Something ordinary but special

Keith Bryant
 A couple of weeks ago I was trying to help out a local business with ideas for a food to help create a little excitement during the stay at home order. 
 One afternoon Sharon and I had to go to Nampa to pickup an item. While we were there we called in an order for Hawaiian food from a restaurant located next to Lowes. This gave me the brainchild of maybe reproducing that locally for a restaurant caught up in this crisis.
 I headed to Legends on Main to visit with my friend Carlos to see if he was interested in doing it at his shop. He agreed and we sold out in about an hour. 
 While researching this food to find out where it all started I contacted Sharon’s dad in Oahu and he explained the history of the Japanese labor in Hawaii while working the pineapple and sugar cane plantations.
 The dish dates back to the 1880s. The plantation workers would bring their lunches to work with them in bento (lunch) boxes, and the leftover rice was used as an inexpensive way to bulk up whatever meats were left over from last night’s dinner. By the 1930s, lunch wagons popped up to cater to laborers. Instead of bento boxes they were placed in a compartmentalized paper plate and hence the name “plate lunch.” By the 1950s the plantation era had ended, but the plate lunch had become a staple of Hawaiian cuisine.
 Some of the most commonly seen dishes on a plate lunch are native Hawaiian dishes: loco moco (hamburger patties topped with brown gravy and a fried egg), kalua pork (a traditional luau dish of slow-cooked pork shoulder), or Spam musubi (slices of Spam on top of rice wrapped in nori), a highly portable snack that’s said to have been invented in Japanese internment camps during World War II.
Chicken Katsu (Fried Chicken Cutlet)
10 oz. boneless and skinless chicken breast (300g)
½ teaspoon salt
3 dashes black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup Japanese panko or breadcrumbs
oil for deep-frying
Katsu Sauce:
1½ tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
 Slice the chicken breast horizontally into two slices. Cut each slice into 2 equal-sized pieces. Season with the salt and black pepper. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Mix all the ingredients for the Katsu sauce in a bowl, stir to mix well.
 Heat up a pot of cooking oil for deep-frying. Ideal temperature is about 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.
 Dip each piece of the chicken into the beaten egg, then immediately coat it with the panko. Shake off the excess. Dip the chicken into the egg again, and then coat with the panko for the second time. Make sure that the chicken is evenly coated with a thick layer of panko. Repeat the same for the other piece of chicken.
 Once the oil is fully heated, gently drop each piece of the chicken into the pot and deep fry until both sides turn golden brown. Dish out the chicken onto a plate lined with paper towels. Cut the chicken into strips and serve immediately with steamed rice and katsu sauce.

Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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