So much research goes into creating the concepts behind the fictional dishes in Shokugeki no Souma. For example, the new season opens up with an array of complex molecular gastronomy techniques that most people haven't even tasted let alone tried to recreate at home.
Given that I'm not keen on blowing my entire paycheck on fancy machines to separate tomatoes fiber by fiber, I decided to try and mimic Souma's nori bento. My inspiration? The animation/music producer of Shokugeki no Souma also recreated quite a few dishes to challenge himself, and the results were very impressive.
Episode 1: Bacon Miso Soup
I started off with the miso soup, as it seemed the easiest. I was a little dubious about the combination of miso and bacon since it's basically adding more salt to salt. However, it ended up adding a nice bite to the otherwise mellow soup. This is the kind of dish anyone could easily try at home, which is something I like about Souma's dishes. They're all homey, Japanese comfort foods that are inviting to eat (and attempt to cook). He's basically a mac n cheese chef among the foie gras elitists.
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 2 strips of bacon
- 1 green onion
- 1/3 sheet of dried seaweed (nori)
1. Heat up a small pot of water until it begins to boil, then turn the stove down to low.
2. Add miso paste and stir until dissolved. Be careful not to let the water reach a rolling boil.
3. Chop a green onion into small discs, avoiding the dark green parts of the onion. Add these to the soup.
4. Cut nori into strips and add these as well.
5. Heat an un-greased frying pan to med-high heat. Cut bacon into medium-sized pieces, then add to the pan. Once cooked, dab with a paper towel to remove excess oil, then add to the soup. Serve immediately.
Episode 1: Nori Bento
Next I tried making the nori bento components. The burdock kinpira was by far the most time-consuming part of the bento despite occupying only a small corner of Souma's container. That's what you get for making 10x the amount Souma made, resulting in spending an eternity cutting hard roots into small ribbons. This gives me more appreciation for their rapid-fire knife skills.
Souma says his secret ingredients were mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar, so I made sure to use those. Again, I was a little suspicious about adding mayonnaise, but it turns out you just have to believe sometimes. Believe in Souma! Believe in Mayo! The deep-fried fish cake and cod weren't too troublesome, although I'm sure I got a large percentage of oil all over my face and arm while hovering over the stove. It's was all worth it in the end though.
- 3 burdock roots
- 1/2 a large carrot
- 1 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 1/4 cup bonito dashi (or beef stock)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons mirin
- 4 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon mayo
1. Peel burdock roots and carrots and then cut into small matchsticks (if you have a mandolin, this will help!).
2. Place the cut burdock roots into a bowl of water and let it sit for 5 minutes in order to remove dirt and extra starch.
3. Drain the water then refill the bowl with fresh water, this time adding ~1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Let this sit for 5 more minutes before straining.
4. Make your sauce using bonito dashi, sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Stir well so it isn't grainy. Set this aside for now.
5. In a large frying pan, heat up sesame oil on med-high heat and then add the burdock roots.
6. Cook for around 5 minutes before adding the carrots and sauce from step 4 and stir well.
7. Place a lid over the pan for 2 minutes, and then cook uncovered on med-high heat until the vegetables are cooked but still firm. Once done, drain any extra sauce and place in a bowl.
8. Using a mortar and pestle (or whatever you have to grind stuff up with), grind half of the total sesame seeds into a paste. Add mayo to this to make a thick, clumpy sauce.
9. Mix the mayo-sesame sauce into the burdock kinpira, and then sprinkle the rest of the (whole) sesame seeds on top.
- 4 cod fillets
- oil for frying (I used canola)
- 1 egg
- ~1 cup flour
- ~1 cup panko (Japanese style breadcrumbs)
- dashi (enough to cover the fish)
- ~1 tablespoon Japanese mayo
1. Marinate the cod in cold dashi for a few hours.
2. Remove and then pat dry with paper towel.
3. Dredge cod fillets into flour then egg then panko (follow this holy order of dredging each time!).
4. Place all the coated fish in the fridge for 10 minutes so the coating can harden and adhere to the fish.
5. Heat up a large pan with oil (enough to submerge the fish halfway) on high heat until the oil is hot. If it sizzles when you flick a drop of water in, it's ready.
6. Place the fish in gently, being careful not to splash oil or add too many fish into the pan at once. Cook for ~3 minutes each side until they're golden brown on the outside and white and flaky inside.
7. Place on paper towel to remove excess oil.
8. Top with mayo and chili flakes.
FRIED FISH CAKES
- ~20 fish cakes
- oil for frying (I used canola again)
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup dark beer (or sparkling water)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon nori flakes
1. I bought my fish cakes instead of making them, please don't hate me.
2. Make your batter by mixing together flour, baking powder, beer, an egg, salt, and nori with a sturdy whisk in a bowl.
3. Heat up a large pan of oil (enough to submerge the fishcakes) until hot.
4. Once hot, dredge your fish in corn starch. Then, dip your fish cake into the batter, making sure it's fully covered. Let any excess batter drip back into the bowl. Carefully place the fish cakes into the pan.
5. Cook for ~2 minutes until golden brown.
6. Place on paper towel to remove excess oil.
So there you have it, my attempt at copying one of Souma's winning dishes. I hope to keep doing this as the series progresses, leveling up my cooking skills in the process. Stay hungry, because this is only the first course!
About Overcooled of Metanorn:
A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
She has cooked up a storm of Shokugeki dishes before here and here.