Crunchyroll #102: Duck Yakisoba from “Food Wars! Third Plate”

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NENE vs SOBA vs SOMA! A battle to end all Shokugeki! Going in, we all knew what the outcome had to be- of COURSE Nene would win, she’s a master at this stuff! Right? WRONG. Soma did the impossible- beating out a Soba champ at her own game with a revolutionary and mind blowing dish- the Duck YakiSOBA!

HAH! What a concept. Well, I’m here to tell you that Soma is not the only person to have had this idea. In fact, I, your beautiful, charming, intelligent, and humble food blogger have mused the possibilities of this dish long before I saw them in an anime. I mean, it’s in the title. Yakisoba. You’d think that just meant fried soba noodles, right? Well, no.

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Crunchyroll #101: Curry from “Golden Kamuy”

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The minute I saw this curry, I knew I had to make it. I’ve never done a recipe from any earlier than the 1950s,  so I was looking forward to the experience of making something from a looong time ago (I mean, relatively). Apparently, the earliest Japanese curry recipe was published in a 1872 cookbook about Western cuisine, in which there were two curry recipes: one for beef and one for chicken. At first glance, it actually doesn’t seem much different from modern curry recipes, but I’ve never actually made a Japanese curry from scratch, as the curry roux blocks arer pretty ubiquitous.


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Crunchyroll #99: Meat Bun from “Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi”

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Portable meat snacks are probably one of my favorite things to lust over… in a purely food sense, of course. Maybe it’s the secret wanderer in me, but food you can easily pack up and take on an journey has always really appealed to my sense of adventure and excitement. I mean, cut me some slack – I read a lot of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques when I was younger, and those stories were overflowing with descriptions of delectable camp food, among other things. And seriously… meat buns! You can eat them on the go, with your hands, and still have a tasty and exciting meal! That kind of stuff just makes me happy.


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Crunchyroll #98: Hamburger Steak from “Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family”

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Hamburger steak had become a classic Japanese dish despite being introuced to their cuisine only a short time ago. Nonetheless, it’s one of those basic recipes that appears in anime all the time, and every Japanese kid seems to know how to make. Shirou, from Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family makes this hamburger steak to serve to Kiritsugu in an attempt to make him proud. AWWWWWWW.

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Crunchyroll #97: Double Berry Crepe from “Comic Girls”

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Crepes hold a magic place in my heart, because in my family they were always a fancy breakfast food. Once a week, my mom would go all out and make us a great weekend breakfast. Bacon, sausage, fruit – you name it, we had it. And the star? Her famous tiger-stripe crepes. I can still see and smell the pat of butter sizzling in the pan, and the first ladle of batter swirling around the pan. The first crepe was always a trash crepe – too small, a little burned – but the rest would always come out with golden brown butter stripes in perfectly thin discs. They were the star of the table, and I would happily down them.


So, when Kaos from Comic Girls got excited about her first crepe, I could totally relate. If you haven’t seen this show, it has been an absolute treasure of anime this past season. It manages to be about cute girls doing cute things, but in a way that’s somehow refreshing and new, as it follows a main character who is trying to become a manga artist. There’s something endearing about the fact that the main character is good at almost nothing she tries to do, or, at least, that’s what she thinks. She is flabbergasted by simple things, and cowed by even the most basic tasks of her trade, yet we can’t help but love little Kaos-chan. One of her moments of awe is her first chance at eating crepes. Specifically, this double berry crepe.


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Crunchyroll #90: Bamboo Shoot Gratin from “Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family”

Shirou from Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family, of Fate/Stay Night fame, is quite the cook. I’ve remarked on this before, but I think it’s pretty awesome. In the Fate/Stay anime, he’s so cool and battle-ready! It’s fun to see him in the kitchen cooking up something delicious, and this week he coincidentally gives us the PERFECT dish to make for your mom this Mother’s Day- Bamboo Gratin, a creamy, cheesy, pasta and bamboo dish.

This recipe is simple, delicious, yet elegant at the same time. If you’re stuck on what to do for Mother’s Day, I’d really recommend this. It’s like a Japanese- inspired version of mac n’ cheese, using some truly Japanese ingredients to produce a unique baked pasta dish that still has that familar, home-cooked comfort to it. And, if you want to do something with her, why don’t you show her the anime as well? You can bond together over non-violent, pure-hearted cooking tutorials.

In terms of home-cooking, this spinoff is absolutely the winner. The meals are easy to make, don’t take an obscene amount of time, and the ingredients themselves aren’t too hard to come by. Even the bamboo shoots, which this dish utilizes, I was able to find canned in my local Japanese supermarket. What I love about this spinoff is the treatment of the food. Where a show like Food Wars is hardcore when it comes to making food and appreciating the food, Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family is much more considerate, more caring to the process. It’s relaxing, which Food Wars totally isn’t, and it’s also more instructional and functional in terms of teaching us how to cook. Shirou explains everything so clearly and concisely, it’s more about the process of putting together delicious food, rather than the fantastic ingredients or amazing technique.

The idea behind this particular dish is great, too. It’s a bamboo gratin. Until this point, I’d only ever heard of potato gratins, which are sliced potatoes bathed in cream and butter and topped off with cheese. I mean, sounds good, right?? As it turns out, pretty much anything can be a gratin as long as it’s topped with cheese and breadcrumbs. Theoretically, you could have a gratin grilled cheese, or gratin steak, or gratin soup. Oooooh….what if you made a gratin tomato soup? That would be fun. HOWEVER this dish is comprised of chicken, onion, macaroni pasta, and, of course, bamboo shoots. Which…if you’re familiar with traditional mac and cheese, which has bread crumbs on the top…is SORT OF similar to this bamboo gratin. Hence, Japanese inspired mac and cheese!!!

My friends, it’s not just the Japanese mac and cheese in name- the sauce base is a creamy roux, made with a Japanese cream stew mix, similar to a cheese based roux in American mac and cheese. The addition of the onion, asparagus, and the chicken bulks it up and makes it into a full-blown meal, and the toppings- cheese and bread crumbs- take it to the next level, upping the textures of the overall dish to make it multi-faceted.

Is this dish worth trying? Undeniably. Make it for a large group of friends (The below recipe would feed 4 EXTREMELY hungry people, or 6 with maybe a side of salad), or just make it to share with your mom (and give her tasty leftovers for the week ahead!). Whatever you choose to do, watch the video below to get more pointers on how exactly to make this dish!

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Crunchyroll #87: Sakura’s Bento from “Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card Arc”

If you’ve been watching Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Arc or even the original series for any amount of time, you’ll recognize that Sakura and Syaoran are the IT couple of anime in 2018. They were able to confess their love to one another in the first series, but in the new arc we are finally able to see them come together and go through a romantic relationship together. It’s like everyone’s CCS fanfiction dreams come true, except better because it’s all 100% canon.

Sadly, Sakura is always busy capturing Clear Cards, and Syaoran seems to always be dealing with the stress of living alone and sorting out his own magical abilities. They hardly have time to be together and be a couple! So when they got to visit the aquarium together again, I, as a humble viewer, was very excited for what was basically their first date since Syaoran moved back. Finally, we could have a moment to ooh and awww over their adorable middle-school love.

And THEN a Clear Card showed up and there went all their lovely plans to look at various fish together. Even worse, Sakura had made a delightful bento for them to share.

If you’re unfamiliar, bento boxes are essentially Japanese lunch boxes so “making a bento” typically means making a packed lunch. In Japan, bentos can get quite creative- and competative. When I was living in Japan, my host mom used to compete with other mothers to see who could make the more adorable bentos for their children. I received a Doraemon, a Totoro, and a very cute penguin in a few different bentos. I felt very lucky to have such a creative host mother.

Sakura’s bento, by all appearances, was going to be very delicious. According to her, she’d been practicing tamagoyaki and chicken karaage, both of which feature in this bento. They are accompanied by some fried sausages, rice, and what looks to be a medly of cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls (even though the later ingredient isn’t exactly common in Japan. I really wasn’t sure what else it could be.). If it’s one thing I’ve come to learn through anime, it’s that Japanese schoolgirls tend to want to impress their crushes with their fantastic home cooking, so this bento box fromo Sakura is truly a triumph.

Or, was a triumph.

The bento got ruined by a Clear Card, so they weren’t able to eat it. I found this to be a particular kind of food tragedy, so decided to recreate it for you here, so that we could realize Sakura’s dream even if she couldn’t eat it herself.

It was a good opportunity to try these easy bento foods out. The challenge here is really taking the time to make it all. You can definitely make some of this food in advance, because putting it all together the day of would be quite a challenge. The tamagoyaki does require some special equiptment, but was surprisingly easy to get the hang of. The egg roll I make below is actually my first try. The only thing I would change would be to use a light soy sauce for the eggs, as the dark soy sauce I used altered the flavor a bit. Chicken karaage is also easy, as long as you’re not afraid of deep frying things. The oil can be intimidating, but once you get the hang of it goes along pretty easily. Overall, I was surprised at how simple each individual component was! Here is a template for the little flags in the food if you want to make it totally authentic.

A final note- this makes a lot of food, so definitely gather some friends together to try this out- consider taking it for a picnic in the park, especially as the weather is beginning to change (at least in California)! I really hope you can try this out! Watch the video below to get more pointers on how exactly to make this bento!

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