The time seemed to pass very quickly as they read books related to alchemy, and it was midday before they knew it.
“Jin, Reinhart, let us have lunch together.”
So said the Empress as she came in.
“Do not expect too much from it, though.”
The food that was actually served was simple but of good quality. Simple yet, hearty, you might say.
However, what was most surprising to Jin, was a dish that looked like rice porridge. Except that it was dark.
“…What is this?”
Jin asked, and the cook who was nearby explained it to him.
“It is a porridge made from nogi seeds. I was told that you have a great interest in them.”
Ahh, I knew it. Jin thought. He had talked about this with the butler the other day, so that’s where he must have heard it.
He decided to start with the porridge first. Jin tasted a bite and realized the difference in texture. It was not very thick.
It was clearly a type of rice. It wasn’t particularly long in shape. It was a kind of rice that Jin was very familiar with.
“How is it? I heard that you were interested, and so I tried my hand at cooking some…”
As Jin ate it, he thought of the ways to eat foreign rice. He recalled reading a certain cooking manga once, that was about a newspaper reporter who was rebelling against his father.
“Did you perhaps change the water once when boiling it?”
The manga had suggested this method for cooking foreign rice.
“Yes, that is right. It would become very sticky and drippy if you do not do it.”
Hearing this, Jin decided to ask about the history of eating nogi.
“When did people start eating nogi?”
“Let me see, it was discovered nearly 100 years ago. But I think it wasn’t until the past 20 years that people began to eat it. It was originally used as feed for livestock. Someone must have tried eating it, and so it became food…”
Apparently, horses who ate it would grow much faster, and so it was grown in the western region of the Shouro empire. Someone then tried to eat the grains, which lead to it being used as food for people as well.
And so people would eat the grains, and the horses would eat the rest. They were grown and separated like this starting from around 20 years ago. The cook explained.
In Japan, rice plants were harvested for rice, and so pesticides were used. So of course, they were hardly ever used as food for livestock. But Jin’s curiosity was really directed more to the nogi.
“Do you think it will be possible for me to see this nogi later on? Also, if you would allow me to cook some…”
Jin said this, and the cook then looked to the Empress with a slightly troubled face. But the Empress nodded with an expression of deep interest, and so the cook was forced to agree.
Reinhart was already aware that Jin had once made a delicious dish out of topopo(potatoes), which had not been widely eaten before, and so he had high expectations.
Translations by AsianHobbyist Website
“This is nogi.”
“…I knew it.”
What he was shown was brown rice. Jin had been told by the director, that brown rice was difficult to cook. And so he knew that they would have to start with turning it into white rice.
And so he considered how the rice could be polished.
Usually, this would be done by grinding the grains of brown rice against each other so that the surface skin, or bran, can be removed. But if you did this too quickly, the friction would cause the heat to rise, which would affect the taste.
“I guess I’ll go with the orthodox method then…”
And so, even if the taste might suffer a little, he wanted to reach the quality of a retail rice mill. He took this job more seriously than usual, after all, the rice depended on it.
“Basically, we just need to grind the grains against each other…”
In other words, we just needed to mix them in a bowl together. It would be great if I could also keep the temperature from rising at the same time.
Jin had them prepare a medium-sized barrel and filled it up halfway with nogi before placing the lid back on.
“Reiko, please shake this barrel.
And here it was Reiko’s turn.
Everyone that was watching…the cook and his subordinates saw Reiko, who looked like any girl, pick up the 20 kilograms barrel as if it were not heavy at all. They were shocked.
“Okay, do it. … ‘Cooling.’”
As Reiko shook the barrel, Jin used craft magic to keep the temperature down.
They stopped after approximately five minutes and looked inside. The nogi inside had gone from brown rice to looking very close to white rice.
“Alright, just five more minutes.”
They shook and cooled like before. With this, they got something that was practically white rice.
“Oh? Jin, what is it?”
Translations by AsianHobbyist Website
“We called it white rice back where I come from. It’s much easier to cook like this… ‘Separate(Kurasshi)’”
So saying, Jin separated the rice from the bran.
“This powder is rice bran. This can also be used for something, so do not throw it away.”
He would use it for pickling.
“Now, this here is white rice. Let’s try cooking it.”
Jin had the cook help him wash the rice.