Kushi katsu is so popular in Osaka that the locals will line up for over an hour to get a seat. For this recipe, all manner of ingredients are skewered, crumbed and fried, and served with a communal dipping sauce. Double-dipping is frowned upon – instead use the cabbage like a spoon to ferry extra sauce to your fried skewer.
- 200 g skinless chicken thigh, cut into 3 cm pieces
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 200 g pork loin, cut into 3 cm pieces
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 400 g mixed vegetables, such as spring onion, Japanese eggplant, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini
- 400 g green prawns, shells removed and deveined
- 200 g white fish fillets, cut into 3 cm pieces
- ½ cup plain flour, very well seasoned
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 150 g panko breadcrumbs (see note)
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- ½ white cabbage, leaves separated and cut into rough 8 cm x 5 cm pieces
- 250 ml (1 cup) tomato sauce (ketchup)
- 160 ml (⅔ cup) Worcestershire sauce
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp French mustard
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp instant dashi powder (see note)
- 1 sheet yakinori (see note)
- 2 tbsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp green tea powder (see note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk until combined. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl until ready to use (it is best served at room temperature).
To make the flavoured salt, toast the yakinori sheet directly over a flame until very crisp. Break into small pieces and place in a mortar and pestle with 1 tbsp of salt. Pound until completely combined. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining salt with the green tea powder and set aside.
Combine the chicken and the soy sauce and mix well until evenly coated. Set aside. Combine the pork and the sesame oil, toss to coast well and set aside. Cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces no bigger than 4–5 cm each.
Thread bamboo skewers with 2–3 pieces of one ingredient, including prawns and fish, and set aside in individual piles.
Place the flour, egg and panko in separate bowls. Working with one ingredient at a time, roll each skewer in flour, dip in egg and coat generously with panko crumbs. Set aside on a tray lined with baking paper until ready to use.
Preheat a deep-fryer or deep frying pan filled with 15 cm oil to 180°C. Deep-fry skewers, one ingredient at a time (this makes its easier to adjust the cooking time for different ingredients) for 2–3 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towel.
To serve, pile the skewers onto a serving plate and place in the middle of the table with the cabbage leaves and dipping sauce. Give each guest a small bowl of green tea salt and nori salt. Guests take a skewer from the pile, dip once in the dipping sauce and eat directly from the skewer. If more sauce is required, use a piece of cabbage like a spoon to drizzle the sauce onto the skewer then eat the cabbage. Use the seasoned salt as desired.
• Panko crumbs, green tea powder, instant dashi powder and yakinori are available from Japanese food stores and some Asian food stores.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Wooden board from Emily Zizz. Blue cup from The Country Trader.