Observing some of my friends’ blogs (Hiroyuki’s Blog on Japanese Cooking, Just One Cookbook and Shizuoka Gourmet) I quickly deduced rolling vegetables into thin meat slices is one of the favourite pastimes of the Japanese home cooks. Then, thanks to Hyosun’s recipes (Eating and Living), I discovered Koreans are also fans of rolls. After all it is not surprising: meat and vegetable rolls are healthy (a roll usually contains more vegetables than meat), easy and quick to prepare (thin meat slices stick together very easily), convenient (the rolls can be made even 24 hours prior to frying and they work as a part of main course or cute party snacks), but, most of all, I find them cute and fun to eat.
Since I made Potato Teriyaki Pork Rolls found on Nami’s Just One Cookbook, I haven’t stopped looking for new meat rolls ideas. The delicious Okra Teriyaki Pork Rolls inspired by Shizuoka Gourmet blog were followed by the Korean-style fantastic and hot Pork Rolls and Shiso in Tempura (from Eating and Living blog)… Last week I decided to experiment with asparagus. Combined with soft pork and sticky teriyaki glaze they created fantastic, light, crunchy rolls. A real dream dish for pork and asparagus fans. I already feel these rolls will be my staple meal as long as the asparagus is on the market.
TIPS: Choose the thinner asparagus stems: maximum 1 cm (a bit less than 1/2 inch) diameter at the bottom, so that you don’t need to peel or precook them. This way the asparagus will be only slightly cooked, but still crunchy.
These asparagus can be cut and rolled into pork slices in advance and kept even 24 hours in the fridge. Only flour coating and frying stages should be carried out shortly before serving.
Ready-to-use teriyaki mixture can be bought in every Japanese shop, but it takes one minute to prepare it and one can adjust for example the sweetness to one’s preferences.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Ingredients (makes 10 mini pork rolls):
10 thin slices of pork (max 1 mm thick); I have used pork loin
10 green asparagus stalks (only the non-stringy, soft part, usually the upper 3/4 – 2/3 length)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons mirin (can be substituted with 1 – 2 tablespoons syrup)
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or 4-5 if you have low sodium soy sauce)
(1 teaspoon sugar; I usually omit sugar)
3 tablespoons sake
(grilled sesame seeds)
Cut the asparagus soft parts in two or three equal pieces (they shouldn’t stick too much when wrapped in meat slices).
Combine the teriyaki glaze ingredients in a glass or bowl.
Season slightly the pork slices with salt and pepper.
Put two asparagus pieces at one end of the pork roll (salted part up). (To make the rolls look cuter, put one tip and one medium piece).
Roll it tightly and put aside.
Do the same with all the pork strips.
Heat some oil in a pan.
Dust the pork rolls lightly with flour, shake off the excess flour.
Put the rolls on the heated pan, sealed side down and fry on a medium heat, covered, until they are well browned.
Flip the rolls over at least once, after ten minutes.
The whole frying process will take more or less 15 minutes.
Pour the teriyaki sauce over the rolls and make sure they are well coated.
Let the sauce thicken for about one minute, turning the rolls frequently.
Transfer the rolls to a plate and garnish with the remaining sauce.
(Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds if you like them).
Serve with rice as the main dish or on their own, as a snack.