You know that feeling when you’re watching an anime and the characters eat something, and it just looks soooo good? For me, it was the cream stew that Brock made in the original "Pokemon" series. It just looked so hearty and creamy…I craved it for years.
Since anime foods somehow have the mysterious power to make our mouths water despite not being real, many attempts have been made to recreate them in real life. Ghibli movies are one of the biggest inspirations, which is no surprise because everything in Hayao Miyazaki’s movies is designed purposefully to move you, even the food. So after our Japanese-language reporter K Masami rewatched "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" recently, she just had to recreate the delicious-looking food that appears in it.
While the egg on toast that Sheeta and Pazu eat while on the run is probably the most iconic meal of the movie for Japanese fans, what Masami really ended up craving was the meatball stew that Pazu buys for dinner after working late, shortly before he meets Sheeta. What would that stew taste like if it really existed? Masami used her imagination and her expert cooking skills to come up with a recipe that would suit it.
First, Masami thought about what ingredients would go into the stew. In the movie, Pazu asks for two meatballs in his bowl, which means you can choose how many meatballs you want. If you look closely in the scene, you can see meatballs on the counter where the man working at the shop serves customers, so we can guess that the meatballs aren’t cooked in the stew, and that they go in at the end.
The color of the meatballs is also pretty dark, almost black. The stew itself looks pretty red, but not so red that it’s tomato-based. Since Pazu had been working overtime, Masami guessed that he would want to eat something hearty and filling that would replenish his energy. Feeling in the zone, Masami got into the mindset of the stew chef in the movie and created the following recipe.
- However much ground meat you want (whatever kind of meat you like)
- However much panko or bread crumbs you need
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 onion
- 1 can of demi-glace sauce
- As much red wine as you want
- 1 bouillon cube
- As many mushrooms as you like
- As many carrots as you like
- As much tomato paste or ketchup as you like
- 1 clove of garlic
Step 1: Finely chop the onion.
Step 2: In a bowl, mix together the onion, the ground meat, the bread crumbs, and the beaten egg with your hands. If it seems too soft, add some more bread crumbs.
Step 3: Mix it thoroughly. Once it becomes sticky, roll the mixture into balls. Pro-tip: putting oil on your hands makes it easier to roll the meatballs without them sticking to your hands.
Step 4: Heat up a good amount of oil in a pan. Fry the meatballs when the oil is hot.
Step 5: Once they are nice and brown and start to char a little, remove them from the pan to a plate.
Step 6: Pour the demiglace sauce into a pot and heat it up. Just before it begins to boil, add the red wine, water, and bouillon cube. Adjust the wine and the water to taste. You can also add a little bit of ketchup if you like.
Step 7: When the mixture begins to boil, add the mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and whatever other ingredients you’d like.
Step 8: Once the ingredients are thoroughly cooked, sprinkle with pepper.
Step 9: Serve! Ladle stew into bowls, then add your desired number of meatballs and enjoy.
This stew has a rich, hearty flavor in order to combat the exhaustion of working overtime. Masami used ground chicken for the meatballs, which paired well with the rich demi-glace broth, since chicken is a leaner meat. She also sauteed them in oil, but you can use any kind of ground meat and bake or lightly fry them as you like.
She also cut the carrots into thick chunks, which made the meal very substantial and quite satisfying. It was hard not to take big bites out of this stew! Plus, she remembered that the shop that sold the stew also sold baguettes, so she tried dipping some bread in it. That made it even more delicious.
Of course, Masami can’t know the true recipe for the stew, but this one is pretty good whether or not it’s an exact math for Pazu’s post-work meal, and it’s perfect for keeping up your stamina for the cold winter months, so give it a try to see how you like it.
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