EarthBound – Brain Food Lunch

This entry is based on what’s known as ‘Dal Bhat;’ an extremely oft eaten meal in eastern mountainous regions such as Nepal and Tibet. Generally speaking, the dish consists of Dal (lentil soup) and Bhat (boiled rice) and is commonly served with sides such as fresh vegetables and curry, among others. Even though the ‘lunch’ has many different components, each individual recipe can be just as tasty on its own.

Almost as if in a dream, I found myself above the clouds in the mountaintop kingdom of Dalaam. Few westerners had ever had the privilege to walk amongst the rocky spires and thatch huts of this mysterious land, and fewer still had recorded their experiences in writing. Indeed it was a trial to pull my attention away from the infinite sky to collect my thoughts. Outside of the glistening golden palace at the summit, the people of this region live quite humbly. And it would seem with simple lives comes simple foods as exemplified by the bowls of rice gruel that sustain many of the villagers day in and day out. However, if you desire to indulge your body and mind with a more opulent culinary offering, the legendary Brain Food Lunch is the meal you seek. The combination of seemingly ordinary ingredients is so masterfully crafted that only a few bites will leave you physically rejuvenated and with a sharpness of mind that’s almost uncanny.

Click ‘Continue Reading,’ for the recipes…

+ Cooked Barley +

Because rice doesn’t grow as well at extremely high altitudes, I substituted the grain ‘cooked barley,’ which seemed more suitable for a mountaintop kingdom to grow

Ingredient Amount
 Pearled Barley (rinsed) 1 cup
 Water 2 1/2 cups + 3 cups to soak
 Salt to taste

  • Large Sauce Pot
  • Colander
  • Spatula/Wooden Spoon
  1. Place rinsed barley in the large pot and let soak with 3 cups of water, overnight
  2. Pour off the soaking water and add 2 1/2 cups fresh water to the pot
  3. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Season to taste

A pot of cooked barley for Brain Food Lunch recipe from Earthbound game series.

+ Lentil Soup +

Water seemed more appropriate for the theme of the dish, but a good chicken or vegetable stock will really improve the flavor here

Ingredient Amount
 Onion (small dice) 1 each
 Poblano Pepper (small dice) 1 each
 Garlic (minced) 5 cloves
 Ginger (chopped fine) 1 TBSP
 Salt 1 tsp
 Cumin 1/2 tsp
 Coriander 1 tsp
 Tomato (small dice) 1 large
 Lime Juice  1 limes’ worth
 Lentils (rinsed) 2 cups
 Water (or stock) 6 cups

  • Kitchen Knife
  • Small Bowl (to rinse lentils)
  • Large Sauce Pot
  • Spatula/Wooden Spoon
  • Food Processor (optional)
  1. Place the first seven ingredients (onion, through coriander) in to the large sauce pot over medium-high heat and stir until the onions begin to soften. Be careful not to brown the garlic too much, or it will taste bitter
  2. Add the chopped tomato and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutesSauteed tomato and onions for lentil soup in Brain Food Lunch for Earthbound game series.
  3. Stir in the lentils and then add the water. Increase the heat to high until the pot begins to boil
  4. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and stir occasionally for about 20 minutes, or until the water or stock has been absorbed. Stir in lime juice. Adjust seasonings if necessaryCooked lentils for lentil soup for Brain Food Lunch from Earthbound game series.
  5. Optional: As is, this soup is pretty chunky. However, a food processor can be used to achieve a smoother consistency. Wait for the lentils to cool slightly before adding them to the bowl of a food processor, and simply pulse for a few seconds until you achieve your preferred texture

+ Pumpkin Curry +

Pumpkins have a good amount of Zinc in them, which enhances memory and thinking skills. It also happens to be one of the more common vegetables in Nepal, so I decided to make it the base for this curry. Feel free to substitute a sweeter squash such as Buttercup if you’d like; just make sure the final weight is around 28 oz (1 lb, 12 oz)

Ingredient Amount
 Onion 1 each
 Garlic 3 cloves
 Ginger 1 TBSP
 Poblano Pepper 2 each
 Cilantro 1 cup
 Lime Juice 2 limes’ worth
 Salt 1 1/2 tsp
 Turmeric 1 tsp
 Coriander 1 tsp
 Cumin 1/2 tsp
 Pumpkin or Squash 1 lb + 12 oz (28 oz total)
 Carrots (peeled) 2 each
 Vegetable Oil 1/4 cup

  • Kitchen Knife
  • Spatula/Wooden Spoon
  • Food Processor
  • Large Sauce Pot
  1. Roughly chop the onion, peppers, garlic and ginger and place in the bowl of a food processor
  2. Add in the cilantro, lime juice, salt and spices and process until very fine
  3. Meanwhile, cut the carrots and the pumpkin into a medium dice and place in the large sauce pot with the oil, and cook over medium heat until the vegetables begin to softenPumpkin and carrot curry for Brain Food Lunch from Earthbound game series.
  4. Add the contents of the food processor in with the vegetables and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasoning if desired

+ Roti Bread +

Roti is unleavened bread, eaten in and around India, with many similarities to pita bread. You can buy these guys pre-made, but I’ve included a recipe anyway

Ingredient Amount
 Semolina 1 cup
 Water 1/2 cup
 Salt 1/4 tsp
 AP Flour for dusting

  • Large Bowl
  • Tongs, or a Spatula (for flipping)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Heavy Bottomed Fry Pan
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until dough comes together; adding more flour, slowly, if needed
  2. Turn out the dough on to a well-floured surface, and continue to knead until it can be handledRoti bread dough formed into balls for Brain Food Lunch from Earthbound game series.
  3. Split the dough into six pieces and use a rolling pin to flatten them out into 6-8″ circles Roti bread dough rolled out flat with rolling pin on floured surface.
  4. Heat your frying pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water would skitter across the surface
  5. Lay one of the flattened disks in the pan and cook for about one minute (puffing up is normal, don’t worry!)Roti bread cooking in pan.
  6. Flip and continue to cook for another minute or so. You’ll see a couple of brown spots on the cooked side. Be careful the pan doesn’t get too hot and start to smoke.Cooked roti bread for Brain Food Lunch from Earthbound game series.

Hey! Thanks for reading all the the way to the end! You’re awesome :D! If you haven’t already and are looking for more nerdy food stuff, consider following me on Twitter, Facebooktumblr and Instagram. I post a lot of work in progress pictures for the blog as well as some stuff from my real job as a pastry chef. If that sounds like something you’d be into, please check out those links above! Anyway, take care everyone and I’ll see you soon with an all new recipe!