seasoning to enjoy a traditional Japanese sautéed vegetable dish. 

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

1 tsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
300g Lotus root (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 Carrot (peeled and thinly sliced into strips)
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp soya sauce
11/2 tbsp mirin
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds (to garnish)

  1. Place the lotus root in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes to get rid of the bitterness and the excess starch. 
  2. Drain and dry in kitchen towel.
  3. Heat the oils in a heavy-based saucepan or frying pan on high heat for a minute or so.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium-high, add the lotus root and carrots and fry for about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the sake over the vegetables, stir and fry for about 1 minute.
  6. Add the soya sauce and mirin, stir and fry for a few minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat.
How to eat:
Serve as a side dish on a small plate with sesame seeds sprinkled over the dish.

1. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge and eat it the next day or a few days later (it tastes even better!!).

2. Make homemade lotus root chips using any leftover lotus root.

Why not:
Use the same seasoning but different vegetables if you can't source lotus root.


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Tonkatsu - Deep fried breaded pork chop

One of the main ingredients in this recipe is panko which is flaky breadcrumbs used in Japanese cooking. The biggest difference between panko and standard breadcrumbs is that panko doesn't contain the crust of the bread and the breadcrumbs are bigger in panko. Seemingly panko absorbs less oil than standard breadcrumbs!

You can get a packet of panko in most Asian supermarkets. If you can't easily source ready-made panko then you can easily make your own or just use standard breadcrumbs. To make panko just remove the crust from a few slices of white bread. Then tear the bread into small flake like pieces. Place on a baking tray in a low heated oven until the bread is completely dry but it shouldn't turn a golden brown colour. Then store in an airtight container.

2 pork chops/ cutlets
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Flour for coating
1 egg, beaten
Panko (flaky breadcrumbs)
Rapeseed oil for frying
White cabbage (optional)
Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce for serving (optional)

  1. Cut the fat off the pork chops if you prefer not to eat the fat. 
  2. Make small cuts all around the edge of the pork chops.
  3. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. 
  4. Coat the pork chops in flour (shaking off any excess flour).
  5. Dip the pork chops in the beaten egg. 
  6. Finally coat in panko (rub the panko gently onto the pork chops).
  7. Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan to 170 degrees Celsius.
  8. Place a bit of panko into the oil to check if the oil is hot enough. 
  9. Gently place the breaded pork chop into the oil. Fry for a few minutes until the panko turns a nice golden brown colour and then turn the breaded pork chop and fry for a few more minutes.
  10. Remove the pork chop from the oil and place on kitchen towel.
  11. Cut the pork chop into bite size pieces while it's still hot. 
  12. Serve on a bed of finely cut white cabbage and drizzle Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce over the Tonkatsu.

How to eat:
To enjoy a complete Japanese tonkatsu meal experience serve with a bowl of Japanese rice, a bowl of Japanese miso soup and Japanese pickled vegetables.

  1. If you like a nice thick breadcrumb on the pork chop then after coating the pork chop in flour, egg and panko coat it in egg and panko again to get a double breadcrumb coating!
  2. Breast of chicken goes really well in this recipe also!

Why not:
Serve with Japanese curry sauce rather than tonkatsu sauce.

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