"Dammit. I've thought about that for a long time and I keep changing my mind. I'm fairly obsessed with good Japanese katsu curry, so it might have to be that. But I reserve the right to change my answer right up until the very, very end

Mike Masnick - Founder of Techdirt

Thanks Mike!

These were the answers we really hoped for when we first started Last Meals at ChowFu. Awesome, delicious foods that we crave and wouldn’t mind spending our hours in the kitchen perfecting. It’s much more approachable than some of our other celebrity last meals (like Alyssa Milano’s mom’s Sunday Sauce made from Love and Guilt or Kristin Bauer’s choice of Eva Green as her final bite. We love all our celebrity answers) and we couldn’t wait to get started on a good Japanese katsu curry.

To help our readers (both of you) who actually make the meals we present, we are going to split up the recipe into the Tonkatsu (fried pork), and the curry.

To help our readers (both of you) who actually make the meals we present, we are going to split up the recipe into the Tonkatsu (fried pork), and the curry.

First The Meat

Before we delve into the magically delicious world of fried pork cutlets (or you can skip this diatribe altogether and go straight to our RECIPE page), we need to familiarize ourselves with the pork Americans are used to today.

In 1987, a campaign promoting pork as “The Other White Meat” successfully marketed the protein as a lean, health conscious alternative to chicken and turkey. While pork was celebrated for its high fat content in other parts of the world (think pork belly in Asia), Americans in the past several decades (going back to the 50s and 60s) have considered the lean hog as more desirable. Through generations of genetic breeding to meet consumer demands, we are left with the pork that you find in the supermarket today; an incredibly lean piece of protein that is unforgivingly dry and bland when cooked improperly.

All is not lost. We will make a few adjustments to the traditional way of cooking tonkatsu that should better highlight the flavors of the meat without leaving the texture dry and unpalatable.

First, we are going to choose a large, bone-in pork chop (in our recipe section we use a pork chop from Arcadian Pastures in Sloneville, New York.) in lieu of the traditional boneless pork cutlet. Collagen rich connective tissue helps anchor the muscle of an animal to the bone. When this tissue is heated to the right temperature, the collagen protein dissolves into a succulent gelatin that adds immense flavors to a piece of meat. We also want a larger piece of pork to lower the chances of it being dried out during our deep-frying process.

We deep-fry the pork to get that crunchy, golden brown crust that is bursting with rich flavors, but we need to ensure that our pork chop is cooked thoroughly given its large size. To tackle this issue, we will be pre-cooking the meat using a water bath technique and then finishing it off with the deep-fry. The technique of cooking food in a water bath, better known as “sous vide”, has been gaining popularity in the past few years. By placing our pork in a water bath at a very precise temperature, we can ensure a fully cooked piece of protein without worrying about the loss of moisture from other traditional cooking methods. There are many commercially available immersion circulators on the market catering to the ambitious home cook. But to better serve those who do not have an immersion circulator and vacuum sealer, we will mimic the sous vide method by simply using a large pot of warm water, with a thermometer to closely regulate the temperature.

The Curry

Japanese curries are milder than their Indian counterparts and typically contain a protein with a variety of vegetables. Similar to many classic French sauces, a roux is added to the meats and vegetables to both thicken and enrich the flavors of the curry. In most Japanese households, the roux is store bought and packed with tasty MSG and umami flavors, but we will make our version of the roux from simple ingredients available at your local supermarket. To mimic the intense flavors of a typical Japanese curry, we will use a combination of garam masala and curry powder. A pinch of cayenne will give the curry an extra kick.