It's all about the porky roux...

I'm still in the food aisle with this post..... And with a back-to-school-clean-out-all-files frenzy, I came across a couple of recipes that I've been wanting to make. One, in particular, seemed a little daunting since it included ingredients that were foreign to me but it. just. sounded. so. good. It was a Japanese curry, something that I'd never heard of in my small, little world.

And yet, I'm resourceful. I can figure stuff out.... and Fortuna had spun her wheel for me with a recent opening of a Japanese market right in Brookline Village. In the Boston area it's particularly easy to find Asian grocers, especially Korean and Chinese - but a market that specializes in Japanese isn't. Until this Japan Village Market.

I've been in a couple of times. Grabbed the reasonably-priced sushi for dinner, but really just sorta dashed in and out since everything was in Japanese and nothing was in English. And sushi is so recognizable, you can't really go wrong. But the last time I was in I had Maia in tow and her curiousity made it easier to browse around the aisles. But besides a slight bow of my head, it was still totally overwhelming.

With this recent chill in the air, I wanted to make Katsu Curry. So, I called a fellow Pierce School Parent, Yoko Imai, and asked if she wouldn't mind giving me a little tour of this new store - maybe help me figure out what I should get, which brand, what's overpriced, you know....give me that inside scoop. She obliged, and actually she was delighted to help me wade through everything.

For instance, the seemingly enormous selection of dried seaweed, and whatnot:

or the udon noodle selection,

the very necessary Kewpie mayonnaise (c'mon, who doesn't think Kewpie and Mayonnaise are a marriage made in heaven?)

Indistinguishable sauces, condiments, seasonings....

and the grand assortment of POCKY! and other packaged Japanese treats....

and here, curry powders that were the necessary get and reason for my grocery research,

(shoddy camera work by me and my phone)

And with Yoko's help, I left with a bag of authentic Japanese rice (short grain, a lot like arborio for you risotto fanatics), S&B curry, and Tonkatsu sauce in my arms. Maybe I'm the dope that didn't know that there's a Japanese-only food aisle at the local Stop'n Shop (I seriously doubt it) or maybe that our convenience store has S&B curry powder (no, not really), but I'm psyched about this dish. And I'm psyched that I can work a little Japan into our world at 33 Kent Street.

Katsu Curry
(Lars Klove for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Jill Santopietro)

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound ground pork
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons curry powder, preferably S&B (see note)
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 green apple, peeled, cored and quartered
1 mango, peeled, cored and quartered
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into coins
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into coins
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
For the pork:
Peanut or canola oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
6 thin, center-cut boneless pork chops, lightly pounded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cooked short-grain Japanese rice
Raw cabbage, thinly sliced
Tonkatsu sauce (optional) (see note).

1. Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat has browned and the moisture has evaporated. Mix in the flour and curry powder, turn the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to make a porky roux.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse together the onion, garlic, apple, mango, ginger, carrot, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce until a grainy purée forms. Transfer the purée to the pork and mix until combined. The sauce should be very thick.

3. Stir in the chicken broth and cook, partly covered, over low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. If needed, add a bit more stock to loosen the sauce.

4. Prepare the pork: Heat 1 inch of oil in a frying pan and set a candy thermometer in the oil. Place the eggs in a wide shallow bowl and the panko in another. When the oil temperature reaches 320 degrees, season the pork chops all over with salt and pepper. Cover them, one by one, in the egg and then in the panko, and fry in batches in the hot oil until browned, for about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and let drain for 5 minutes. Slice the pork chops against the grain. Serve the curry sauce over cooked Japanese rice. Top with the sliced pork and serve with a small handful of sliced cabbage. If you choose, drizzle the cutlet with a little tonkatsu sauce. Serves 6. Adapted from Hiroko Shimbo, author of “The Sushi Experience,” and Sam Sifton.

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