Monday, March 30, 2009

Japanese-Style Pork and Vegetable Rolls (Butaniku no Yasaimaki)

Last Saturday, after a frustrating and ultimately fruitless four-hour search for tuk trey, tuk prahoc, and kroeung that involved driving around half of Oahu and even calling a Cambodian restaurant, I was left with no energy to cook dinner, too many random ingredients I didn't have the imagination to deal with, and little appetite. Luckily, my wife had been out shoe shopping for much of the day and came home in a good mood. (Shoe shopping often has this effect on her.) She was also hungry. Seeing that I'd turned into a crabby blob in her absence and wasn't about to budge from the couch, she took it upon herself to dig through our refrigerator to see what she could whip up.

For the record, let me state that I almost never get in bad moods. I'm one of those types who's always happy and optimistic (but not annoyingly so). On this day, however, I slipped over to the dark side. But once I heard the sounds of energetic chopping and popping, sizzling grease, I instantly perked up and got off my butt to see what was cooking in the kitchen. At a glance, my bad mood disappeared, and when I also saw that our fridge still had two bottles of Kirin Beer left I rejoiced at the sudden turn of events.

The following recipe is really very easy. Even I, unschooled in any sort of serious Japanese cooking, could whip this up without incident. This is similar to the tonkatsu dishes one normally comes across in Japanese restaurants, but it's technically not tonkatsu at all. Also, while the addition of veggies are healthy, this dish is definitely worth serving with a green salad or some sliced tomatoes.

1 medium green pepper, sliced thinly
16-20 green beans, halved
1 carrot, slivered into 2-in. pieces
1 lb. lean, thin-cut pork
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Japanese panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Cut the vegetables as described above (and pictured below). 

2. Collect a small portion of vegetables and wrap with one strip of pork at a slight angle to cover them.
3. Sprinkle the rolls with flour, then dip them in a bowl of beaten eggs that has a dash of salt and pepper mixed in, and then coat with panko.

4. Place pork and veggie rolls in hot oil, up to four at a time (or as your pan or wok or frier allows).

5. When browned (after 5-7 mins; you'll know when they're done by the smell of cooked pork wafting into your face) remove from oil and drain on paper towel or newspaper.
6. Serve hot with Bull-Dog tonkatsu sauce and a dollop of Dijon spicy mustard for dipping.

Oh, and if you happen to have an extra lime on hand, feel free to give it a squeeze over your hot butaniku no yasaimaki.

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  1. It looks similiar to our Indonesian kroket... Yumm... it looks so delicious!

  2. Oh, these rolls look just scrumptious! I will be trying to making these soon! Great recipe!

  3. AAAHH well written, my foodie friend! haha!
    MMM..I would love to try these,...I love Panko breadcrumbs! Thanks!
    Before I forget, congratulations on your well deserved awards!!

  4. That's a great way of getting me (and kids) to eat my veges!!

    I'm thinking aioli as a dip! *drool* =D

  5. Great stuff. I know that this isn't technically a tonkatsu, but that's a mere detail. The combination of pork and breadcrumbs always works, and the addition of a few vegetables won't change that.

    Excellent idea - I'll try that.

  6. Thank goodness for your wife and shoe shopping. ;)These look so great. I always have a fear of deep frying. Not a big fan of the hot oil, but these look really easy.

    Running around here searching for ingredients with no success turns me crabby as well. I know the feeling.

  7. This recipe looks so good!
    I have to make it soon.

    Thank you.

  8. Oh wow, oh wow, oh much as we know it's bad for us, anything fried makes us happy. This is a spirit lifter for sure.

  9. Your wife deserves more shoes! 8-) These look so amazing and everyone knows that the presence of vegetable ingredients totally negate the ill-effects of deep-frying!

  10. Selba: Yes, it’s similar to a croquette/kroket in that it’s meat and veggies fried in breadcrumbs. But I’ve never had a kroket specifically, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about. :) I’ll have to check your blog for a kroket post!

    5 Star Foodie: I’m sure you’ll be able to get creative with this recipe, and if you make this at home I’ll be excited to hear how it turns out!

    Sophie: Thank you for the congratulations (if not for you, I wouldn’t have one of these awards)! I’m glad to hear you’re familiar with panko breadcrumbs. Once you have the panko, it all comes together very easily. Thanks for your comment, Sophie!

    Bangsar-bAbE: Yeah, I never thought of this in terms of kids getting their veggies, but this was actually made with quite a lot of them! And I agree, aioli would be great with this. Thanks for the suggestion and your comment!

    Rich: No, it’s technically not tonkatsu. But it is deep-fried and crispy on the outside, and has juicy lean pork on the inside, and it goes great either with tonkatsu or okonomiyaki sauce. I hope you give it a shot and like it as much as we did! Thanks for stopping by!

    Lori: Noooo! Don’t encourage my wife to get more shoes! (She has more shoes than she knows what to do with whereas I only have three old pairs and some flip-flops. :D ) Like you, I’m not a big fan of deep-frying, or of pork for that matter, but every once in a while it’s…well…necessary. It’s really easy to make, which is a big plus, too. Thanks for your comment and for commiserating!

    Erica: I hope you’re able to try out this recipe! If you do, please stop back and let me know how it turned out. Also, if you make any adjustments to the recipe, I’d love to know what you did. Thanks for leaving a comment!

    Duo Dishes: Yep, this definitely lifted my spirits! I had to jog twice as far the next day to work off the calories, but that’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make for these deep-fried porky little wonders. If only I had a piece of your amazing-looking banana pudding cake to finish this off with…

    Tangled Noodle: Again, nooooo! We also don’t have enough space for extra shoes in our apartment. But if I can eat more meals like this I’d certainly be more willing to accept an accumulation of mostly unworn shoes. And yes, I really liked seeing those vegetables even though their nutrients were surely deep-fried to oblivion. I guess the secret is to eat as many as possible before they’re plunked down in the hot oil. I’m good at that, by the way…

  11. Resist the dark side Luke! Use the force!

    You had me sold on wanting to try this even before the top pic fully loaded on the screen, but more importantly, have you been talking to my husband? I couldn't help giggling after reading Luckily, my wife had been out shoe shopping for much of the day and came home in a good mood. WE were just out shoe shopping the other day but I just couldn't see spending 159 euros on a pair. My husband could sense the longing and said to give it a day or two, then if I still want it, he'll buy it. What a guy. Funny thing is that it isn't a pair of italian stilettos, but a pair of Lowa hiking boots!

    Re on the liquid yeast: imho, it's a ploy to make it easier for bakers who are too lazy to dissolve their own yeast. I neglected to mention that the liquid stuff costs twice as much as the fresh cubed yeast!

  12. Oh, these look wonderful, especially with a cold beer! What a lucky guy!

  13. I don't mind about your wife shopping many shoes but something different I can see that she luckily have a very nice husband. And your recipe is a lovely thing and more interesting by beautiful photos make more delicious.:D

  14. I have had those kinds of days...That dish looks amazing and I have Panko crumbs waiting for a dish like when I asked god for a man who could cook, he though I said book...but my son was blessed, and some lucky girl will benefit one day :)

  15. What a great meal to make right off the cuff!

    I love being able to make things out of what seems to be nothing in my fridge!

    How lucky you guys live in Hawaii! It's still pretty cold in Chicago!!

  16. MMMMMMMmmmmmmmm! Pretty awesome turn of events if you ask me... I love panko for frying, though these days it's all dry Italian breads for me.
    As for the shoe-shopping, I completely understand the effect it has on mood. I discovered I am a shoe-lady a few years ago... since then I've evolved into an expensive-shoe-lady, which is a slightly more challenging affliction to deal with.

  17. I could make these (and will). At least it's under my control. When I arrived at the Pub last weekend for my poke. I had found the owner had passed away 4 years before. The new owners did not like the "poke stuff" and removed it from the menu. That's the trouble with my restaurant list. It grows faster than I can eat and some "must try" places have been waiting a long time for me to "try" them. So I am still on the look out. GREG

  18. mmm. wow! I can't imagine where you would be able to find a Cambodian restaurant in Hawaii..

  19. Hi Sapuche, So (shoe shopping as therapy and husbands turning into a crabby blob in the couch in the absence of a wife runs around the world) and you live your whole life thinking that your are “all alone” with your crabby blob. Who knew?
    You are lucky she came home inspired to cook and it looks delicious, I think for that she deserve another perky pair of fabulous shoes.

  20. Rowena: Ha! Yes, I need to rely on “the force” more often. But clothes shopping has a force all its own, and it appears to be overpowering. Actually, to be fair, my wife isn’t shoe-obsessed. She was just out looking for shoes she didn’t need. :) Good choice on passing over the 159 euro pair you had your eye on, by the way. (At least for the time being.) And yeah, hubby is quite generous indeed if he splurges on your feet like that! Good luck trying to resist the appeal of those Lowa hiking boots!

    Wicked Noodle: Cold beer is definitely on the menu when these are for dinner! Seeing how I’m normally the one who cooks, this was about the best way to grab a break from the kitchen.

    Tan: Haha, thank you! My wife’s cooking always turns out to be more beautiful than mine. She did the hard work while I just took the photos. I did clean up afterward, though!

    Chef E: Yeah, I’m not a big fan of driving anyway, but when it’s a wild goose chase that ends without the goods, it’s frustrating! If you have the Panko crumbs, you should definitely give this a whirl. If you show it to your son, that’ll be just one more recipe to bulk up his repertoire. :)

    Jennifer: I’m always triple-checking my cookbooks before taking a step forward in the kitchen, but my wife never bothers with cookbooks OR measuring devices. I don’t know how she does it. I wish I had that kind of know-how and confidence. And sorry to hear that Chicago’s still so cold! If it makes you feel any better, it’s been unseasonably chilly in Hawaii and insanely windy. :)

    Sweet Charity: Ha! What a hilarious video. I’d never seen that, though I noticed that 24,000,000 people already had. Is that guy Canadian? And why is it that Canada produces so many great comedians and comedic actors/actresses? And yeah, it was a pretty good turn of events, though I’m still bitter that I couldn’t find those Cambodian ingredients! I don’t completely understand the connection between shoes and good moods in women. Let me ask you, does your mood improve relative to the cost of the shoes you buy? Because if it does, I’m worried…

    Sippity Sup: I’m sorry to hear about the disappearance of poke at the pub you went to. That sucks! Soldier on, Sippity, so that you too may sup. How could the new owners not like “the poke stuff”? My transplanted Midwestern sensibilities are offended! In any case, I hope you find some fresh, tasty poke in LA one of these days!

    Joanh: It’s a little hard to find them, but the Asian population in Hawaii is large enough and diverse enough that you can find pretty much anything here. I called one Cambodian restaurant for advice, but the place they recommended didn’t have what I was looking for. Waaaa!

    Anna: Ha! Well, I didn’t become a crabby blob because my wife was out shoe shopping, but I might have grown crabbier had I asked to see the amount on the receipt from her shopping trip. Actually, she always looks for good deals, and I completely trust her when it comes to spending money on clothes.

  21. Re: Why'd you have to give me a craving shortly before bedtime?

    Payback! That's what you get for inspiring me to want to make these pork/veg rolls. I did a little grocery shopping last night specifically to get the ingredients. We be chowing down this weekend. :-DDDDDD

  22. That looks sooooo good! A delightful recipe!



  23. These look great. I should go shoe shopping more often if it makes me this inspired.

  24. Let me make sure I have this straight:

    1) Bundle up veggies
    2) Wrap in bacon-type item
    3) Bread
    4) Fry

    This is the best idea ever. I can imagine that these ripped you from the Dark Side right quickly! :D

  25. Wow, these rolls rock! Look so yummy, thanks for sharing.

  26. Rowena: Haha! I guess I got a craving for yours after I’d eaten these, just like you got a craving for mine after you’d eaten yours. So, how’d the pork and veggie rolls turn out? Or did you just go for some of those amazing homemade donuts you posted about? Honestly, donuts would’ve been my choice...

    Rosa’s Yummy Yums: Thanks! I’m not a huge fan of pork, but in this it was indeed delightful. Thanks for your comment!

    A Girl Has to Eat: Heh. Well, shoe shopping can get expensive if you’re often short on inspiration. (That’s my concern, anyway, as I observe the shoes piling up around here.) Why is it that I’m usually inspired to cook but never to go shoe shopping? Maybe my stomach rules my mind?

    Onlinepastrychef: 1) That’s right. 2) You got it. 3) Yep. 4) Uh-huh. Isn’t it a great idea? I hope you give it a shot soon! Thanks for your comment!

    KennyT: I’m glad to hear you think these rolls rock. I readily agree! Give ‘em a try and let me know if they’re as good as advertised. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!