Oh Doria, How I Love Thee

Doria, simply put is "Comfort Food" but before I explain what the dish actually is let me explain where on the spectrum of cuisine it comes from. Back home comfort food comes in many forms, fried chicken, chili, mashed potatoes and the list could go on.  In Japan they have there own form of comfort food.  No I'm not talking about ramen or sushi.  To Haden and mines surprise it's the complete opposite of what you would expect.  Scattered amongst the sushi bars and ramen counters is a class of restaurant that the Japanese call western food.  I know what you are thinking,  why would we want to eat western food when we live in Japan, let me explain.  The Japanese have taken several of the comfort foods from the States and Western Europe and over the years and many years at that, created their own versions that can be called completely theirs.  So what is doria exactly, well its a dance of flavors that it pretty much perfect, at least in my book.  The combination of yellow rice or ketchup fried rice (trust me its good) layered with white sauce and red sauce and chunks of chicken or shrimp, covered with cheese and baked in the oven.  I have come to describe is a the Japanese version of lasagna.  My mouth is watering just describing it too you.  Its said to hail from Italy and was introduced in 1925 as French cuisine and served at Yokohama's New Grand Hotel.  After discovering this hidden gem I decided to take on the task and create my own doria.  I must say Haden and I both thought it came out great.

Ingredients

B├ęchamel (White) Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese
  • A pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of white pepper to taste
Body
  • 1/2 pound shrimp - peeled, devained and cut in bit-size pieces
  • 1/4 pound scallops - cut in bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cups white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 or 2 small cloves)
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 2 cups cooked white rice at room temperature (leftover rice is fine and dandy)
Topping
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (or other mild white cheese)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish
  3. Combine cut shrimp and scallops with white wine and let stand at room temperature for at least ten minutes
  4. Make b├ęchamel Sauce ....
  5. Melt 4 Tablespoons butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
  6. When butter is foaming, add the flour in small increments and stir constantly to create a smooth paste - about 3 minutes. (Add flour slowly and do not allow it to color)
  7. Slowly add the milk to the flour mixture, stirring constantly. (We don't want lumps!)
  8. Cook sauce, stirring constantly until it thickly coats the back of a spoon - about 5 - 7 minutes.
  9. Stir in salt and 1/4 cup cheese
  10. Add nutmeg
  11. Remove from heat and keep warm
  12. In large skillet melt 1 Tablespoon butter over medium heat
  13. Add onion and cook until translucent - 4 - 5 minutes
  14. Add mushrooms and cook until soft
  15. Add the shrimp, scallop and wine to the onions and mushrooms
  16. Add garlic, salt, white pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until shrimp and scallops are cooked through - about 5 minutes
  17. Remove from heat and drain liquid from the pan into a 2-cup glass measuring cup.
  18. Add rice to shrimp mixture and combine
  19. Add enough of the white sauce to the measuring cup to measure about 2 cups total (a bit more won't hurt
  20. Place rice and shrimp-scallop mixture into prepared baking dish
  21. Pour sauce evenly of the rice and shrimp-scallop mixture
  22. Sprinkle evenly with 1 to 1 1/2 cups cheese
  23. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and golden brown - about 10 - 12 minutes
  24. Sprinkle parsley on top of dish and serve hot.

Tonkatsu. What Did You Say?

Tonkatsu, what is this strange word or dish or..... OK so I'm not really trying to confuse you but hey the first time I heard the word I was like Huh?. Putting the confusing Japanese syllables aside it is pronounced just as its spelled. Ton-kat-su, not to bad. So what is it really? Simply put its a breaded fried pork cutlet. Its really not all that mysterious at all. Recently I took on the task of trying to recreate this tasty dish as my first attempt at Japanese cuisine. Haden and I first discovered this tasty fried comfort in a small little lunch spot down a side alley in Machida, we didn't even know what it was nor did we figure it our for sometime. It is really quite simple to make . Pork cutlet, lightly floured and rolled in panko bread crumbs then fried to golden perfection. Its usually served sliced over rice with Tonkatsu sauce, kinda of like a BBQ sauce, and shredded cabbage. Simple, easy, delicious and down right awesome. At least in my opinion.

Tonkatsu
 4 thick pork loin cutlets or steaks (boneless) or chicken
 1 cup all purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper
 2 eggs, lightly beaten
 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
 Vegetable oil for frying

Serve
 Tonkatsu sauce or BBQ sauce
 Cooked rice or cabbage

Cut, 3-4 slits in the fat on the side of the pork cutlets or steaks

Use a mallet to flatten each cutlet, then press to coat in seasoned flour and dip in beaten egg

Coat pork cutlets in breadcrumbs and press to ensure they stick to the cutlets.  Allow to stand for 30 minutes if time allows to ensure crumbs hold.

Heat vegetable oil for shallow frying in deep flying pan until it starts to move.  Gently lower the cutlets in batches into the pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side or until crisp, and golden brown and cooked through. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper towels and keep warm while you cooking
the remaining cutlets.  Serve sliced with Tonkatsu sauce, rice and cabbage
Yum!