• Food 03.08.2009

    Sometimes, being an Otaku means easing on a few expenses so you can divert funds towards your hobby.  And sometimes those diversions of funds come from your food budget… which can be bad for a few reasons.

    One, you’re more likely to fill up on the dollar menu or some other fast food alternative- the least healthiest of choices.  Two, fast food isn’t really that cheap, so you’ll actually spend more money.  Three, learning how to make simple meals yourself is an important life skill that any Otaku should know.  Let’s face it, we’re a long way from having a persocom cook our meals.

    Let’s start with something basic… the noodle bowl, something anyone could make in about 15-20 minutes.  For this meal I actually purchased enough ingredients to make 4 bowls.  Let’s start with the noodle pack.  I picked something cheap, really cheap.  A pack of five noodles for $3.69.

    Individual price of a noodle pack comes to about $0.74.

    Some calorie information on the back. Not sure how accurate this info is.

    Now, I’ve also purchased a bag of fish-cakes for $2.99.  That works out to $0.75 a piece. We’ll only be using one stick.  Now, you may be wondering what the frigs a fish-cake?  Well, you know the concept of hot dogs?  They’re kinda like that, but in fish form.

    I’ve also purchased fish balls.  Now, you could get beef balls if you wanted to, it’s really up to individual taste. I purchased these for $2.69 and we’ll be using only 1/4th of the contents. That works out to about $0.67 a serving. Again, if you’re wondering what’s a fish ball, same concept as fish cakes.

    I also purchased a bunch of spinach for $1.49. Again, we’ll only be using about 1/4th of the spinach at the tune of $0.37 a serving.

    So all told, our initial layout of costs will be $10.86, and our individual serving cost will be about $2.72.

    Step 1

    Take out one of the fish-cakes and place it into a pot and cut it into sections approximately to the sizes shown below.

    Step 2
    Add fish balls and slice them in half. The idea is to have similar sized objects to cook as they should have the same cooking time.  As a rule, different sized objects will have different cooking times.

    Step 3
    Add water and place the pot on a range and turn the heat to maximum.  How much water? Just enough so you can easily submerge the noodles in later. Keep in mind that some of the water will evaporate, so don’t be shy about adding a bit more than what you think you’ll need.

    Step 4
    Ok, now let’s turn our attention to the spinach.  I’m using spinach because I like it, but you can choose some other leafy greens.  If you want to include something like mixed vegetables, you can easily get a jumbo bag of them at your grocer, but heat them up separately in a pan, and add at the very end.  But back to the spinach.  We need to clean them.  Spinach is usually pretty dirty, so let’s rinse them under some cold water. You can see all the dirt and sand we’ll have to sift away.

    Step 5
    Once the spinach is clean, we need to separate them from each other.  They tend to clump up during cooking, so we want to reduce this by breaking them apart.

    Step 6
    By now, the pot should be boiling.  Do pay attention to it, because the moment it starts to boil you want to turn the temperature down to medium.

    Step 7
    Once you see the fish cakes and fish balls rise to the surface of the pot, it means they’re cooked.  You’ll notice I don’t really talk about time in these instructions.  It’s mostly because I cook by observing.  When things are done they’ll let you know- in this instance, by floating to the top.  So once they’re done cooking, it’s time to add the spinach.

    You’ll want to push the spinach into the water and make sure it’s submerged.  It doesn’t take long to cook spinach. It’ll start to get very wilty, and the color will darken and intensify.  Once that happens you’re done with the spinach.

    Step 8
    Time to add the noodles!  Go ahead and put the noodles in the pot and make sure they’re submerged.  It shouldn’t take long to cook the noodles. Once they start to break apart and become individual strands, you’re done.  You DO NOT want to overcook the noodles.  Nothing ruins a noodle bowl like soggy noodles.

    Step 9
    You’re done, turn off the heat!  Ok, at this point you can eat them out of the pot, though take it off the burner and let it cool a bit, or you can transfer the contents into a bowl to impress your roomies.


    Now, this may seem like a lot of effort for a bowl of noodles, but there are some other things you may want to consider.  This bowl is going to be a bit healthier for you than any fast food alternative.  If you want something even more authentic, you can replace my cheapo noodles with some Udon noodles and put a fried egg on top.  The Japanese put fried egg on everything, don’t ask me why.  Also, you’ll be more active in making the meal, getting the ingredients for the meal, cleaning up after the meal.  Calorie burners people, calorie burners.  And in the end, you really will appreciate the meal more because you made it yourself.  Anyone, and I mean anyone can critique food, but how many can actually make food? You can, and you should.

    I’ll be adding some other cheapo Otaku eats and reviews in the future.

    Posted by Otakukon @ 5:43 pm

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kurou: i was in awe when i saw these pics. such exelent focus! i was the guy with the face mask [...]

Otakukon: Argh, stayed up too late watching some K-On, again.

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Otakukon: Registered for Zenkaikon! I'll be there both Saturday and Sunday. Should be a great con!

Gaijin Otaku: Fish balls. Yummy.

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