Katsu-style fried fish (floured, dipped in egg and coated with panko) is served over rice with shredded cabbage on the side.
I say “katsu-style” because the sauce is not exactly authentic tonkatsu sauce. The night we had this fried fish rice bowl for dinner, we had been out of sake for weeks. Alex had to improvise to come up with a sauce that was equally delicious even if not authentic Japanese.
The sauce was made with a mixture of hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup and sesame seed oil. There’s grated ginger and garlic in it too. Thicker than tonkatsu sauce and truly delicious. Like I always say: never be scared to improvise.
So… what fish is best for this recipe? Any firm and fleshy fish. We used fillets because the bones went into a pot to make fish broth for a soup but there’s no earthly reason why you can’t use fish steaks rather than fillets.
As for the vegetables… well, shredded cabbage has become our default side vegetable since last year’s trip to Japan. The cabbage is piled over the rice plain. We like the crunch and we have the option of drizzling whatever dressing we prefer individually. Unlike a cooked side dish where you’re stuck with the seasonings that went into it.
If you’re not a fan of plain shredded cabbage, you can pair your fish with a simple vegetable side dish. It will mean additional work but if you have the time and inclination, why not? My recommendations are at the end of the recipe.
- Wipe the fish fillets with paper towels and rub generously with salt and pepper. Keep in a covered container in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the seasonings to be absorbed.
- Place the cornstarch, beaten egg and panko in three separate shallow bowls.
- Heat your fryer (heating before pouring in the oil prevents food from sticking to the metal) then pour in enough oil to reach a depth of about three inches.
- Take the fish fillets out of the fridge. Dredge each one in flour, dip in egg then roll in panko to cover every inch of the surface. If you need a visual guide, see my tonkatsu recipe. It's the same procedure except you're using fillets here instead of pork.
- Over medium heat, fry the fish fillets until the crust is golden and the fish flesh just cooked through. Depending on the size of the fillets, this can take anywhere from six to eight minutes.
- Scoop out the fried fish and rest on a rack.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Ladle hot rice into bowls. Arrange a fillet on top. Add shredded cabbage on the side. Drizzle sauce over the fish and serve.
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