Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fried Pork Cutlet with Fermented Red Bean Sauce

This is a fusion of Chinese and Japanese cuisines.  I use fermented red bean curd to marinate paper thin slices of collar pork (typically used for shabu shabu or steamboat - available at supermarkets), then lightly coat them with flour, dip in beaten eggs and finally coat with Japanese breadcrumbs before deep-frying at high heat.

Fried Pork Cutlet with Fermented Red Bean Sauce (炸南乳肉片)

300g collar pork (ready sliced)
1 egg (beaten) for coating
3 tbsp plain flour + 1 tbsp corn flour + 1/4 tsp baking powder (mix well)
1 cup of Japanese breadcrumbs
Cooking oil for deep-frying

1 cube of fermented red bean curd (mashed)
1 heap tsp mashed roasted garlic (or 2 tsp finely minced garlic)
1/3 tsp 5-spice powder
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp mirin
1 tbsp water

1) Mix together the marinate ingredients and pour over the sliced pork.  Rub each slices well with the marinate and keep in refrigerator for at least 5 hours.
2) Place the flour, beaten eggs, and Japanese breadcrumb in separate dishes.
3) Lightly coat each piece of pork with flour (shake off excess), dip into beaten eggs, coat with Japanese breadcrumbs (shake off excess) and place on a plate.  Repeat steps for all the pork slices.
4) Heat oil on high (ideal temp is 180C) (see tips below) and fry few pieces of pork at each time (depends on the size of your cookware).  
5) Fry each side for about a minute & half or till golden brown.  Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper.  

Cooking tips:
1) I do not have a kitchen thermometre, so I test the temperature by inserting a wooden chopstick into the oil.  When small bubbles form around the chopstick, the oil is ready for frying.  Alternatively, drop a small piece of breadcrumb into the oil.  If it sinks slightly and then floats to the top bubbling, the oil is ready.  If you see the breadcrumb floats instantly to the top, the oil is too hot (add a little oil to lower the heat).

2) Do not put too many pieces of pork into the oil at one time.  Overcrowding will cause the oil temperature to drop and this will result in oily pork cutlet.  High heat helps to give a crispy coat, seals in the juice while keeps the oil from seeping into the pork.  But overly high heat will burn your food before they are properly cooked.

3) Do not shallow fry as the pork will tend to absorb more oil, compared to deep-frying.  Moreover, the breadcrumbs will be easily burnt if in close contact to the bottom of your cookware.

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