Little Cooking Saint – 0092 – Radish & Pork Bone Soup (h)

Little Cooking Saint – 0092 – Radish & Pork Bone Soup (h)

Chapter 82 Radish & Pork Bone Soup (h)

Translated by Gumihou

Edited by Gumihou

 

Of course, it’s not like she was going to just throw everything into the pot and hope for the best. Shiyu first used her Blue Spirit fire to burn the impurities out of the herbs. Also, instead of sticking all the herbs into one bowl to do it, she placed each different type of herb into individual bowls and pass her fire through them. Once all the impurities had been burned out, only pure shimmering liquids that exuded a gentle fragrance were left in the bowls.

Shiyu studied the bowls of different liquid and tasted each one. Some were sweet, some had no flavour, some were sour and some spicy. The sweet liquid herbs could be used to add sweetness while the spicy and sour tasting herbs would be useful to balance the flavours of whatever dishes. Bland ones could just be added whenever.

That afternoon, Shiyu made quite a lot of dishes.

After slicing some green stem lettuces, she rubbed them with salt and set them outside to dry under the sun. Once the lettuce slices have wilted, they would have softened up and taken on a chewier texture. The dried lettuce stems could then be sliced into sticks and deep-fried into something similar to alcohol snacks.

The next dish featured eggs. [1] There were lots of eggs around, so Shiyu cracked a few into a bowl, added a little salt and water and beat it rapidly with her chopsticks before setting the mixture into a steamer to make a simple savoury steamed egg pudding. She placed the bowl into the steamer with the rice. By the time the rice was done, the egg pudding would be done too. 

With so many growing children in the family, meat was essential for their diet. Luckily, there was plenty of meat and fish within her space ring. With practised skill, she quickly fried up a Squirrel Fish. With the pork, she decided to use up the separate lean and fatty bits. [1] Rather than having a substandard dish that was either too dry or too fatty, the plan was to mince up the lean and fatty meat and turn them into fragrant meatballs.

[2] First, she minced up the meat by cutting them into slices about a centimetre thick. The slices were then turned centimetre thick strips that were then roughly chopped into cubes. The cubes were quickly and easily minced up with rapid, repetitive chopping motions. Next, she added salt and pepper, as well as other spices and one egg as a binder for the meatball mixture. The spices were rapidly stirred into the meat with a pair of chopsticks turning in one direction. Shiyu has no idea why the one direction rule, but it was what her teachers taught her and what her seniors had always insisted. Somehow, she ended up following this rule too.

Once the meat could hold its shape [2] she rolled them out into long meat rolls. Then, with a wooden spoon, she scooped off bite-sized pieces of the meat roll and dropped them quickly into the hot oil. This was a quick and dirty way of making meatballs without having to shape each ball with her hands. This trick was something she picked up from a steamboats restaurant [3]. Of course, the meatballs were not perfectly circular, but the slightly uneven fried bits were part of the meatball’s charm. To make sure it was cooked well, she used the double frying method. Once all the meatball were fried and plated, she removed most of the frying oil before stirring in some more aromatics, soy sauce and a little chopped chilli to make a simple sauce which she then drizzled over the still-hot meatballs.

That’s three dishes done. Considering Grandpa’s weakened disposition, it would probably be best to give him some liquid food. Therefore she turned her attention onto the most important dish of the day. The soup.

From her space, she took out some spare ribs and chopped them into inch long pieces and blanched them in hot water to get rid of the blood and scum. After cleaning the ribs, she arranged them in a claypot along with some ginger slices. Then, she mixed up the various liquid medicines into a bowl, taking care to make sure that she has a bit of everything and that the flavours would complement ginger and pork. Then she set the claypot of soup with the liquid medicine and spare ribs on a stove to stew. As a final touch, she added just a little more plain water until the water level covered the spare ribs.

As the soup was stewing, Shiyu found herself at a loss. [4] Perhaps she should have made the soup first and set it stewing while she made other things… with nothing better to do she headed out to the small vegetable garden, maybe she could find something there that would make a suitable fifth dish…

Once she left the kitchen, a chubby figure slipped in like a thief.

The smell of meat enticed him first. Scuttling over the plate of meatballs he plunged his hand in, unbothered by the heat, and fished out a meatball triumphantly. While gnawing on the meatball, he spotted the Squirrel Fish and snatched off a fried quill from it. Oooh, how luxurious, a large meatball in one hand and a fried fish quill in the other!

While squirming with delight at the largess at his feet, his nose was hooked by an unusual scent. Stuffing both handfuls into his mouth, he began following his nose to look for the source of the smell.

San Pang sniffed around the table, hopped to the ground and eventually traced the fragrance to a cheerfully bubbling claypot. He leapt onto the stove and approached the clattering lid. White steam puffed from under the lid, carrying with it an enticing scent of meat and medicine.

San Pang carefully leaned over to ease the lid off the bubbling pot. Milky white soup tumbled within the pot and steam rushed to his face. From time to time a piece of pork rib will bob to the surface before sinking back into this witch’s brew.

Heart trembling with desire, his hand itched to reach out and grab one of the bobbing pieces of ribs. However, before he could reconcile thought with desire, he suddenly found himself lifted up to the air. Squealing, he twisted around to see who had caught him. The malevolent eyes of the Fat Cat narrowed at him.

Scary!

Fat Cat lifted his paw, in a movement too fast for the radish eye to follow, slashed San Pang across the arm. A pale golden liquid oozed up from the wound and dropped into the claypot. Almost immediately, the wound on San Pang’s arm sealed itself shut.

Only then did San Pang finally reacted. He screamed like a stuck pig, “AAahhhhh—”

Fat Cat tossed the Radish Demon aside and flicked his ears disdainfully. “Scream louder. Let all of Qing Shan City know that there’s a Radish Spirit within our midst. After all, who doesn’t know that the essence of a Radish Spirit could extend one’s life and health? I say, what do you think would happen?”

San Pang clamped his hands over his mouth to hold his screams in. “It’s not easy for me to Cultivate, ah. I lose one point of Cultivation through the loss of one drop of blood. Shiyu’s grandfather will heal as long as she did according to what you say, why take my blood?”

“Do you know just how long it takes for him to completely recover? How much time do you think Shiyu has?”

“Didn’t she have two months vacation? Surely that’s enough?”

“She could only stay here for a month, at most,” said Fat Cat.

“What? But why?”

But Fat Cat did not answer.

Shiyu happened to walk in just then. When she saw the open lid, she guessed what must have happened and realized that San Pang must have been on one of his food-stealing sprees again.

“You, ah. Can’t you at least wait until the food is done before eating it?” Shiyu poked San Pang on the head. “Don’t you worry, you little glutton. Your portion is there. Grandpa probably can’t take much beyond a few sips or half a bowl of soup, so you all can have the rest. However, if you open the lid before the soup is done, it will affect the taste.”

San Pang bit his hand and muttered, “Oh,”

In fact, he really wanted to say that this precious soup that will heal her grandfather contained a drop of his blood. But he was also afraid that she will drag him over and bleed him now and then for his essence…

While he was struggling over fear and the need to brag, Shiyu gave the soup a cautious sniff. “Hmm, the scent seems a bit wrong, ah. The fragrance of medicine seems stronger somehow…” she dipped a pair of chopsticks into the soup and licked them. Then, she cast suspicious eyes at San Pang and Fat Cat.

“Alright, just what is going on?” she knew exactly what she had put into the soup. There was no precious medicine in it. Don’t try and tell her that a combination of mediocre medicine will result in precious medicine. That is just impossible.

As Shiyu stared at them, San Pang caved and said, “While I was stealing food, I- I accidentally cut my finger and a drop of blood fell in…” he dared not implicate Fat Cat, but quickly added, “L-look, my Cultivation doesn’t rise easily and losing a drop of blood meant losing a whole Cultivation point. Don’t you think you should make it up to me…”

Shiyu looked at his shrinking appearance and touched his little head. Then, she summoned an Immortal Jade Petal Lotus to her hand, “Will this make up for your pains?”

San Pang had been with her for a long time now. Though the little guy has a potty mouth on him and liked to bully those who could not retaliate, he had also helped her in a lot of ways. [5] Cloud Beast, for example, became her Spirit Beast companion thanks to him. Nor had he been stingy with his advice when she asked for it. The only thing he had been reluctant to divulged was his own personal history, which was perfectly understandable. Several times, he had wanted to set out of his own to further his Cultivation, but fear of being eaten held him back. If she doesn’t help him, who will?

San Pang had not expected her to produce a whole Immortal Lotus flower right before him. At best, he had expected a petal or two, but now… he quickly leapt forward and snatched the flower out of Shiyu’s hand, afraid that she would change her mind.

However, as soon as the flower was out of her hand, Shiyu went back to her cooking. Showing more interest in the vegetables she had collected from the garden than the precious treasure she had just casually handed to him. For a long while, San Pang sat in his corner, gnawing on a petal as he stared at this incomprehensible person with dazed eyes.

The last dish for the day was a simple stir-fried garden vegetable. A final sprinkle of sugar at the end of the frying process added a touch of sweetness to the dish. As a restaurant cook, Shiyu was more liberal with her use of salt, fat and sugar than home cooks, so her dishes tended to taste better too. Once the vegetables were plated, it was time for lunch.

“Lunch is ready!”

At her yell, the children who had been entertaining Wen Xian in Grandpa’s room thundered out. They all helped to carry the dishes from the kitchen to Grandpa’s room.

 

[Gumihou: Aww, San Pang finally got his Immortal Lotus]

 

[1] Added Information for Texture: Rather than just plain information delivery, added some details to make it seemed more delicious and complete.

[2] Since she’s making meatballs, Gumihou might as well give you the Chinese manual way of making mincemeat. The techniques mentioned here assumes that Shiyu uses a regular knife or has absolute control over Supreme Indifferent, which is said to be able to ‘cut through steel like tofu’. Yeah, good luck handling that knife on a regular chopping board.

[3] Actually, it’s from Gumihou’s experience eating steamboats, lol. Here’s a link

https://www.penangfoodforthought.com/2016/03/hou-mei-wo-steamboat.html

[4] Time management, Shiyu, no wonder you’re not head chef.

[5] Cloud Beast info: Shiyuuuu have you forgotten this? Nevermind, Gumihou help remind youuuu

 

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