Tag: deep-fried

Notable Nosh: Pakora Shrimp

Pakora Shrimp

I had this interesting little appetizer at an Indian restaurant in Ottawa not long ago. Normally, when I order a Pakora, I expect a small fritter type affair where the main ingredient is chopped into small pieces along with other things (onion, etc.), and then mixed into batter before being deep-fried by the spoon full to make small ‘bites’.

Here however, the shrimp was cooked whole with a batter coating and this might have been boring except that the batter (made with ‘Besan’, or chick pea flour), was nicely spiced. I am not sure of the blend, but I believe I could detect paprika, some chili, and possibly a bit of ground coriander seed).

The shrimp were served with a Tamarind based sweet sauce (very nice) and a mint chutney (which might have been nice but was a bit stale) and overall, I thought the preparation was very good except for the fact that the batter ‘shell’ tended to slip away from the meat as one bit into it. If I try this at home (and I will), I think I will butterfly the shrimp, make the batter thinner, and likely try some other dipping sauces than the ones given here ….

Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi Tofu 1

An Agemono dish in Japanese cuisine is one in which the main ingredient is deep-fried. Age dofu (or tofu) is any preparation of deep-fried tofu, while today’s dish, Agedashi Tofu, is cubes if the fried bean curd served in a dashi based sauce. Our sauce today is essentially a Kakejiru (or dashi, soy, mirin blend) and we will be using a pre-prepared quantity of it in our recipe here…  Continue reading “Agedashi Tofu”

Notable Nosh: Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu - Izakaya

Not long ago, I featured a rather unusual preparation called ‘Oyster Katsu’, which, I noted, was a culinary offshoot of a very popular Japanese dish known as ‘Tonkastu’.  Traditionally, a ‘Tonkatsu’ consists of  breaded  pork cutlet that is fried and  then served over a bed of thinly slice white cabbage alongside a unique Worcestershire based barbecue-type sauce and the version you see pictured above, and which I enjoyed recently in Ottawa, cleaves to the basic idea with a few unorthodox twists thrown in…

First, the plain cabbage bed in this interpretation was replaced with a mix of white and red cabbage that had briefly been cooked and then tossed in a spicy-sweet chili based sauce. This was a novel addition and I rather liked it. The pork cutlet, however, was rather thickly cut and not pounded out for the tenderness you should really expect with this dish. It was also a bit too vigorously fried in this particular case with the result that it was just a little bit dry and overdone.

The biggest deviation from the basic theme was that the cutlet was slathered (a little too liberally, perhaps) with a Teriyaki style sauce and Japanese Mayo. The effect was actually not that bad but to then serve the typical katsu sauce alongside was really overkill to my mind. As it happened though, I actually preferred the topping blend and, after the first few bites, didn’t bother with the dipping sauce again. Possibly, purists might claim that the dish I was served can no longer be properly called a true Japanese Tonkatsu but I generally enjoyed this approach and may try something similar myself at home…

Notable Nosh: Oyster Katsu

Nosh - Oyster Katsu

Although this dish that I tried at Wasabi in Ottawa last July wasn’t very good, it does represent something of an interesting novelty and so deserves a mention here…

If you enjoy Japanese cuisine, you have probably tasted, or at least come across, the popular dish known as ‘Tonkatsu’. For those of you who have not heard of this, it is essentially a pork cutlet that has been tenderized and then deep-fried in a panko breading. Indeed, the suffix ‘katsu’ actually comes from ‘katsuretsu’, which is a corruption of the English ‘cutlet’. Often, the cutlet is served over shredded cabbage and it always comes with a sweetish, brown ‘katsu sosu’, which is basically a thickened, Japanese style Worcestershire sauce. At Wasabi, they have made deep-fried oysters a ‘katsu’ preparation by serving it, somewhat innovatively, with the very same sort of sauce.

My disappointment with this dish lay primarily in the fact that it was very poorly executed. The deep-fry oil was clearly old and past its best, yielding a greasy result, and the ratio of breading was too high. I could taste oyster in a few places here and there but, otherwise, I could have been eating any (very mild) whitefish, or plain old clam. If that were not enough, the whole was overcooked and very carelessly allowed to lump together so that the three oysters formed one, fused mass.

Beyond that disappointment, I have to say that the ‘katsu’ sauce just didn’t work here, in my opinion. It is perfectly okay with pork (although still not my favorite), but with oyster the flavors just didn’t complement one another very well. I’ll be deep-frying oysters at home as the opportunity arises, but I think, on the whole, that I’ll be giving the Worcestershire type dipping sauces a miss….

 

Deep-Fried Clam Appetizer

Deep-Fried Clam Appetizer 01

This is the first use of the Qikiqtarjuaq Clams my wife bought while I was away on Court circuit. For this recipe, I am going to deep fry the whole clam rather than just the muscular ‘strip’ so it will be, as they say in New England and the Maritimes, ‘Fried Clam with Belly’. I have always loved fried clams but I try to avoid too many deep-fried foods (and these can be very rich) so I am just doing three each for me and the wife as a little appetizer…  Continue reading “Deep-Fried Clam Appetizer”