Amazu is a sweet and sour sauce usually comprising rice vinegar and sugar. Here, Shinichi flavours it with pickled beetroot, providing a cleansing foil to the rich lamb.
- 600 g (about 3) lamb backstraps, cut into 6 even pieces
- 75 g (½ cup) plain flour, to dust
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 150 g (2 cups) panko breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil to deep-fry
- pickled daikon (see Note), finely shredded carrot salad and baby herbs, to serve
- 55 g (¼ cup) white sugar
- 300 g (about 3) small beetroot, tops scored
- 60 ml (¼ cup) rice vinegar
- 2 jalapeño chillies
- 100 g (⅓ cup) Japanese mayonnaise
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.
Pickling time 3 days
Chilling time 20 minutes
DRINK 2010 Cape Mentelle ‘Trinders’ Cabernet Merlot. It has just the right amount of bright acidity and grip to balance the fried coating.
To make beetroot amazu, place 1 litre water, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp salt in a saucepan, and stir to dissolve. Add beetroot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes or until beetroot is tender. Drain and plunge into iced water. Drain again, then roughly chop beetroot.
Place remaining 2 tbsp sugar and the vinegar in a large bowl with 80 ml warm water and stir to dissolve. Add beetroot, then cover and refrigerate for 3 days to pickle. Drain, reserving 60 ml liquid. Using a food processor, process until smooth, adding reserved liquid to form a purée. Makes 1¼ cups.
To make jalapeño mayonnaise, using tongs, hold each jalapeño directly over a gas flame, turning, until blackened all over. Transfer to a bowl, cool slightly, then rub off charred skins. Carefully cut open over a bowl to catch any juices and discard seeds. Cool completely, then process in a food processor with reserved juices and mayonnaise until smooth. Set aside.
Season lamb with salt and pepper. Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dust lamb with flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg and coat in breadcrumbs. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm.
Fill a deep-fryer or large pan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in 2 batches, fry lamb, turning halfway, for 4 minutes or until golden and cooked to medium. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Slice lamb katsu and serve with beetroot amazu, jalapeño mayonnaise, pickled daikon, carrot salad and baby herbs.
• Pickled daikon (white radish) is available in vacuum-sealed bags from Asian food shops.
Photography John Reyment