Part 6: Osaka’s Auntie Meets Kyoto Lady
Chapter 27: Let’s Make A New Dish
Naturally, they were very confident about the flavour of their Okonomiyaki. After all, if something doesn’t taste good, it won’t sell well, right?
Now, let us see what this Kyoto young miss thinks.
“Ah, it’s even more delicious than I remembered.”
Oh? Looks like it’s a praise.
“… but, since the taste is so strong, it’s better to eat it once every 10 years, naa. It certainly is a very unforgettable flavour, waa…”
This brat is definitely from Kyoto… thought Haruna grimly.
“Isn’t it great, Haruna. We’ve received a good review!” Natalia had clearly taken this ‘compliment’ at face value.
“No, not at all. That’s sarcasm, ya.” Haruna’s expression hardened. “She’s saying that my Okonomiyaki is over seasoned, that the flavour is too strong…”
The Kyoto people had a habit of talking around the bush and never saying what they really thought.
“Oh no, that’s not what I mean at all. It’s just, the food in the Capital is so very lightly seasoned and gentle, naa. I once visited the countryside a long time ago and found that the food there is kind of similar to this, but, that experience is rather limited since I’ve never really left the Imperial Capital. So, perhaps it is my lack of understanding…”
This Karen brat was clearly looking down on them and was still speaking in that annoying roundabout way.
“What’s the meaning of eating Okonomiyaki without the strong sauce? Even the best ingredients won’t bring out the taste of Okonomiyaki if you don’t use the sauce. Sauce specialists all over Osaka, no all of Japan, might as well quit their jobs, wa.”
“Erm… that is, surely it’s not as serious as that…”
Natalia, of course, knew that her mistress was very close to losing her temper.
“If the sauce is irrelevant, I might as well just start a pancake business instead. I’d have made a fortune selling those instead of Okonomiyaki. So sorry for not studying more before coming to this world!”
“Karen that is a bit too much even for you.” The clan head scolded his daughter. “Miss Haruna, please accept my apologies on behalf of my foolish daughter. Though it isn’t much, please, do stay and have a meal at our estate before leaving.”
At Haruna’s grudging acquiescence, a signal was given, and the next thing they knew, luxuriously made dishes were being brought in one after another. Though the amount of food per plate was small, there was a wide range of food. So much that the plate parade seemed endless. 
There were meat and fish dishes of all kinds, most of them done in fancy French style, like those delicate looking terrines. The fruits, vegetables and pieces of meat were very precisely cut and artfully arrange into birds, mountain scenes and fans. Lunch ended with a series of tiny desserts, mostly delicate little blobs of jellies and mousse. 
“Incredible… so this is how the aristocratic people dined…” Natalia, who had had to scrape by for a living for a long time, was completely dazzled by the ostentatious display of fancy dishes. In truth, only a small handful of nobles could actually afford to eat like this every day.
“I thank you for the feast. However, it is against my nature to receive a favour without returning it.”
Though Haruna was still angry, she was honest enough to admit that the food served to them today was incredibly delicious.
Without an actual enemy she could beat up, it was nearly impossible to get a decisive win.
She still could not accept having her cooking looked down by the noble daughter (Kyoto gal) Karen. Meanwhile, the clan head was in the middle of trying to get Haruna to talk about how she became this legendary knight.
Questions such as: What was contained within the Level 35 dungeon floor; what was it like in there; what kind of monsters were there; what her dungeon shop was like and so forth was asked. Even within the Capital, concrete answers to these questions remained elusive, since very few people who made it to the 35th floor actually lived to tell the tale.
Therefore, the clan head was determined not to miss this opportunity to gain answer from the horse’s mouth.
“Then, the skeletons were all grrraaaahh!!! and, so I bash’em and bash’em, and the enemy went all crrasshhh!!”
As expected, Haruna’s explanation contained a lot of sound effects.
When the talked edged towards the 13th floor dungeon shop [Haru-chan], the clan head’s eyes began to sparkle. The aristocrats of this world were all very interested in dungeon matters.
“The idea of creating a shop within the dungeon for the convenience and assistance of Adventurers is certainly novel and wonderful! You may count on the Yakomai Family to support your project!”
It would appeared that the clan head had total and complete trust in Haruna. His reaction was the complete opposite of his daughter.
As they chatted together, Haruna carefully tasted each dish.
Though it was nothing at all like Japanese food, it was all very lightly seasoned. The emphasis was on one or two star ingredients, while the light seasonings and milder tasting ingredients acted as support.
So, that was it. The dishes here were generally made with ingredients and seasoning under the principle of Kyoto’s cooking style.
It looked like Haruna had found a possible winning strategy against this tough opponent. After all, Haruna herself had some idea what it was that Kyoto-ites found to be ‘delicious’.
When the final dessert arrived, a sugar-covered cake of some kind, Haruna made her move. “Young lady, would you like to give my cooking another try?” She smirked provocatively, “Though it’s also a floured dish, that’s where its similarity to Okonomiyaki ends. Ah, but if you’re full, you don’t have to force yourself, naa.”
“Since it’s something other than Okonomiyaki, can you actually pull it off, ya?”
“It’s all the same to me, I can make all kinds of dishes. Ah, but it’s all country dishes of course. I’m warning you now so you won’t be too shock later, wa.”
“Very well, you have my permission.” her tone was rather snide.
Haruna’s smirk widened. I shall make you ashamed of yourself, she thought gleefully. Aloud, she said, “I’ll do my absolute best to satisfy you, na!”
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Haruna and Natalia returned to the kitchen.
“Will you really be able to do it?” Natalia was clearly anxious. She was sure that there was absolutely no way for them to win. “From that young miss’ attitude, no matter what you make or how delicious it is, she will definitely say it’s horrible.”
“Well, Natalia, that’s Kyoto people for you. They all tended to be like that.” However, since they were both transmigrators from Japan, Haruna still kind of wanted to get along with Karen, snooty though she was.
“On the other hand, if she’s really from Kyoto, all we have to do is snatch hold of her tongue and victory will be in sight, ya.” Haruna once more took out the prepared ingredients and looked through them. They had gotten a whole chicken earlier and had used the choicest cuts for their Okonomiyaki already.
Haruna studied the remaining ingredients with a careful eye, before decisively picking out the chicken carcass, now stripped of its meat.
“Wait, this thing, isn’t it inedible?”
“Oh, we’re not going to eat it just like that, relax, ya.”
Next, she gathered up cabbages, garlic, onions, and several different kinds of herbs.
Since the ingredients were all kept on magic ice conjured by Natalia, they were all as fresh as could be.
“You, why do you treat cooking as though you’re fighting a battle?”
“It’s fine if all we want to make is a good Okonomiyaki, na. But it takes research and lots of testing to make a great Okonomiyaki, ya.”
She started a strong fine under a large claypot and placed the chicken bones in it. When it started to sizzle, she added water, the white part of the leek stems and other plant bits and set everything to a roiling boil.
“Kyoto people tend to forget that there are other ways of cooking aside from low heating and careful seasoning. After this, let’s fire up the dish with a super hot magic fire to bring out maximum umami. Well, this is just one part of the dish, na. Let’s go and prepare the noodles now.”
“This thing we’re making. It’s soup, right?”
“That’s right, I’m still trying to decide if I should add pork bones into it. Hmm, let’s just go with the chicken carcass first. Get the noodles out next, I should also lightly scald the noodles in hot oil first .”
The freshly rolled out noodles were fried to a tan yellow colour by Haruna.
“I tested out this recipe at Old Saxon town earlier, na.”
“It looks completely different from udon or soba.”
“Un, the recipe has not been completed yet, so, I’m a little worried about it.”
Next, she added some water into a bowl of flour and began mixing it into a dough ball. Then, she left the dough in a clean bowl covered with a damp cloth.
After that was the filling. First, pork was quickly minced up and set aside. A small head of cabbage was finely chopped and excess liquid squeezed out. A small handful of garlic was finely minced and set aside.  In a large bowl, Haruna placed the pork, garlic and cabbage in along with various herbs, salt, pepper and some chopped spring onions. Haruna used her bare hands to mix and squeeze everything until pork mixture acquired a smooth texture, almost like a dough.
It was now time to make the dumpling skins. The rested dough was rolled out into a tube about the width of a 100 yen coin, then cut into 1cm lengths. Each piece of dough was flattened out into a circle. Haruna placed a tablespoon of the filling into the middle of the circle and expertly folded them into gyoza shapes.
“It’s a different kind of floured dish!” Exclaimed Natalia. Sure enough, her mistress had just whipped out another mysterious dish.
“I’m making Ramen with Gyoza!”
[Gumihou: Aahhh, I want ramen! I made gyoza from scratch the other day, wish I could say it was yummy…]
 Scalding noodles in hot oil – This is how the original instant noodle is first made. Fried in hot oil until golden and holding its own shape, but when hot soup is added, will soften but still maintain its texture. By lightly frying the noodles, it will absorb flavours better and hold its shape well when boiled.
Deep frying, also preserve the noodles for easy transport. Momofuko Ando-san was the one who first invented instant noodle. This man was also the one who created the Styrofoam cup for cup ramen. In fact, instant ramen and the Styrofoam cup are in the top 10 useful items invented in Japan!
Come visit the Cup Noodle Museum at Osaka!
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