Chapter 30: Pagoda Meat!
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The pagoda meat originated from Shanghai.
The taste and texture were similar to that of [Pickled Vegetables with Pork Belly], but its look was completely different.
After successfully making the pagoda meat, it should look like a golden multi-layered pagoda. This could only be achieved by relying on the chefs superb culinary skills.
Xu Le directly entered the system space and used his remaining Gourmet points to exchange for several recipes from the System Shop.
Not only this [Pagoda Meat], but also the vegetable, main and dessert dishes…
Before the second segment of the cooking contest, all the chefs would have an hour to prepare.
Xu Le used this one hour of preparation time to practice in the system space for half a month, memorizing all the cooking methods.
An hour later.
The second stage of the culinary competition officially began.
Every chef was assigned to a makeshift kitchen and their cooking was recorded on the camera the whole time.
This culinary contest was broadcasted live on three platforms: Hu Ya, Dou Yu, and Bilibili.
Perhaps it was because Xu Le was participating in this years competition, so the popularity of the broadcast was extremely high and the number of people watching had exceeded 8 million!
The netizens wanted to see what position Xu Le, who was known as the Little Master Chef, would achieve in this culinary competition.
Xu Le looked at a square piece of pork belly in front of him. It was about 20 centimeters in length and width, and 4 centimeters in thickness.
This was the fresh black pork that was slaughtered that morning. The meat quality was very good, sturdy and elastic, and the size was just right for making pagoda meat.
Due to the fact that the preparation for this dish was too time consuming, Xu Le had only practiced this dish dozens of times during the 15 days in the system space.
He took out the familiar alcohol spray gun and aimed it at the pork belly skin, burning it black.
Then, he placed the entire piece of pork belly in a large basin of clear water and cleaned it with a steel wire ball.
After all the black parts were removed, the skin of the meat was slightly yellow, and it was already emitting the fragrance of the lard.
Xu Les aim in this step was to get rid of the stench in the flesh.
He took out a large bowl and added aniseed, cinnamon, onions, ginger slices, and a few spoonfuls of red rice flour.
The seasoning that had been prepared was placed on the cleaned pork belly. He also added a suitable amount of yellow wine to remove the smell.
After the water boiled, the foam was removed.
After boiling the pork for 15 minutes, he only needed to cook the pork belly to a slightly cooked state.
After 15 minutes, Xu Le picked up a large pair of tongs and fished the meat out of the pot.
This pair of tongs was about half a meter long.
It was almost as tall as Xu Le.
The scene of Xu Le, an eight-year-old child, struggling in front of the stove looked rather comical.
However, Xu Le did not care about anything other than cooking.
From the moment he put on the chefs uniform and started cooking, he had already been completely focused on it, enjoying the pleasure that cooking itself brought him.
The purpose of applying a layer of salt on the meat skin was to prevent the oil from splurting out when the pork was fried.
The pig skin now had a bright red color.
This color came from the red rice flour that Xu Le had added into the pot previously.
He started the fire to boil the oil. When the oil temperature was about 60% heated, Xu Le placed the entire piece of pork belly in the pot and started frying it.
The meat skin become more chewy and elastic after being fried, and it was less likely to become overcooked.
He took out the pork belly from the pot and looked at the time.
20 minutes had passed.
Xu Les lips curled into a smile. He suddenly understood why the meat dish for this cooking competition was this pagoda meat.
The craftsmanship of making pagoda meat was difficult and it tested the chefs cutting skills and cooking skills.
However, the most troublesome thing was not the cutting skills but the amount of time it took!
This dish was too time-consuming.
In the usual process of making pagoda meat, the pork belly that had been fried on the skin should be frozen in the refrigerator for six hours. Only after it was completely frozen, could it be cut into the shape of a pagoda.
But they were in the middle of a competition. Of course, they wouldnt have six hours to freeze the meat.
They had at most… only two hours.
Xu Le glanced at the clock beside him.
The pork belly that had been frozen for two hours had not been completely frozen yet, so the difficulty of cutting it would naturally increase exponentially.
This was the test set by the competition team!
By making use of the lack of time, they increased the difficulty of making the dishes.
After thinking carefully, Xu Le realized that this was not the only test the competition team had set for them.
The choice of vegetable dish was also a very time-consuming one.
The dessert was even more unreasonable. After the [Osmanthus Sweet Wine] was made, it required 24 to 48 hours of fermentation time before it could be consumed.
Therefore, he needed to find another dessert to replace the [Osmanthus Sweet Wine].
Furthermore, all these dishes were so time-consuming.
Of course, it was impossible for him to finish cooking one dish and then make the next. That would also cause him to have insufficient time.
If he wanted to finish all the dishes that day, he would have to start all the dishes at the same time.
Making multiple dishes at the same time was a test of the chefs skills.
If ones basic skills and ability to control the situation was not up to standard, a small mistake could very likely cause all the dishes to fail.
Xu Le took a deep breath and glanced at the other chefs.
These chefs also fell into deep thought as if they had also discovered this serious problem.
Xu Le focused his attention on the stove in front of him. This culinary competition was a big test for him.
Even in the system space, he made one dish after another.
He had never cooked three or even four dishes at once.
Xu Le placed the pan-fried pork belly on a large plate. He pressed it down with something heavy and placed it in the freezer to freeze it.
According to Xu Les estimates, the pork belly needed to be frozen for two and a half hours, which was 150 minutes.
During this time, he needed to prepare the next vegetable dish [Boiled Cabbage].
This dish sounded very easy, as if it was only boiling cabbages.
However, it was fundamentally different.
The difficulty of making this [Boiled Cabbage] was in no way less than the previous [Pagoda Meat]. In fact, it was even more difficult!
It was said that a hundred years ago, the people of the world belittled Sichuan Cuisine as “spicy and vulgar”. Therefore, in a fit of anger, a famous Sichuan Cuisine chef Huang Jinglin created this [Boiled Cabbage] in the imperial kitchen of Qing Palace and it even earned recognition from Empress Dowager Cixi.
This dish could be said to be of the best quality. It could simplify the extreme complexity of dishes, and clear the 100 years of grievances accumulated by Sichuan Cuisine.
Later on, it was even selected to be among the recipe for the palace banquet.
It was a mix of extreme complexity and simplicity…
It was imaginable how difficult the dish was!