Gyoza and Tonkatsu: A Meal for Obon Festival

imageObon is a Japanese Buddhist tradition that honors the spirits of one’s ancestors.  From this tradition came about the Obon Festival which occurs in the heat of summer. The festival features street dancing by participants wearing light cotton kimonos.  Like many festivals, Obon includes food fares, rides and games. As I came upon the food court at the Obon Festival in San Jose’s Japantown, the first big sign I saw was “Gyoza.” Originally a Chinese dish, this meat and vegetable-filled dumpling has become very popular in Japanese cuisine. I, for one, prefer the fried version of gyoza.

photo(280)photo(282)So in solidarity with celebrants of Obon Festival, I thought of preparing some fried gyozas along with another of my favorite Japanese dishes, tonkatsu (breaded pork chop). I like my breaded meat or fish with coconut crust, so I added shredded coconut to the recipe. Of course the meal won’t be complete without pickled ginger and seaweed salad.

GYOZA

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground pork

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 stem green onions, thinly sliced

1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled and shredded

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 tbsps soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsps unsalted peanuts, ground

1 package of wonton wrappers

1/2 cup Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, mix ground pork, cabbage, green onions, ginger, garlic ground peanuts, soy sauce and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Take one wonton wrapper at a time, place about a teaspoon of the mixture in the center and fold the wrapper, moistening and sealing the edges.  In a large frying pan, heat Olive oil in medium heat.  Fry the gyozas until browned on both sides. Remove from heat and transfer onto a plate lined by paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve warm with soy sauce or a combination of soy sauce and vinegar.

TONKATSU

INGREDIENTS

4 pcs. thin-cut, boneless pork chop or pork loin

1 egg

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1/3 cup shredded coconut

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsps Olive oil

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tbsps tonkatu sauce

DIRECTIONS

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Beat the egg and place on a shallow bowl.  Place flour, bread crumbs and shredded coconut in separate shallow bowls or plates.  Dip each pork chop first into the flour, then the egg, then bread crumbs and finally the coconut.  Heat the Olive oil in a large frying pan in medium heat.  Fry each pork chop until browned and crispy on both sides.  Remove from heat and transfer into a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve warm with cabbage and dressing (mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise). Top pork chops with tonkatsu sauce.

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