A pumpkin ‘cutlet’ encased in a crisp golden shell perched on top of a bed of rice, all bathed in a sweet-and-salty broth with wilted onions... It may sound rustic, but this katsu-don is a powerhouse of flavour. If you feel like jazzing it up a bit, add some scrambled tofu.
Use gluten-free breadcrumbs, rice flour instead of plain flour, and tamari instead of soy sauce.
First, steam the pumpkin cubes until they’re tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Tip the pumpkin into a large heatproof bowl and mash well, then stir in the diced shallot, salt, pepper, flour, sugar and corn kernels. Stir to mix everything thoroughly. Flatten the pumpkin mixture into two oval ‘cutlets’, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and leave in the freezer for 10–20 minutes to firm up.
Next, make the onion dashi broth. In a small saucepan, bring the dashi to the boil, then stir in the soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sliced onions. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the onions are very soft, about 7–10 minutes.
For the coating, dry-fry the panko breadcrumbs in a non-stick frying pan until evenly golden. Place the toasted breadcrumbs in a wide, shallow bowl and season with a pinch of salt. In another bowl, stir together the flour, turmeric and a pinch each of salt and pepper. In a third bowl, whisk together the soy milk and vinegar, then leave to sit for 5 minutes to thicken up slightly.
Take the baking tray out of the freezer and place one of the pumpkin cutlets in the flour mixture. Turn it gently to coat in a thin layer of flour all over, then dip into the soy milk mixture so the flour becomes tacky. Lastly, coat in the toasted breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs on to coat the cutlet completely. Return it to the baking tray and repeat with the other cutlet, then
To serve, divide the rice between two bowls, pour the onion dashi broth over it and top with the pumpkin cutlets. Garnish with sliced spring onion – and eat it while it’s hot!
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