Despite my left-wing history teacher training and mindset, I have absolutely no issue with cultural appropriation when it comes to food. I love eating at diverse restaurants, and when that’s not an option, travelling around the world without leaving my kitchen. Authentic is best, but I’m also open to a creative mish-mash of cultures. I’m$ not above using authentic recipes and substituting for what I can find or what I have on hand.
I also am quite confident that if I had to choose just one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, I’d be fighting tooth and nail to ensure that all Asian national foods were able to be lumped together as “Asian cuisine”, with an appalling disregard for cultural sensitivity. I simply can’t decide which I love the best (as long as it’s not nasty deep fried Chinese takeaway. Even I have standards).
Luckily, the men in my life are also partial to a variety of Asian foods. (Miss 5 is less enthusiastic about some dishes, but my MO for that little issue is to ignore it and cook it anyway). As such, Master 8 was delighted when I came home from grocery shopping with all the ingredients for sushi for lunch. It’s safe to say with some assistance, the kids made lunch today. About time 🙂
Miss 5 wouldn’t eat it, she’s never liked sushi (how could someone who is a mix of Spunky Tech Guy and my DNA not like sushi?!), so she had a fried egg and cheddar sandwich, the old-faithful of this house.
Doesn’t mean she didn’t have fun making it… she just reminded us intermittently that sushi is gross!
It comes as no great shock to anyone who has met our little family that we’re a group of nerds. Over the past 14 years, Spunky Tech Guy has led me further and further down the rabbit hole of fandom and together we’re successfully raising our kids to appreciate traditional and graphic novels, comics, video games, super hero multiverses, and quality television from around the globe.
Even I was surprised that our love of anime would infiltrate into my savory cooking repertoire. Yet here we are. Tonight’s meal was 100% inspired (stolen) from the second episode of Food Wars, an anime about chefs in an exclusive cooking school, whose only response to each others’ dishes seem to be revulsion or vivid foodgasm (it’s not one for the kids).
This dish, transformation rice, is what awards our hero Soma-kun a place in the cut-throat school. It is a seemingly simple rice and chicken meal, with a burst of umami deliciousness from the melting of a meat broth jelly that is made from the most divine stock I have ever made, over the rice and chicken. It’s time consuming, but not in the slightest bit difficult. And it’s fun!
I don’t think the credits had finished rolling when my phone went off that night. It was STG, who was sitting right beside me, sending a link:
Crafty bugger had found a website that details all the major dishes in the anime. And the look on his face was reminiscent of a puppy who heard the word chicken. Sigh. So because he is pretty spunky, and the dish did look phenomenal, I felt no alternative was possible but to adapt the recipe and make it my own:
–2tbs of sesame oil
– 12 chicken wings
– 500ml good quality fish stock
-2tsp minced ginger
-3tbs brown sugar
-75ml soy sauce.
-100ml vodka (the original recipe calls for sake, but I’m cheap and already had vodka)
-2 teaspoons powdered gelatine.
-1.5 cups white rice.
-4 green onions.
1. Fry the wings in sesame oil, in 2 batches, for 10 minutes per batch until golden brown.
2. Bring the stock and water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken, leaving any juices and burnt bits in the frypan. Turn heat down to low.
3. Add the soy sauce, vodka, ginger, and brown sugar to the frypan, and cook on low to thicken and deglaze the pan. Pour into the stock.
4. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Scoop off any scum, and set the chicken aside.
5. Add gelatine to 100ml water, and stir thoroughly. Add to stock.
6. Grease a large, deep dish (such as a roasting dish) with butter, and pour in the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
7. Meanwhile, pull all of the chicken off the bone, and set aside in fridge until needed. The chicken is freaking delicious, I’ll be serving it as a stand alone recipe in the future. Try not to eat it while deboning.
8. Cook the rice using the absorption method. In the last few minutes, add the chicken to warm.
9. Cut the aspic jelly into 2cm cubes. No bigger, or the melting effect will be lost.
10. Scramble the eggs. Don’t dry them out!
11. Place rice into individual bowls. Top with egg and green onions.
12. While everything is piping hot, top with aspic. Watch it melt. Try not to cry tears of joy.