Once in a while, either through hunting or because of our hog farming friends, we have lots of pork around the house. Mostly I cure the meat in various ways and make lots of fresh sausages, but the backstrap, tenderloin and other tender cuts usually get cooked simply, like this Japanese ginger pork.
It’s a pork cutlet recipe called shogayaki in Japanese. It requires only a few ingredients that are now in pretty much every supermarket, and comes together in a flash.
More or less, this is a Japanese take on German jägerschnitzel. Pork loin, pounded thin, seared in oil, then doused in a sauce with mushrooms. You can either leave the pork unadorned or dust it in a little rice flour, which is what I do.
The only tricky part to ginger pork is getting the ginger juice. Traditionally, you’d use a porcelain ginger grater, but you can also use something like a microplane grater, or do what I do and use a sturdy garlic press. I like a full 3 tablespoons of ginger juice in here, but if you’re not a fan of, say, those spicy ginger beers, stick to 1 or 2 tablespoons.
The rest of the sauce is a bit like teriyaki, only there’s no sugar.
Mushrooms add heft and savoriness to the dish, and if you can find fresh shiitake mushrooms, get them. They are a perfect accompaniment for ginger pork. If not, use cremini or some other nice fresh mushroom. If you don’t like mushrooms, maybe baby bok choy or asparagus would be a good addition.
It’s a fantastic, simple and fast meal to put together on a weeknight. Serve this with Japanese-style rice and maybe a cucumber salad like this one from my friend Elise at Simply Recipes.
Japanese Ginger Pork
- A 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 1 to 2 pounds pork loin
- 1/2 cup rice flour or all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons rice bran, canola or grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup sake
- 2 tablespoons mirin, Japanese sweetened rice wine
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
- Slice the ginger into pieces that will fit into a garlic press and squeeze out the juices until you get to 2 to 3 tablespoons. Alternately, you can extract the juices with a microplane grater or Japanese ginger grater.
- Slice the pork loin against the grain into medallions. Put the medallions between two pieces of plastic wrap, and, using a rubber mallet, meat mallet or empty wine bottle, pound the cutlets to about 1/4 inch thick. Salt them.
- Salt the cutlets, then dust them in the rice flour. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and saute the pork loins. Sear for 2 minutes on the first side, then turn and lower the heat to medium and finish cooking to your liking, generally another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the cutlets and put them in an oven set to "warm."
- Add the sake, mirin, soy sauce and ginger juice to the frying pan and bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms and boil furiously for 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Take the pork cutlets out and slice them, giving everyone some. Pour the sauce and mushrooms over the pork and serve.