Ever heard of the National Wiener Schnitzel Day? Did you know that the National Wiener Schnitzel Day falls on the 9th of September every year? Perhaps this dish may be familiar or a total stranger to you, but let’s take a look!
To Austrians and Europeans alike, it is comfort food that can be made and savoured at home. To Asians, it is a MUST-TRY local delicacy while on a trip to the other side of the world or a simple mouth-watering dish to try at home!
Knowing the origins
Essentially, “Wiener Schnitzel” means “Viennese Cutlet” in German. Wiener Schnitzel was first mentioned in a cookbook back in 1831. The popular German cookbook written by Katharina Prato back in the 19th century mentioned it as eingebröselte Kalbsschnitzchen or roughly, ‘crusted veal cutlets’. Traditionally the cutlet is made of breaded thin veal slices fried to perfection. Veal is the meat of calves in contrast to older cattle.
Why Vienna? According to a story, field marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz brought the recipe from Italy to Vienna in 1857. In 1869, an Italian gastronomy book named Guida gastronomica d’Italia mentioned that the dish had a connection in Radetzky.
The book was then published in German in 1871 as Italien tafelt. It is claimed that the story was actually about the cotoletta alla milanese or the Milanese cutlet which is similar to the Wiener Schnitzel.
However, this story is unknown in Austria. Even so, the Radetzky legend is based on this book, which notes that a Count Attems, an adjutant to the emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria gave notice from Radetzky about the situation in Lombardy and mentioned a tasty veal steak in a margin note. The emperor had personally requested the recipe from him after Radetzky had returned.
Nevertheless, linguist Pohl had suggested that the story had been invented on account of Radetzky himself! Pohl had even hinted that the dish had been one of those “imported” from Austria as there is no proof to the existence of schnitzels in Italian and German cookbooks.
The Art of Preparation
The cutlet is as aforementioned, prepared from veal (young calf meat) slices. It is butterfly-cut to a thickness of about 4 millimetres and pounded flat very lightly. The veal slices are then salted slightly, rolled in sifted flour, whipped eggs and bread crumbs. It is important to remember not to press the bread crumbs into the meat so that they stay dry and can be “souffléd”.
The frying takes up a whole lot of effort and skills! To make them golden yellow, the schnitzel is fried in a proportion of lard and clarified butter at a temperature from 160 to 170 °C. The schnitzel must be covered in the fat to ensure it is cooked evenly. Tossed around the pan repeatedly, this is to ensure that the fat does not cool and seep into the schnitzel thus moistening it.
Just by reading and looking on the effort that has been put into the preparation of a cutlet that can be finished within 15 minutes! It is an art from the basic ingredients to the steps of preparation!
In Austria, the Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally served with Kopfsalat, lettuce tossed with a sweetened vinaigrette dressing, optionally with chopped chives or onions, cucumber salad, potato salad and also parsley potatoes. In most parts of the world, the dish is served with french fries, rice or roasted potatoes. To add in a little kick to this traditional dish, a slice of lemon is commonly served together!
What do you need?
- 1 cup of Flour
- 3 teaspoons of Salt
- 2 Eggs (large)
- 1 Tablespoon of Heavy Cream
- 2 cups of Breadcrumbs
- Half a pound of Veal/Calf meat of cows
- Pepper to taste
- 2 cups of Safflower Oil or Lard
- 3 tablespoons of Butter, Unsalted
- Lemon wedges
Additionally, served as sides:
- Balsamic vinegar
Celebrating the National Wiener Schnitzel Day
Since the Wiener Schnitzel is a type of Austrian comfort food, this is why we should celebrate the National Wiener Schnitzel Day at home with home-cooked schnitzels. With just some easy and basic ingredients, you will be able to get them at the nearby grocery and try it out yourself at home!
Follow these simple steps to prepare your very own Wiener Schnitzel:
- Place two plastic wraps on both sides of the veal cutlet and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until about 4mm thick. Dip in sifted flour to coat the cutlet.
- Stir together the eggs, parsley, salt, pepper and heavy cream in a medium-sized bowl. Place bread crumbs on a plate and spread them. Dip each cutlet into the egg mixture, then coat with the bread crumbs. Place the coated cutlets on a plate and refrigerate them for 1 hour or overnight.
- Melt butter and Safflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pan-fry the breaded cutlets until browned on each side, about 2 minutes per side and tossed repeatedly.
- Remove the cutlets to a serving plate. Serve with any sides (salads or carbohydrates). Top up with a lemon wedge.
The Wiener Schnitzel can be compared to the Chicken Fried Steak, Country Fried Steak, Tonkatsu in various countries and even breaded meat cutlets. Hence it does not really matter if you are using premium veal slices or chicken or pork. Choose any side dish that you would like to pair your Wiener Schnitzel.
You can take on a refreshing salad or starch to fill up your tummy. Customise and make this authentic Austrian dish your own! All you need to know while celebrating the National Wiener Schnitzel Day is to celebrate it together with your loved ones in your cosy space!
This 9th of September, celebrate with us the National Wiener Schnitzel Day with your version of a schnitzel! Remember to post up some lovely photos as an everlasting memory with the #WienerSchnitzelDay!
Happy National Wiener Schnitzel Day! Order your Wiener Schnitzel with foodpanda!