The @Warialdabeef Girello challenge Part 2. Katsu Kari Don. How to.
A few days ago I posted about how Farmer Alan Snaith challenged me to cook his Warialda Belted Galloway Beef Girello without roasting it. On that occasion I made spicy hot Char Kway Teow noodles.
With this post I want to show you that buying ethically raised meat can seem more expensive than supermarket meat, but is actually tastier and economical if you know how to get the most from it. In this case I can make three different meals to feed four adults from just one standard piece of rare breed Girello.
So this is the second meal - how I used the Girello to make a popular Japanese dish, Katsu (fried cutlet) Bifu (beef) Kari (curry) Don (rice).
Consisting of tender, crisp beef schnitzel and a soft, vaguely sweet curry that was originally introduced to Japan by the Portuguese, and was once only served in their Western style restaurants. Now Katsu Kari is an everyday favourite.
This is an all in one bowl dish, which can be served with steamed or blanched greens/broccoli to round it out for healthy, balanced vegie content. Or you could add shaved raw daikon or pickled mustard greens.
I learned to make it years ago by watching my Japanese former housemate Hitomi cook it. Most cheap and cheerful Japanese restaurants would use pork cutlets instead and some, along with most Japanese home cooks, cheat by using S&B’s Golden curry cubes, available at Asian grocers. Using the prepackaged of course makes it come together faster but I’ll give you an alternative if you can’t get it locally.
But back to the meat. Schnitzel is one of the last things that people think of for Girello because it’s perceived as tough meat. But schnitzeling - beating meat thin - relaxes the muscle, tenderizing it. This process is also a great way to literally get more bang for your buck, spreading a little a long way.
To begin I cut thin slices from the thick end of the Girello. The colder the meat is, the easier it is to slice thinly. One slice for women and one and a half for a man should be enough, with extra curry and veg for the guys.
With European style schnitzel you bash a typical thick cutlet with a tenderizer or blunt edge of a heavy knife until it is very thin. In this instance you have a thin slice that relaxes by coming to room temperature, which can then be stretched thinner by pressing outwards with the back of a fork. You’re not making a pub Parma so you needn’t stretch too far.
Next comes dredging. Beat a couple of eggs and dip the schnitzels into it and then into flour. I use potato starch as it seems to give a crisper finish but plain flour will do.
Then dip the schnitzels back into the egg and then into a dish or tray of crumbs seasoned with salt and white pepper. You may need to press the meat down firmly to pick up the crumbs.
For an authentic result use Japanese panko crumbs. Mostly these are available dried so spray with a little water to rehydrate. To keep costs down, make your own crumbs by putting discarded crusts from the ends of loaves of bread in the blender until ground fine.
If you want a thick crisp crust, dredge twice in the crumbs. Then place your schnitzels on a plate in the fridge while you make the curry. It’s important to set your crumbed crust by chilling the meat.
For the curry I roughly cut up a couple of potatoes, a medium sized carrot and a third of a daikon into chunks and steamed them. You could also cook them in the curry but their texture will become sloppier.
If you’re not using the instant curry sauce it is simply a matter of making a roux - add 2 and a half tablespoons of flour with a couple of teaspoons of your favourite curry powder to 30g of melted butter and combine over low heat. More curry powder can be added to taste later. Then you thin out the paste with stock or water and cook out the flour until you have a thick, opaque sauce.
My friend Hitomi added a little apple juice to create the soft background sweetness but a little brown sugar will do the trick. She would then fry up a handful of minced meat and diced onions, which she would add to the curry sauce. Her cheat version was to crumble in a hamburger patty, but while the onion is mandatory, the extra meat is optional.
Then fry your schnitzels. The tradition is to quickly deep fry, though shallow frying in a cast iron pan is just as good. The secret to crispness is double frying and the key to tenderness is resting. So when they are a pale gold, take them out of the oil and drain them on a cake rack. This stops them from going soft or steamy. Leave them to rest while you add your steamed veggies to the curry sauce and blanch some greens.
Return the schnitzels to the hot oil until golden brown and then drain of oil again on the rack.
Serve up steamed rice Into bowls - Japanese rice is short grain Koshihikari which is slightly sticky so it is common to mix a couple of tablespoons of Japanese rice vinegar with a tiny bit of sugar into the cooked grains to separate them. My trick is to press the rice into a small Chinese rice bowl then upturn it into a bigger bowl so it sits up domed.
Serve up the curry with the rice and place your greens on top. Then cut your crisp, tender schnitzels into strips before placing on top. It’s up to you whether you mix it all up to eat it. I like to keep the crispy bits from getting soggy, but that’s just me. Mr Sticki licks the bowl clean.