The episode starts off with Shirou and Saber buying Imagawayaki, a waffle like pancake filled with azuki beans. Nothing special here, just an introduction to more Japanese food.
Shirou then explains about New Year, but like Saber naturally we are only interested in the food. Mr. “People die when they are killed” does a pretty good job of explaining the basics already, so we don’t really need more introductions here.
Shiro opts to grab for the Shinshuu Soba (信州そば), a type of soba produced in the Nagano prefecture. Why he chooses this we can’t really know, but note that his other options include: Mountain Yam Soba, Cha Soba, Soba of higher buckwheat content, Tororo Soba. Shinshuu Soba is also regulated to contain about 50% buckwheat flour (higher percentage is more expensive). All in all a well rounded choice.
With Shirou’s culinary skills, I would have thought better of him than to use pre-grated Parmesan Cheese. Heathen! I can see Soy Sauce in the fridge. A respectable decision, but not entirely necessary. Other than having 2 bottles of Soy Sauce, he also apparently keeps one bottle of Sashimi Soy Sauce. We shall see if that is a waste of precious refrigerator space. Of note that the Soy Sauce is Marudaizu Soy Sauce, which are made using whole soybeans and a more traditional method, said to have a milder, deeper, mellow and complex flavor. Also a bit more expensive than the regular Koikuchi Soy Sauce commonly used.
Other than that, very organised fridge. Also has pre-chopped ingredients and no clutter. A fantastic ice box.
Yet again another bottle of Soy Sauce. That’s FOUR bottles now!! Normally I would be concerned at a family’s sodium levels for requiring 4 bottles of soy in stock, but thankfully in this case they exercise a lot and thus lose a lot more sodium compared to most people, so sodium levels shouldn’t be a concern.
I generally don’t have a problem with the steps for making Kaeshi and the Soba broth.
Note that sugar in the Kaeshi is up to taste; you can put more sugar, you can put less. Also if you have stove space, there isn’t really a need to prepare the Kaeshi in advance.
The other option is to make the Dashi and then dump the other ingredients for the Kaeshi in. I assume Shirou is reserving some of the Kaeshi or had used some of it in another recipe, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to prepare it befoerhand.
Shirou uses the claw on his left hand here perfectly. On his right he is using the handle grip, which offers less control compared to the more usual blade grip. But eh, to each his own.
Take note the change from claw grip for his left hand. As far as possible you should use the claw grip so you don’t accidentally cut your fingers, but I guess maybe this kamaboko is more slippery than usual.
Shirou skipped explaining that you should make a few slits under the shrimp so you can actually straighten them.
Shirou also skipped a step in explaining “remove the liquid” here. You want to flatten the tail and then move the tail a bit to remove the water in the tail. This prevents splattering in the oil later (oil and water don’t mix).
No problems with the batter, and no problems with the frying as well.
He should have really used a paper towel. Paper towels draws excess oil from fried food about 4 times as much as just resting on a metal rack.
I feel like Shirou definitely cheated and time skipped here a little bit. If he had boiled the water earlier then everything could have been timed more perfectly. That’s about 5 to 8 minutes PLUS whatever time it takes to boil the water.
That’s a fuck lot of water for washing soba, but I’m not judging. It’s your water bills.
Eating Ebi also has the symbol of longevity for “living so long that your back starts to bend“. Don’t ask me why then they straighten the shrimp…
Score: Fantastic home-cook.
All in all, Shirou has respectable kitchen organization skills, seen from his fridge and clean kitchen. From his selection of a more expensive Soy Sauce, we can also tell that Shirou takes his Washoku very seriously.
He should really start using real Parmegianno Regianno, unless he just couldn’t find it anywhere. Using excessive water for washing soba and not draining fried food properly are all in all relatively easy to fix, and doesn’t take away too much from his culinary skills.
Other Useful Resources
- Toshikoshi Soba Recipe
- Mentsuyu Recipe
- How to Prepare Shrimp for Ebi-fry
- Shrimp Tempura Recipe
- Soba on Wiki(Japanese)