This post is about how I made a Quick & Easy Katsu Don using a recipe from a book I picked up from Popular last week. In general, I do not follow Chinese news and trends, so I have no idea who the author is. This is the first time I heard of Masa Yamashita. Apparently, he is quite popular in Taiwan. I picked up the book simply cos I like the look of it (yes, I do judge a book by its cover!) and I like the recipes inside. (It helps that the guy is quite good looking. Ok, I am shallow. :p )
It is technically a bento book, but I bought it not because I wanted to make bento but because I like the recipes inside. They seem very easy and quick to make – of course, speed is essential for bento-making. My kids generally like Japanese style cooking. This, together with the idea of speed and ease of making, made me buy the book.
After flipping through it over the weekend, I decided to go through as many recipes as I can, like Julie & Julia style. There are a few recipes that involved things that I don’t like so I will skip them. This will save me the trouble of thinking what to cook for a while, I think. (^.^)
So the first thing I tried was Katsu Don.
Actually, I know how to make Katsu Don. This time, I just wanted to follow his recipe to see how it would turn out. I made this during a schoolday for lunch. Implications :
1. I have very little time to cook in the morning.
2. I have very little time to clean up after that.
So it was either going to be a complete success or a complete failure. Plan B being take-out lunch from the coffeeshop, should I fail to make this lunch.
Quick & Easy Katsu Don
So, I did the following according to the recipe :
I prepared the pork chop like so. I did 4 servings.
Sliced some onions.
Fried up the pork chop slices.
Up until this point, I spent about 30 minutes, including getting the rice into the rice cooker and the time taken to clean up along the way. The timing given in the recipe is 10 minutes to complete the dish (not including marinating time). Multiply by 4 servings, I think I did not do too badly.
Then, I took a break and brought the boys downstairs for their outdoor time.
After we came back, I had about 10 minutes to churn out the first serving for #2, so that he could eat his lunch before going to school. Doing the rest of the steps was not difficult at all. Just time consuming because I had to do one serving at a time.
#2’s Katsu Don turned out a bit more watery than it should be. 😛
After settling #2 down for his lunch, I prepared another serving for #1’s packed lunch. He goes to morning school but has classes in the afternoon on certain days. His brother, who goes to afternoon school, will bring his lunch to school for him. #1’s Katsu Don turned out better.
This boy is growing right now and eats A LOT. So he actually had 1.5 serving, which I tried to squeeze into two containers.
Lastly, I did #3’s Katsu Don. So because of that, the time taken to make all 4 servings was much longer than what was given in the book. However, I think if I were to make just 1 serving, I should not take more than 15 minutes.
The verdict according to the boys? Success! Even #3, the “Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bites-Taker”** ate his lunch pretty quickly, without me feeding him.
So that’s one down. I have already tried a few more of the recipes and will be posting them.
Book Review : Welcome to Bento Time by Masa Yamashita (MASA の 楽々便当)
What I like about this recipe book is the pictorial, step-by-step instructions, so you can refer to the pictures to see whether what you are doing is turning out like what you see in the pictures. The steps are also simple (mostly). They do not involve a lot of complicated steps or expensive, elusive ingredients. The style of writing is informal and friendly, with Japanese emoticons here and there, which are quite cute.
At this point in time, I have only tried a few of the recipes. So far, mostly successful. Very promising.
So even if you are not making bento, as long as you are looking for easy-to-make, quick-to-cook recipes, this is a book you can consider. Price : $26.35.
If you are interested in more recipes, visit Masa’s blog.
Warning : This book is published in Taiwan, so the Chinese are all in the traditional form (繁体字). But no worries. The ingredient lists all come with the English names of the ingredients, and with the step-by-step pictorial instructions, I am sure even if you can’t read traditional form, you will have no problem following the recipes.
For obvious copyright reason, I cannot be sharing the recipes from the book completely. This series of posts (if it becomes a real series) is just about my experience of using Masa’s recipe book(s). I hope the posts will inspire you to get the book(s) to try them yourself. Masa has written 3 books, I think, so do check them out.
** If you don’t know what a Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker is, read Mrs Piggle-Wiggle.