Midnight Cafe – Fried Pork Chop Don

“Don” in Japanese means lunchbox, usually it is a set lunch with rice, meat/seafood, side dishes and appetizer. A simple one would be just rice covered with sautéed/deep-fried meat/seafood plus onion and eggs. This week’s “homework” is deep-fried pork chop don. A lot of Japanese students would have deep-fried pork chop don as their lunch during examination season because the pronunciations of “champion” and “deep-fried pork chop don” are similar in Japanese. They believe that eating it before examination would bring them good luck to have outstanding results.

In Midnight Cafe comic book, there is one story about an amateur kick-boxer who likes to order deep-fried pork chop don after winning his boxing games. He met a woman in Midnight Cafe. The woman’s husband died and works hard to raise a teenager daughter. Tried to win a game as a stepping stone to become a professional kick-boxer, he quit his job and practiced full-time. Fate was not in his favor for his career but he won the love of his life. To celebrate, the owner made him and his loves family don instead of deep-fried pork chop don. Family don refers to chicken cooked with onion and eggs. It is a symbol of family bonding. Having a family don means that they are a family now.

For my recipe here, I did not deep-fried the pork chop. Instead, I fried it with only 2 Tbsp of cooking oil. The traditional Japanese way is deep-frying the pork chop then sauté for a bit in the sauce. I try to make my family eating healthier. Therefore, I avoid using deep-frying method.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

2 Thick pork chop

1/2 Onion

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp light soy sauce

1 Tbsp dark soy sauce

2 Cup fish stock (or chicken broth)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 Tbsp cooking oil

2 Tbsp Shredded seaweed

3 Tbsp of all-purpose flour

4 Tbsp of Panko breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp shredded ginger

How to cook:

1) Make a few cut on the sides of the pork chop, pound it down for a bit. These can prevent the pork chop from curling during deep-frying and make the pork chop tender. Marinate the pork chop with a punch of salt.

2) All purpose flour, eggs (whisked) and Panko breadcrumbs separate in 3 bowls. Put the pork chop into the bowl with flour, coat both sides and shake off excessive flour. Then, put the pork chop into eggs and let it coat, then let the excessive eggs drip off. Finally, put the pork chop into Panko breadcrumbs and coat both sides. Use the fingers to press the breadcrumbs gently on the pork chop. It will help to make the breadcrumbs stay on the pork chop.

3) Hit a cooking pan with 2 Tbsp of cooking oil and fry both sides of the pork chop until it cooks through. Drain the oil and put the pork chop aside.

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4) Onion cut into strips. Put the fish stock, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar in a shallow pan, bring it to a boil. Add onion and cook with medium heat for 5 minutes until the onion turns soft.

5) Cut the pork chop into 1″ strips and then put them into the fish stock. Pour the leftover egg on top. Cover the pan and cook for another 15 seconds. Pour on top of a bowl of rice. Sprinkle with shredded ginger and seaweed and the fried pork chop don is ready to serve.

Footnotes:

1) Do not cook for too long after pouring in the egg into the cooking pan. Otherwise, it will be too well-done. The best texture would be half-cooked and half-raw. Let the raw egg mixed with the soup and rice.

2) Making cuts on the sides of the pork chop prevent it from curling and shrieking during cooking. And it can also help the meat cook well even though it is thick.

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