You know a dish is ingrained in a culture when you ask how to make it any you get told that one — there is no recipe, you just inherently know how to do it and two — no not like that, move over let me show you.
Rice is easy to grow on the Echo Isles, and Trolls are known for their intense spices. When I approached my good friend Zan’juul and asked him how to make this, I had no idea it would be an ordeal. It turns out there are as many ways to make this as there are Troll tribes and my simply asking ‘how make the yum food’ was enough to spark a debate.
How do you know who to listen to? Whichever Troll looks most likely to eat you — that’s why you obey. I don’t make the rules.
for you are crunchy and good with sauce
Candy is dandy but meat is sweet! In Orgrimmar, lollipops mean two things. First, of course, is the delicious hard candy on a stick. But as one Orc guard pointed out to me, lollipops are you just flavoring your own spit as a snack. Charming. And now I can’t look at hard candy the same way.
The second kind of lollipop is a way of preparing poultry. By wedging the meat down towards the head of the bone, it gives you bare bone to hold onto and all the meat at one end for better access. Yes, this sounds simple enough — and it is — but it makes it pretty convenient, especially with the bigger cuts of meat like plainstrider.
But strider is a bit of a pain to wrestle with, so today we’re going to work with chicken!
One of my favorite things about Dwarves is that they know how to make some damn ribs. There’s something special about eating ribs. It’s almost like a ritual. The fall off the bone meat, the sticky fingers, the bone. I don’t know about you, but I love gnawing on the ends of the ribs while my food is settling. It’s so primal.
But sometimes you just can’t justify the trip all the way out to Ironforge. And sometimes, you work in a tavern that isn’t properly equipped to smoke things. Don’t get me wrong, the Keg has great tools! We’ve got… a spoon. At least one pan. A cup or twelve. Ya know. The essentials. But we don’t have a smoker.
So when summer comes around and the craving strikes, what do you do?? The answer, like for most other problems, is to FAKE it!
Shhhh no one will ever know
Man, where do I even start with this one? It’s a massive favorite in the non-Pandaren nations. I remember being able to find this even in Orgrimmar, and sometimes you get lucky and find a cart in Dalaran. Noodles are of course, the go-to, but there’s something divine about the crunchy, sweet, savory, little bit tart stickiness of a dish like this.
When I lived in Halfhill, the old Pandaren that used to let me rent a room from them told me the story about how when their ancestors began to set up their farms and breweries from the West, the insectoid Klaxxi were beginning to spread in from the East. Wars raged and fire burned and crops were destroyed and overall, there was terror.
One Pandaren in particular was desperate for peace. And he realized that when he worked a long hard day, he was rather cranky before he got his supper. So, he thought, perhaps it was the same with the angry Klaxxi. He’d seen the nectar they ate, and decided, well that simply couldn’t be sustaining enough. So he came up with a dish — a perfect blend of everything he thought a hard working creature needed. Protein for strength, vegetables for health, fruit and sweetness for the disposition. And with it, he offered up an offering, that Bug and Bear could sit together in peace and the commonality of food.
Did it work?
Peace of cake
I think it’s fair to say I stand by everything I make. If I ever plan a dish to share with you guys and it turns out sub-par, I scrap it until I can perfect it.
I honestly thought this was going to be one of those projects. Boy was I wrong.
Eggrolls have always been elusive to me. Crunchy outside, savory inside, deliciously filled, folded like some complex origami. It intimidated me. But when it was suggested that I make them for Pandaren month, I decided to give it my best.
It was not hard. I should not have waited. And everyone needs to try this.
When I made my first batch of 12 (the yield for this recipe), I decided to let them cool while I cleaned up and did the dishes. There was only one other person around at the time, I told them they could try one if they’d liked. Do you want to know how many I got to sample?
One. I had one. And only because I took it in the kitchen with me while I worked. I returned to a very full Alexi and an empty plate. Apparently once he had taken a bite of the first one, he simply couldn’t help himself. I’m a bit cranky about that… Because my reaction was the same. The moment I bit into that crunchy, flavorful goodness, I needed more.
And someone had eaten them all…
So for the kickoff of Noblegarden, my friend and fellow Knight Initiate with the Argents,
Denarys Deneres Denarus Senechal (swear to Light, humans have hard names) invited me to join his family for their traditional wild boar and egg hunt.
I’ve never hunted a wild boar before, and there’s an art to it. An art I don’t really understand. It consists of some very fast, very strong horses that take their job very seriously, dogs in armor, and a very pissed off boar. To be fair, from past experience, ‘pissed off’ is the default for wild boars, and the moment you’re in their territory, one of you is going to become dinner. We just decided to make them dinner first.
It was intense. It completely rattled my initial image of these prim, proper nobles who stand with their backs so straight and their head angled in such a way that they seem to be peering down the bridge of their nose. His mother’s hands were so soft as she kept insisting on clasping mine. I thought the rest of them was soft too.
But oh no. Oh man. No. The moment there is danger, that softness gives way to an intensity that is beyond my ability to put them into words. They are graceful, powerful. Lethal. And I am very glad that they’re on my side.
Afterwards, while the meat was curing, we enjoyed a lot of his family’s mead and hunted for eggs. Those at least, didn’t fight back.
Good times all around. I don’t always do well with big groups, so it was refreshing to get to slip into the kitchen with their personal chefs to help them prepare this ham. Trust me, the hardest part was killing the thing.
H A M !
So this is another cauldron recipe! Again, if you have an Instant-Cauldron, I’ll try and figure out the conversion for you!
Have you ever been to Kul Tiras? Weather-wise, it’s kind of like Stormwind on steroids. Stormwind is wet and cold from the bay and it’s that wet that gets into your skin. But in Boralus, it’s even more intense. It gets all the way into your bones! At least for me, it doesn’t seem to matter how much I bundle up, I’m always cold and damp. Good thing those Kul Tiran jackets are so stylish.
One thing that seems to warm our island neighbors is baked beans. Now this is kind of a mis…name… cuz they’re actually done in a cauldron, but man they are delicious. They’re easy to make on the sea with ingredients that are easy to preserve. And I’ve found that they actually can store for a few weeks in a cold-box, and even freeze pretty well.
Beware, beware, the sailor who’s had beans