Adorable Food Goddess - Chapter 7
Chapter 7: Found A Treasure
Translator: YTJS_ Editor: Perriemix
Xia Chunyu could not stand to look at such a sloppy woman swinging around in front of him so he threw his book away, walked over, and dragged her up by the back of her collar.
“Go wash up by the well.”
Ye Jiayao was too tired to ridicule this man and his nasty behavior, so she just quietly turned towards the back of the small kitchen and headed for the well.
Ugh, so obedient? Xia Chunyu thought that she would erupt. After all, she had dared to throw a shoe at his face. Although she knew how to resign herself to adversity, knew how to fawn and flatter, eventually, her pride would not take any more hits.
Xia Chunyu felt very confused as he returned to the room to continue reading.
After a while, Song Qi and Peng Wu returned with four huge baskets containing two sacks of rice and flour. Ye Jiayao checked the condiments over and was happy to see that they also grabbed a wok, bowls, a ladle and a basin – even the cutting tools are a complete set. They also brought back a huge carp, pork ribs, slaughtered chicken, mutton leg and various types of vegetables. They brought enough to feed an army! Well, she supposed that was the nature of bandits – take everything and anything that they could carry.
Although she was exhausted, she made a promise to cook them dinner tonight so she would deliver. This would be the first legitimate meal she would be preparing ever since her arrival in the stockade. Ye Jiayao’s spirit livened as she prepared to show off her cooking skills.
Ye Jiayao grabbed the carp and threw it ruthlessly on the floor. After the fish had passed out from the blow, she started to remove the scales and innards, asking, “Song Qi, Peng Wu, where are you all from?”
“I am from Hebei province,” Peng Wu answered as he began to start the fire.
Song Qi, who was in charge of chopping the ribs, replied, “I am from Zhenjiang prefecture.”
“What about third-in-charge?”
Song Qi scratched his head. “I’m not sure where third-in-charge is from. He never really mentioned it.”
Alright then. Judging from his accent, he should be from around Wu Yue, so making Huai Yang cuisine should be fine.
China’s culinary culture was profound and broad. It has developed its own particular system of distinct regional flavor and style after a long period of evolution. In the Tang and Song dynasties, it was more or less categorized into southern and northern food. Qing dynasty, on the other hand, has developed into four major cuisines; Cheng Chuan, Lu, Cantonese, and Huai Yang. It was then divided even more meticulously into eight major cuisines.
Although Ye Jiayao has studied all of the major cuisines, she was the best at Huai Yang cuisine because her father was a chef in a five-star hotel in the Suzhou prefecture. Huai Yang cuisine was particular on the choice of ingredients and meticulous in preparation. It required precise cutting skills, flavor excellence, and wonderful appearance. The heat was also closely controlled in the cooking process whether it be in stewing, brewing, roasting, or simple steaming.
Seeing sister-in-law’s experienced motions, Song Qi inquired, “Sister-in-law, where did you pick up your culinary skills?”
“At home… I mean, I learned from the kitchen lady at home.”
“You are a refined lady yet you have to learn this?”
Ye Jiayao raised her head slightly, looking up at the beam of the roof, her gaze complicated, as though she thought of some memories that she could not bear to recall. “Ayy… it’s a long story,” she replied with a sigh.
Pretending to be depressed always worked when deflecting a question.
Indeed, Song Qi did not probe further.
After setting the fish, Ye Jiayao stir-fried the chopped ribs, adding ginger slices, some shiitake mushrooms, cooking wine, soy sauce, and other condiments. She then transferred it to a clay pot to brew slowly. This way, the simmered ribs would absorb the flavor, making the bones rich in scent and the meat soft and well-cooked.
She then washed the chopping board and proceeded to slice the tofu into extremely thin pieces. She looked so skillful as she continued slicing at a fast speed, her hands blurring at her pace. Peng Wu stared at her blankly, wondering if she was making mashed tofu.
Song Qi was in awe as he observed her. “Sister-in-law, are you making Wen Si Tofu?”
Ye Jiayao chuckled. “That’s right! Have you tried it before?”
“No, no, but I have seen it before,” Song Qi replied, his mouth watering.
“Then today you shall try the authentic Wen Si tofu. It’s a pity there is no ham.”
“Will air-dried meat work? I saw some in the kitchen,” Song Qi suggested.
Ye Jiayao’s eyes brightened and she nodded. “Sure! Although it does not compare to ham in color and taste, the texture would be more than enough to lift the flavor.”
“I’ll go get it then.” Song Qi went off, bustling with energy.
Ye Jiayao wanted to tell him to take just a small piece because from what she knew of him, he would surely bring back the whole chunk of meat. She wasn’t able to voice her warning though because Song Qi was long gone.
She had just finished cutting the dried chicken, bamboo, and shiitake mushrooms into shreds when Song Qi ran back into the kitchen, huffing as he hauled a huge chunk of air-dried meat. “Old Head Yu is too petty! He chased me out with a chopping knife for just a piece of air-dried meat!” he panted.
Ye Jiayao laughed at his antics. Welcome to the life of the bandits.
Xia Chunyu looked at the rising smoke from the kitchen and couldn’t help but look forward to seeing what kind of tricks the girl has up her sleeves. He wanted to go over there to take a look but he was afraid that it would be misunderstood as excitement. He suppressed the curiosity within him and continued on reading his book.
He lifted the teapot to pour some water but nothing came out. He yelled for Song Qi to bring him some more but he didn’t answer, so Xia Chunyu brought the teapot to the kitchen himself.
The strong scent of seasoning filled the entrance of the kitchen, making him eager to taste what the wench has been cooking. Xia Chunyu placed the teapot down on the table, yelling, “Where’s everyone? Where did everyone go?”
Peng Wu scuttled out of the kitchen, flustered. “Third-in-charge, please wait for a while, dinner would be served soon.”
Xia Chunyu deadpanned, “Who asked about dinner? This teapot is empty, did you know that? It’s just a dinner, not a feast, is there a need for so many people? You all want to be a chef? Sure, tomorrow go work in the kitchen.”
Peng Wu, dejected from the scolding, placated, “I’ll go boil some water this instant.”
That was the last straw. Ye Jiayao was just about to rush out with a ladle in her hand when Song Qi stopped her, shaking his head.
Seeing that no one came out after his rage, Xia Chunyu returned to the room silently.
Song Qi checked the entrance before returning inside, saying, “Third-in-charge went back inside.”
“That person is so hard to please! Everyone is preparing a meal for him with kind intentions and not only is he not grateful, he still came over here to find fault,” Ye Jiayao ranted.
Song Qi chuckled at her annoyance. “Sister-in-law, don’t take it to heart. Third-in-charge is actually a very nice person.”
“Nice my foot! He throws tantrums like a child.”
“You can’t blame third-in-charge for that. There is no one to get along with here in the stockade. Third-in-charge became Hei Feng Gang’s third leader after being here for just two months, and many of the brothers in the stockade refused to accept it. If he was not ferocious, how can he manage to keep control of them?” Song Qi explained.
Ye Jiayao rolled her eyes. He just wants to suppress and control everyone .
“What about second-in-charge and first-in-charge? What are they like?” Ye Jiayao asked.
Song Qi frowned. “That is difficult to say. First-in-charge has a nice temper and I heard that he used to be a scholar. He really doesn’t know any martial arts but still, all the brothers in the stockade are afraid of him. Second-in-charge has a fierce face but he is actually the most easy-going out of the three.”
In other words, the bad guy played the good guy and the good guy playing the bad guy.
Ye Jiayao changed frying pans as she poured a thin layer of oil before proceeding to fry the shiitake mushroom stuffed with meat paste. The scent of the meat and the shiitake mushroom smelled so heavenly that Song Qi and Peng Wu couldn’t help but salivate. Just as it was almost cooked, Ye Jia Yao poured in the seasoned soup, adding a little cornstarch and leaving it to cook for a while so that the mushroom could absorb more flavors.
This was the method for modern time teppan shiitake mushroom, but Ye Jiayao changed it slightly to make it into a new dish. Using a pair of chopsticks, she set the mushrooms on top of the stir-fried vegetables before drenching it with the soup.
“Alright, you can bring this over!” Ye Jiayao clapped her hands in accomplishment.
Today, there was a total of five dishes; simmered-fried ribs, sweet and sour carp, shiitake mushrooms with greens, Wen Si tofu, and air-dried meat with bamboo stew.
Song Qi smelled the food and sighed. “Sister-in-law, your culinary skill is solid! Just looking at all those colors and smelling that delicious smell is already making me drool!”
Ye Jiayao laughed. “Be careful not to drool into the food.”
“Sister-in-law, why don’t you bring the dishes over? Third-in-charge will surely be pleased to see you,” Song Qi suggested.
“Forget it, I am not pleasing to his eye today so I shall not go hinder his view,” Ye Jiayao declined, taking some food for herself to eat alone in the kitchen instead.
She has not forgotten how she was lifted out like a rag earlier on; she has never been so embarrassed in her life.
In the house, Xia Chunyu was pleasantly surprised to see the five dishes. It looked and smelled absolutely divine that if it was not for Song Qi and Peng Wu, he would’ve thought he was sitting in a restaurant in Jin Ling!
“Third-in-charge, quick! Try some of the food sister-in-law made, it’s delicious.” Song Qi had to stop himself from diving into the array of food.
Peng Wu nodded, his eyes never straying from the food. “Third-in-charge, you have found a treasure.”
Xia Chunyu stared at him harshly. “What treasure? Get me the wine quickly.”
Normally he would have a huge pot of stewed meat, so this was a treat. Such exquisite food was hard to come by and he wanted to level up his dining experience by matching the food with fine wine.
“Aye.” Peng Wu brought out a jug of wine, pouring a glass for 3rd-in-charge.
Xia Chunyu lifted his chopsticks up, ready to tuck in before he noticed Ye Jiayao missing. “Where is your sister-in-law?”
“She’s boiling hot water and told to eat first,” Song Qi replied.
“Why is she boiling water when it is time to eat?” Xia Chunyu muttered, digging into the food. He then recalled her dirty face and deduced that it was perhaps for a bath. Women are a bother; men would just either fetch a pail of water from the well and pour it over them or go to the pool at the mountain to swim a few laps.
The fish was crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and the perfect blend of sweet and sour. The fragrance of the ribs was beyond aromatic and it was so tender, it was melting in his mouth. The shiitake mushroom was covered by a layer of streaky pork, and the crisp texture of the pan-fried meat and the silky feel of the mushroom was a great combination. However, it was the Wen Si tofu that shocked him the most. The tofu, bamboo, mushroom, and the chicken are all hair-like thin shreds. Even the head chef of Jin Ling’s famous Zi Weiguan could not demonstrate this kind of precision!
“Is this tofu cut by your sister-in-law?” Xia Chunyu asked, still unconvinced
Peng Wu replied, “It is. I was awe-struck with how she chopped that tofu so fast and so smoothly.”
Xia Chunyu nodded. It looked like he really had found a treasure, in a sense.