Korean-Style Country Fried Steak w Sauteed Kimchi

“Holy shit, this is really, really good,” those were my initial thoughts when biting into this fusion concoction that I made recently. It’s not very often that I enjoy my own dishes and it is a rarity to find myself making a dish on consecutive days. I am not sure where the inspiration came from as I don’t use recipes from magazines, websites, or TV, but l think it might have presented itself in some form of my newest addiction—Instagram. I’ve recently rediscovered IG after getting my GF’s hand-me-down iPhone and I must, there’s a treasure trove of great dishes from obsessed-minded food lovers like myself. Just perusing (and drooling) over all the delicious Korean dishes has inspired me to whip up new dishes, so I guess that is where my inspiration came from. Thank you Instagram.

Country fried steak is a popular comfort food found in the southern regions of the States. Instead of using steak though, I replaced it with a cheap cut of Jeju Island pork. The cut is packaged and labeled for soups and stews (similar to shoulder or Boston butt?) but I found that it holds up quite well without drying up during the frying stage (even better than the tenderloin). With my version, the pork pieces are breaded similarly to that of donkaas/donkatsu minus the breadcrumbs but plus the mouth-watering gravy. Having had the original dish plenty of times growing up in Iowa (mostly in college at Denny’s), I couldn’t get enough of the fried steak-gravy-mashed potato-biscuit combination. However, the only thing I didn’t like about it was the post-meal bloating and upset stomach irritation (carb overload maybe?). Anyways, my version replaces the mash with rice, and I sauteed some good ol’ kimchi to provide some extra kick to the dish. All in all, everything worked amazingly together and the flavor/texture combination had my GF and I calling seconds on consecutive nights. Although we don’t have a lot of regular dishes (besides kimchi jjigae) on our weekly meal plan, this dish (or a variation of it) will be a permanent fixture in our home. 🙂

 

“Woman accepted cooking as a chore, man has made of it a recreation.” ~ Emily Post, 1872-1960

 

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Using the cheapest cut of meat primarily used for stews and braises, I was able to thin these guys out, tenderize by pounding them down, and then patting with salt n pepper. If you want less trouble and more convenience, I recommend you use pork tenderloin or cutlet. If you have other available spices for a pre-rub, don’t hesitate to use them.
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Similar to breading pork cutlets for donkaas/donkatsu (minus the bread crumbs), fully coat the pork pieces in flour, then egg wash, and again flour. If you want to maximize flavor, add some spices to the flour.
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Using a generous amount of canola oil (sunflower and peanut oil are other healthy alternatives) in a fry pan, heat on medium-high setting and wait a few minutes until hot (if you add a little flour it should fizzle). Place the pork carefully into the pan.
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Cook each side about 5 minutes on each side or until crispy and well-browned. Repeat with remaining pork pieces.
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When finished frying all the pork pieces, there should be remaining brown bits n pieces including the oil. Dust in some regular flour and whisk until dissolved and browned, keep on low heat.
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Add milk to the pan and gradually whisk in the flour to thicken the gravy. Continue to whisk until it turns into a smooth, creamy consistency. Most importantly, add salt and pepper for some flavoring and taste test before removing from heat.
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Using ripe kimchi, cut into small pieces and saute until nice and soft, about 15 minutes. For flavoring, I added some extra kimchi liquid, plenty of sugar, and sesame oil.
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Personally, I love having a bed of rice as the foundation for most of my dishes and then topping it with cooked ingredients. That way, you can get a little of everything with each bite.

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Korean-Style Country Fried Steak w Sauteed Kimchi
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Fusion
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 pieces of pork cutlet or tenderloin
  • 2 cups of kimchi, chopped
  • ½ cup kimchi liquid
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely mincded
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1, 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp flour (for gravy)
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper (for gravy)
  • dash of salt and pepper (pork rub)
  • canola oil (use peanut or sunflower oil if available)
Instructions
  1. If using a large cut of meat, cut into manageable size and thin out with a meat tenderizer or back end of a knife. Remove any large fatty pieces and connective tissues.
  2. On the front and back of pork pieces, rub on some salt and pepper with other seasonings if available. Curry, cayenne, and garlic powder will work too.
  3. Working one piece of meat at a time, coat in the flour mixture, beaten egg mixture, and again flour.
  4. Add enough oil to cover half the meat in a pan or skillet at medium heat. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it's hot enough. Cook meat until edges turn golden brown, no more than 5, 6 minutes per each side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat until all meat is cooked.
  5. After all meat is fried, sprinkle some flour evenly over the grease and keep at low heat. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease creating a brown paste-like consistency. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. Next whisk in the milk and cook to thicken until it becomes thick gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned with salt and pepper.
  6. In another pan, saute chopped kimchi with liquid, sugar, sesame oil, and minced garlic until soft and tender, 10 minutes.
  7. Combine your pork steaks with gravy, kimchi, and rice. Enjoy!

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