Hylian Delights (and Disasters) on Tonight’s Menu
Hello, and welcome to another week of Friday Night Bytes, where I combine two of my passions: video games and cooking. Like last week, I decided to sample three more dishes from The Unofficial Legend of Zelda Cookbook by Aimee Wood. This week’s culinary adventure includes Simmered Fruit, Rock-Hard Food, and Yellow Chuchu Jelly.
“This sweet dish is made by heaping tasty fruits into a pan and simmering until tender.” – In-game description from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
In BotW, Simmered Fruit is made by, you guessed it, simmering fruit! The recipe simply calls for cooking at least one fruit that isn’t an Apple. When eaten by Link, it restores only one heart container. Not particularly great, but at the same time, it’s a bowl of boiled fruit, so how much can you expect?
Making it in real life really isn’t all that different from making it in the game. You take a bunch of fruit (in this case I used a cara cara orange, sliced peaches, blueberries, and strawberries as called for in the recipe), and simmer it down in orange juice. To thicken it up and make it more like a dessert soup instead of a bowl of hot, lumpy juice, it calls for sugar and tapioca flour as well.
Going into this, I was worried I’d end up with a bowl of unpleasantly, overly sweet fruit goop. While it was definitely overly sweet, I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. Simmering down each fruit really enhanced its flavor. The strawberries tasted extra strawberry-y, the blueberries popped and infused the “broth” with their flavor, and the oranges were bursting with that delicious citrus flavor. The other downside is the texture. Dear lord, the texture. All that tapioca starch gave it an almost saliva-y texture that was extremely unpleasant, though I guess it went well with the burst blueberries, squishy strawberries, and oleaginous oranges. The peaches, however, stayed very firm, so there was a riot of textures that just wasn’t appealing.
If you want to give this one a try, my recommendation is to skip the extra sugar, cut the tapioca starch in half, and simmer it with the lid off to encourage some thickening. Even then, be sure to brush your teeth after, because the sugar clings long after you’ve finished eating.
The Husband’s opinion: “The sauce is overly sweet, and the texture is pretty off-putting. It’s like a simple syrup that’s way too thick, with an aftertaste of orange. It pairs okay with the more tart fruits, but I wouldn’t and couldn’t eat a whole bowl of it. It’d probably be okay with oatmeal. Pretty sure Link is getting ripped off with this one, though. With all that sugar, he should definitely be getting a better boost.”
Final Verdict: 2/5 Golden Tri-Forks
“A dish gone awry after adding the wrong ingredient. Chewing your way through Rock-Hard Food won’t be fun, but it will fill you up when you’re between a rock and a hard place.” – In-game description from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The oh-so-appealing Rock-Hard Food is made in BotW by trying to cook with Wood, Ores, or Ancient Materials. By forcing this culinary catastrophe down Link’s gullet, you’ll restore a paltry quarter of a heart container. I guess it’s better than nothing? Maybe?
Real-life Rock-Hard Food is definitely more appetizing, at least flavor-wise. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, in actuality, it looks like a plate piled with… yard treats. Yes, we’ll go with that. Thankfully, they’re as tasty as they are ugly. Made with graham cracker crumbs, honey, peanut butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg, it’s like a cake-pop and cookie dough had a tasty baby. They were fun to make, too – basically I got to smash up the graham crackers into dust, then mix in the spices, and smoosh in a bunch of peanut butter and honey. Shaped into “rocks” (cause again, we all know what they really look like), then rolled in hot cocoa powder, and piled up on the plate. I’d happily eat a dozen of them, but they’re definitely very rich. Two is the absolute max I would recommend unless you wanna feel your blood sugar spike.
The Husband’s opinion: “I’m sorry, I can’t eat that.”
Final Verdict: 3/5 Golden Tri-Forks
Yellow Chuchu Jelly
“A jiggly substance that came from an Electric Chuchu. Electricity pulses through its gelatinous mass. If struck, it will explode in a burst of electric current.” – In-game description from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Although Link can’t drink this electric goop, it does have several other uses. It can be combined with small animals to cook up Elixirs, sold for Rupees, and can be used by Great Fairies to upgrade Link’s armor. It can, as you probably guessed, be obtained by defeating Electric Chuchus and harvesting the goopy innards they leave behind.
Honestly, it’s probably easier to make Yellow Chuchu Jelly by killing one in battle. The recipe says that lemon jelly is notoriously difficult to get set properly, and they weren’t kidding. The ingredients are simple enough – just lemon, lemon zest, sugar, and pectin. Basically, you bring it all to a boil and stir it like crazy while it froths away. And then you grab a spoon (oh, yeah, the recipe says to have three of them in the freezer and chilled) and scoop a little of the jelly out of the pot and see if it thickens on the spoon. I ended up having to use all three chilled testing spoons before it got the right consistency.
So what does it taste like? Honestly, it’s delicious. Almost ridiculously so. The Yellow Chuchu Jelly is so tart that it actually makes your tongue tingle a little bit, which totally gives you that hint of a sensation that you’re eating the electrified remains of some hapless Electric Chuchu. Excellent on toast, and I’ll be making some blueberry scones to spread it on this weekend. This one is definitely a keeper.
The Husband’s opinion: “(high pitched) Ooh! It’s like a delicious lemony tart-bomb explosion in your mouth. Like a lemon drop candy without the disgusting artificial flavor.”
Final Verdict: 5/5 Golden Tri-Forks
That’s it for this week’s Rock-Hard curiosities. Tune in to next week’s Friday Night Bytes, where I’ll be attempting a Skyrim-themed dinner!