[NW] Who is the Strongest Appraiser Volume 2 Chapter 1 - The entree is yam tatsuta age.
[TN: I have changed Glacier’s name to Claes, so it makes more sense for him to have the nickname Clay.]
Kugimiya Yuri, hobbies: household chores. One day on his way home from school, he was suddenly transported to another world and came under the care of the rookie training clan, Scarlet Lynx. He began his life in another world with the clan leader, Ari, as his guardian.
What was that Yuri up to nowadays, you ask? Well… He was currently busy with dinner duty at the base. Homesick? Is that tasty? Such was Yuri’s outlook on his situation as he happily lived his life as a house husband at the base.
Urgus grimaced at Yuri’s words. Actually, he seemed more disappointed. Ignoring his unfortunate reaction, Yuri nodded firmly. In his hands was a big bowl of yams sliced into wheels soaking in some kind of liquid.
“The entree for today is this yam.”
“What do you mean, the entree is yam… Is there no meat or fish left?”
“I thought it’d be good to not have meat every once in a while. I actually received a lot of yams, so I have to process them, or they’ll mold.”
Urgus looked at the mountain of yam in the bowl. Although he didn’t hate yams, it wasn’t filling for a young growing man in his teens like him. He simply felt it was impossible for him to finish his rice without any meat or fish as a side.
Today’s carb was rice because there was some left over. Yuri typically made decisions like a cheap mother, so his rule was to make good food without wasting any ingredients. He would prioritize ingredients that were nearing their expiration date or about to go bad. In fact, not wasting food was higher on his priority list than making nutritionally balanced meals.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be able to finish your rice even if it’s yam.”
“Today, I’m making yam tatsuta age.”
Leaving Urgus still nonplussed, Yuri got to work. He quickly moved the yam soaked in mysterious liquid to another bowl and dried the yam off. The liquid was tatsuta age marinade, and consisted of soy sauce, sake, and ginger juice. Yuri also added some dashi and even salt and pepper to the mix, but that was more of his own twist to it.
The yam had been marinated since the morning, so it had completely turned a soy sauce brown compared to its usual white. Urgus stared at the yam in confusion but obediently helped Yuri out.
“Could you prepare the oil?”
Urgus turned on the stove under a slightly deeper frying pan with oil inside. He glanced at Yuri and watched as the boy quickly moved all the yam out of the marinade. Yuri then lightly flipped the yams into another bowl full of katakuriko (potato starch). While he waited for the oil to heat up, he covered the yams in katakuriko and lightly shook off any extra starch. Urgus came over to help and they continued to cover the yams in katakuriko.
Once the oil heated up, Yuri slid a piece of yam from the side of the frying pan into the oil for a test run. He had to make sure the temperature of the oil was right, and he wanted to let Urgus try one.
To Yuri, although yam was typically a side dish, yam tatsuta age was as delicious as meat or fish when it was paired with rice. After all, whenever he made it at home, his family would eat even more rice than usual. He was sure it would be the same in this world.
“There, it’s done. Try it!”
Yuri plated the fried yam on a plate and cut it in half with a crunch. He put half in his mouth and offered the other half to Urgus, who popped it in his mouth only to widen his eyes in surprise. He was probably imagining potato chips but with yam.
However, yam tatsuta age is a completely different beast. Compared to potato chips, which praises and heightens the flavor of potato, tasuta age emphasizes the flavor of the marinade. The flavor of the soy sauce based marinade is soaked up by the yam and given depth by the light frying. It was absolutely delicious.
“...What? Is this really yam?”
“Yeah. Isn’t it yummy when made into tatsuta age?”
Although he looked like a bully on the outside, Urgus was actually a goody two shoes brought up in a nice family. He admitted he jumped to conclusions that vegetables couldn’t make an entree and apologized. Yuri wasn’t trying to get him to apologize though, so they continued to fry the yam.
Soon, the starving novices wandered into the kitchen, attracted by the delicious smell of fried yam, and they received yam tatsuta age that had less pretty shapes. They wolfed it down and even slammed their hands on the tables demanding for more. Urgus subdued them by yelling, “Shut up or there won’t be any left for dinner!”
… Their puppy eyes proved too much for Yuri, who gave them lightly fried bread sticks lightly coated with sugar. Clan Mom spoiled the novices as always.
Dinner time came, and Yuri smiled happily as he watched everyone eat good food with gusto. By the way, while the guys had a mountain of yam tatsuta age in front of them, the girls had a slightly different dish. Lelei happily ate tatsuta age with the guys as she loved fried food, but for girls and people like Jake who preferred something lighter, Yuri had prepared yam tatsuta yaki.
Yam tatsuta yaki is made with the same marinated yam, but instead of covering it with katakuriko, the yam is simply dried and grilled on a frying pan. There is no starch on the outside to absorb extra oil, and simple grilling makes it a much lighter burden on the stomach. The flavor drives as much as punch as the yam tatsuta age, though, so it also goes well with rice.
“Yuri, did you make this grilled dish especially for us?”
“Huh? Nah, I wouldn’t be able to eat as much either if it were all fried.”
Tiffana asked, to which Yuri replied in confusion. While he did like yam tatsuta age, he would get sick of it very quickly from all the oil. Yuri sipped at his mushroom and onion soup, peacefully thinking that the vegetables and mushrooms today were tasty as well.
At first, everyone was worrying about what to do with the giant mountain of yams. However, Yuri wasn’t fazed by it, since yams could be used in a variety of ways. Everyone seemed to believe that yams were only eaten as a side dish, though, so he made a bunch of yam tatsuta age today. Well, he was also kind of craving it, too. That was always how Yuri decided what to cook—what ingredients were in the fridge, and what food he craved.
“Magu, you bastard! You’ve hogged all the yams this whole time!”
“Yeah, Magu! Eat your veggies and your rice!”
“No, my ass!!!”
Magu had camped himself in front of the plate of yam tatsuta age and ate only that. He really wasn’t the type to hog food, but it was common to see him do so when there was a dish he liked. He stayed put and continued to eat in quiet protest even while Urgus and Claes tried to pry him off the plate. It was a mystery where Magu got such enormous strength. Perhaps it was adrenaline.
Yuri’s meals were generally set up so that everyone would have individual portions of rice (in today’s case), entrees, and soup. Once they finished their portion and they still felt hungry, they would get a large serving of one of the entrees. Rice and soup were provided in buffet style.
In other words, Magu was effectively getting seconds and thirds for the yam tatsuta age. He finished his individual portion that Yuri set aside, so technically he could have however many seconds he wanted. Seconds and thirds were also buffet style, as there was no way for Yuri to tell how much each novice could eat.
Despite all this, Yuri couldn’t help but tilt his head at the scene in front of him, not understanding why Magu was so adamant on devouring the whole plate of yam tatsuta age. Yuri had no idea what part of the dish had captured Magu’s stomach.
“Yuri, was there dashi in the marinade?”
“...Yes, but only a little.”
“That’s… probably why?”
“Really? Wow… I didn’t use enough for it to show through the flavor though… Magu’s scary…”
Jake analyzed, true to his scholar occupation. Yuri was taken aback by his deduction and sighed exasperatedly. It’s true that he added a bit of dashi to the yam tatsuta age to bring out the flavor more. Meat and fish have ample flavor when making tatsuta age, but Yuri felt that yam might now have enough, hence the extra pinch of dashi. It was okay to do so since everyone said it was tasty.
However, Yuri didn’t want to believe that Magu was so hungry that he detected the pinch of dashi. Yuri was really tempted to ask Magu how he knew.
“Magu’s taste buds seem sharper by the day.”
“Frau, I think he’s already past that into another dimension…”
“I can taste the ginger, but I don’t detect the dashi at all…”
“Don’t worry about it, Frau. I’m the one who added the dashi, and I can’t taste the dashi in the recipe at all.”
Frau muttered as she tried some of the yam tatsuta yaki, to which Yuri replied as he shook his hands in front of him. A pinch of dashi so small that even the chef himself can’t detect it, and Magu, who was hogging the plate of yam tatuta age because of it. How he found out was so mysterious that everyone began to think that Magu obtained some weird skill to detect the dashi flavor.
“Well, it’s very good so I wouldn’t blame him for wanting more.”
“To the point of only eating yam tatsuta age, though?”
“Yeah, nobody else can have any more because Magu is eating it all. They look ready to kill someone…”
Jake answered good naturedly, to which Frau and Tiffana could only say and look elsewhere. There was no way a fight would break out in the dining hall, where everyone came together to eat. Rather, whenever a fight was about to happen, without skipping a beat…
“You ruffians, can’t someone eat in peace here? I’ll kick all of you out if you don’t quiet down!”
Ari would yell, and the novices would freeze and calm down. Even so, Magu refused to budge from his seat, even hugging the plate of yam tatsuta age closer to him as if to protect it.
This must be so troublesome for Ari, thought Yuri as he continued to eat. The people at the same table as him did the same. Ari should have been enjoying his food and drink with Brooke in the corner, far away from the commotion. That even he stepped in showed just how loud the adventurers had been. Clan Dad really had his work cut out for him today.
Not only that, but no one helped him as he guided the novices with an iron fist. They would have helped if the novices’ lives were in danger, but they were simply being loud and boisterous in the dining hall. It was a silent rule among the adventurers.
The novices fell in love with the tatsuta age and demanded “let’s have it with meat next!” Yuri decided to make meat tatsuta age at a later date.