The thing I appreciate with Shokugeki no Soma is its recipes. It is nice to have a cooking manga wherein you can bring the creations back to life. More than that, I love how cheap and easy most of the recipes are.
As this shokugeki will tell you, “You don’t need expensive ingredients to have a nice meal.”
So what about the dish itself?
According to the manga, Chaliapin steak was invented in 1936 for an opera singer Fyodor Ivanovich Chaliapin when he visited Japan. At that time, he was suffering from a toothache and said, “I want to eat a tender steak.” This dish was to devised to answer his request.
So goes the legend.
But, how does it stack up to reality?
Sirloin comes close to the cow’s rump so it is made of muscle. Thus, to have a quality sirloin it is best to tenderize it. In the anime recipe, this happens by batting the meat and covering it with onions. Onions contain an enzyme that breaks down meat, softening it. ( This isn’t exclusive to onions, like Soma said pineapple and honey should also do it.).
So anime factoid checks out; it is possible to make cheap meat delicious with some preparation.
Now next question, does it equal up to A5 meat?
As the anime pointed out, Ikumi made a mistake in picking the dish. For most of the Donburi I’ve tasted, the flavor comes from the sauce and seasoning as much as the main topping. This works since the main topping is usually at the top making the delicious sauce drip down the rice and penetrate it.
On the other hand, I’ve found the higher quality the meat the better to not over season. Seasoning too much overpowers the delicious “meat” flavor that you are paying a premium for. If you want to show meat quality, Donburi is not the dish to use. Ikumi would be better served using steak dish or yakiniku (if it must be a Japanese style dish).
That said, I know character-wise that donburi was chosen because they are fighting for the life of Don RS. Ikumi is showing the Don RS uselessness by beating them at their own game.
- Donburi is a common Japanese Food.
At this point, Erina is still on her only gourmet foods are worthy Asami-kick. She’s slowly eliminating research clubs that don’t fit her criteria. The Don RS is one of those clubs. “Donburi” simply do not make the cut for Erina’s worthy food.
While for foreigners Donburi is a novel foreign food; to the Japanese, its the Japanese equivalent of fast food. As a food cuisine, it has an equal weight as an American would think of a hamburger.
Donburi is the food that the Japanese eat every day and I don’t blame them. After all, what’s there not to like? Donburi is fast and cheap to make which is useful in Japan’s fast-paced workdays.
Heck, Donburi is so popular in Japan that there are several food franchises dedicated to it alone. To tell you how popular it is. while visiting I saw a Japanese news reporting the increase of Donburi price on several of the most popular restaurant franchise. This only happens to consumer staples in other countries like the price of gas.
- The Shokugeki shows that Soma is hated by the student body.
Due to Soma’s declaration at the entrance ceremony (using everyone in Totsuki as stepping stone) the regular students don’t like him. Usually, shokugeki like this doesn’t get a big audience. It is implied that the big turn-out was because they wanted to see Soma lose.
Man, Soma really shouldn’t have said that.
Then again, he probably won’t be Soma then. (Meta-wise an excellent way to show that the protagonist is the underdog. )
For those who want to try. This recipe came from volume 2 special supplement and would serve 2 people.
- 2 sirloin steaks
- 1 1/2 onions
- 2 bowls of rice
- 1 tablespoon of pickled plum paste (umeboshi)
- Salt, Pepper, Potato starch for seasoning
- Chopped green onions
- 4 tablespoon red wine
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon butter
- Mince the onion into tiny pieces. Trim the steak and tenderize. Cover the meat with chopped onions. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, remove onions and sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and saute the onions from (1). Flavor with salt and pepper, then move to a plate.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and cook the steak. Brown both side of the steak. (Remove the steak from the skillet)
- Make the sauce by adding red wine to the skillet, mixing with the meat juice from (3). Once reduced add onion from 2 and saute. Add soy sauce down edge of skillet. Thicken with potato starch.
- Mix pickled plum paste with rice and place into two bowls. Place the steak from (3) and the sauce from (4). on top. Garnish with chopped green onion.
Links to people who have tried making this recipe:
Yukihira style Chaliapin Steak Don by Immanuelbear – good video showing you how to make this recipe. (Though, I think there is a mistake. Immanuelbear forgot to add 1 tablespoon of butter to steak in step 3. Still a good video guide.)
Chaliapin Steak by Riz – A variation of the anime recipe without rice but more vegetables.
Chaliapin Steak by Cookingwithdog – another variation, this time substituting rice with potatoes.