Chapter 62 – Roasted Pork Skin (a)
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Gumihou
For the rest of the time, Shiyu did not practice her special menu cooking skills. She even applied for a leave of absence with her instructor to do something else. During the day, she would wander the streets and alleys of the Capital, sampling various delicacies and stall food. At night, she would set up her own stall next to the noodle stall uncle to sell her wares.
The noodle stall uncle was very happy to see her. The last time this little girl was here, his business was so good that he splurged some money on an excellent bottle of wine and indulged himself very slowly, only one cup a day. Maybe two on a very good day. Who would have thought that this little goddess of wealth would actually return before he saw the bottom of that bottle?
After greeting the old man, Shiyu put up her stall. She set out all the various cooking tools and ingredients she had collected over the past few days. She had not prowled across the streets and alleys of the Imperial Capital just for the fun of it. Though it really was fun, her intention was to properly investigate the snacks and ‘small eats’ of this time and space.
As the centre of political power, culture and economy, the Imperial Capital inevitably became a melting pot of cuisines from all over the world. While some of the food had been adapted to local tastes, one could still see a sample of their cooking style.
What she had found out was that, although there were many different kinds of little snacks and dim sum, most of them were of the steamed variety. There was very little fried food. Moreover, the majority of the featured rice flour as the main ingredient and were fairly simple in terms of looks and taste.
Since she had promised Ling Xiaoxiao aka Little Miss Chilli Peppers, that she would prepare something special for her birthday, Shiyu had taken up the project seriously. For a modern person, when it comes to birthdays, one must have either longevity noodles or a birthday cake, depending on your generation and how deep your pockets are. Well, it was unlikely that anyone would make a cake in this day and age.
The menu decided, Shiyu planned to spend a few days practising the art of birthday cake making. Let’s reach the pinnacle of our skill and present the best looking cake for our new best friend.
Why choose a western dessert over Chinese sweets? Both Eastern and Western sweets have their own charms, but where Chinese snacks were often miniaturised versions of main dishes such as mini buns or mini rolls, Western snacks draw a firm line between main dishes and desserts.  Moreover, Western desserts were more aesthetically pleasing. Even in the modern world people tended to prefer Western desserts when they have the money for it. For some reason, Chinese snacks were seen as cheap snacks. Regardless, Shiyu still prefers a hearty Chinese snack like Spicy Gluten Sticks  over a cake, which could arguably be delicious once in a while.
 So, let’s go for the special occasion Western dessert.
Cakes were usually baked, so Shiyu set out to find an oven. However, the closest thing to an oven this era has were the ones used for roasting ducks. In the end, she decided to make a steamed sponge instead. 
Though she’s a chef, Shiyu did not have too many cake recipes memorized. In the end, she opted for the simplest recipe.
First, she split the whites and yolks of six eggs. Then, she beat the egg whites vigorously with a pair of chopsticks, periodically adding sugar and corn starch until the mixture became smooth and creamy. Once the egg whites had formed peaks, she turned her attention to the egg yolks. She beat the yolks lightly before adding flour and corn oil until the mixture was smooth before folding the egg white mixture in.
Shiyu mixed everything evenly before pouring the cake mixture into a round metal container and set it inside a steamer . When this was done, Shiyu rubbed her wrist. Her hand was really sore after beating the eggs, ah. About a quarter of an hour later she took out the cake.
Well, the cake had definitely risen and was light and spongy. The taste was not bad either, but what’s with the unsightly cracks on top?
In the past transmigrations novels she read, all the transmigrated women were practically omnipotent. How is it that she could not even master a cake?  How could it be that she, a professional chef of all things, turned out to be so useless after coming into this world?
Meanwhile, San Pang finally could not hold himself back anymore and dug his hand into the cake, grabbing handfuls of the hot fluffy still in its tin and stuffing them into his mouth. “Huff, hot! Yum!” 
Shiyu shooed him away, and tipped out the cake when it had cooled down enough. The noodle uncle had been watching their antics with interest, so she invited him to try the cake too. The old man took one bite and praised, “This is a very good snack, very soft and tender.”
Shiyu smiled and continued making more cakes. Thank goodness for Spiritual Powers, otherwise, she had a feeling that her wrist would probably fall off.  No matter how delicious something was, no one, not even San Pang or the noodle stall guy could eat them endlessly. In the end, Shiyu cut up the cakes, placed them on a tray with the note that says [One Coin Each], and placed a money bowl next to it. Self-service everyone.
This new snack soon attracted the attention of passersby, since it was so cheap, people just dropped their copper coins into the bowl and grabbed one. More than a few would return, drop more coins and then quickly grabbed the cakes as though they were looting up the place. When the last of the cake was gone from the tray, a line began to build up from the stall.
Since she had experience dealing with long lines and limited supplies before, Shiyu merely placed another note limiting the purchase and got  San Pang to give out numbers to the customers. Each customer could wait at the noodle stall area where there were chairs and tables had been prepared. The uncle prepared noodles as usual and the hungry customers ordered a few bowls of noodles while waiting for their turn. It was a win-win situation for everyone and the uncle made another killing again today.
This went on for the next few days as Shiyu gave herself a temporary break from all the knife work training and focused on making cakes instead. It was still something like a vacation since it was all non-Cultivation stuff.
Soon, practice makes perfect and the cake began to look more like it came out of a professional bakery than a beginner’s kitchen. It no longer peeled or cracked easily, but it was still rather plain looking for proper celebratory food. The next thing she should do was practice her piping and creaming method… 
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com ~
One night, Shiyu suddenly woke up.
For a moment, she stared at the ceiling. Then, she leapt out of bed, groping about for her shoes.
For the past few days, she had been making and eating nothing but cake, cake, cake with the occasional cream and fruits.  For some reason, she could not stand the sweet taste in her mouth anymore, she wanted something salty! Salty, oily and crunchy! No more soft and sweet things for her!
She had a sudden craving for Roasted Pork Skin!
Yes, pork skin. Not pork, but pork skin! Slow roasted until crispy golden and flaky, and smeared with chilli oil, onions and garlic. She wanted Spicy Pork Skin with Grilled Chicken Wings and a beer. How gorgeous it would be to enjoy these snacks overlooking a majestic river in the middle of the night and feeling the cool breeze blowing against her cheeks, ah?
“I must have it!” she licked her lips. Shiyu could almost taste the salty spicy sauce on her tongue and feel the crackling crunch under her teeth already.
After throwing her clothes on, she raced downstairs. The moon was already shining down outside. There was no river in their private garden, but there was a nice tranquil pond there. That was good enough. Shiyu proceeded to take out her tools and ingredients from her space ring. She set the fire going first, she wants the charcoal nice and ember-like, not a roaring fire. There were not many ingredients left in her ring, but she has the standard fish and pork kept on ice.
The pork skin was not something that most people would eat. Some find the attached fat disgusting, others object against the few hairs that were overlooked by cooks. In fact, most pork fat and skin were just simply thrown away.
Which was a pity since pork skin is rich in collagen and could be quite delicious and chewy. When done properly, it could even be more delicious than lean meat. Shiyu took off a section of pork skin about the size of a large book and began cleaning the hairs of it.  There are three ways to clean off pork hairs. The first was to use a pair of tweezers and carefully pluck each individual hair off. The second was to use razors. If Shiyu had been in the modern world, she would have used a set of razors and just shave all the hair off. However, if one lacks both razor and tweezers, fire was the way to go. Shiyu passed the pork skin over the fire quickly, allowing it to blackened parts of the skin before plunging it into a basin of cold water where she scrubbed it vigorously to get rid of all burnt hair and char.
To make sure the skin cooks evenly, Shiyu trimmed off excess fat and salted the skin generously before setting it aside. Next, she threw the fat trimmings into the wok and rendered the oil out before tossing in sliced chilli, onions and scallions to make chilli pork oil . When the oil became fragrant, she poured the chilli oil into a bowl and scraped the lardons, ginger and scallions into a different bowl. A little sprinkle of salt over the lardons and that was another snack. Her mouth watered and she couldn’t resist throwing one into her mouth.
 Hot, hot! Mm, salty and crunchy and sinfully yummy~
Now let’s grill the skin. She placed the skin on the fire and allow it to sit over a low fire as the fat and moisture were slowly rendered out.  The secret to crunchy skin was to make sure that most of the liquid was gone before using high heat to blister the skin. The salt earlier not only helped to flavour the skin, but also to force moisture out of the protein. Shiyu flipped the skin over and over a couple of times and stabbed it with a fork to make holes on the skin. This will help the oil from the pork fat to get into the skin and help with the blistering. She also brushed some chilli oil over the skin, since most of the fat had been trimmed off, the flavoured oil will help make it extra crunchy and spicy.
The spicy oil hissed and spat as it hit the flames, causing spurts of spicy fragrance to travel across the garden. The skin was nicely blistered now. As a final touch, Shiyu sprinkled some cumin powder over the bright, golden-red skin and pulled it out of the fire.
[Gumihou: … I actually have some pork skin in the freezer. We sometimes ask our butcher at the wet market to give us some free stuff, and they’d sometimes give us skin, fat or liver…]
 Lack of Clarification: I’m not entirely sure what Shiyu is talking about here. Chinese vs Western sweets are different (ok), Chinese snacks are more like mini food (ok), Western snacks are more like snacks (wut?). Therefore, she will choose a middle-ground and make a cake. (Wait, wut?). Shiyu likes Spicy Gluten Sticks better (Seriously, wut?!)
In conclusion, the midpoint wins. (wwuuuuuuutttt????)
Patch! Patch Patch!
 Spicy Gluten Sticks – like meat sticks or jerky but made of dried tofu or flour
 Cake dilemma – I’d be more sympathetic to Shiyu’s problem if she did not actually made a Whipped Cream Cake Arc back at Chapter 12. Lady, how did you make that cake back then?
 Deleted Fussy, Unnecessary Information: …batter is placed inside a small pot that is one size smaller than a bigger pot with hot water, on top of metal strainer etc, whatever, it’s a bloody steamer. Just put the batter in a steamer.
 Structural & Detail Change: For a more active phrase than “This cake is delicious!” He said vaguely while eating, not afraid of being hot.
 Added More Details: Re Shiyu’s wrist and her spiritual powers, because this is still a xuanhuan story.
 Added More Detail: Because I just got to put San Pang to work
 Added More Details for Dramatic Purpose: I actually woken up in the middle of the night wanting to cook, so I know. I abused a lot of ‘!’ here, because middle of the night cravings made no sense.
 Additional Knowledge: from Gumihou on how to clean pork skin.
 Uncertain Facts: She made chilli oil with oil (not sure what kind), scallion, ginger and… Spicy Gluten Sticks (?)… Why?
Gumihou decides to make lardons instead, Shiyu actually, you know, made them before? Back at Chapter 6? Since, it’s another thing she made before just like the Cream Cake?
Also, here’s a link of many different ways of making pork cracklings and lard and why it’s healthy fat
 Gumihou is giving everyone her secret to crispy pork skin. Gumihou can actually make crispy pork, you know?
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