This week on Lvl.1 Chef we’re tackling the vaguely titled and vaguely sprited Super Meal from Stardew Valley! The recipe didn’t end up like I thought it would in the end, but I’m very pleased with this vibrant Asian style salad all the same! But what exactly makes it so super, and can it really be considered a meal? Let’s find out.
If you’ve read the Autumn’s Bounty recipe I posted a couple weeks back, I talk a lot about what kind of game Stardew Valley is and why I like it so much. There’s definitely something special about a game you can take at your own pace and play the way you want. Whereas it may seem like farming takes center stage in a game like this, I would argue that forming bonds with your fellow townspeople is equally if not more integral to the game’s identity.
There are many ways to get to know your neighbors is Stardew Valley. You can talk to them, visit them at home, bring them presents, and engage with them at the town’s many festivals. These interactions all add up and you will be able to see a villager’s affinity towards you grow as you progress through the game. One of the benefits of making friends that is of special significance to me and this blog is that you’ll sometimes receive personal recipes in the mail from them!
Today’s recipe just happens to be from one of these friendly letters. Kent is a soldier who begins the game on tour and doesn’t return home to his family until the second year. Getting him on your good side results in him sharing the recipe for Super Meal with you that he “picked up overseas” most likely meaning the Gotoro Empire against which Kent has been fighting in the war. Now there’s nothing explicit in the game to suggest this, but the presence of bok choy (a native Chinese cabbage) in the dish leads me to believe that the cuisine of the Gotoro Empire may have a correlation to Asian cuisines of the real world. But hey that’s just a theory, A RECIPE THEORY! Thanks for reading.
With that piece to the puzzle it was a little easier for me to decide how to put the other components of the dish together and what other ingredients I’d want to add. It should be said that in the game, the Super Meal only requires the aforementioned bok choy, as well as cranberries and an artichoke.
The bok choy and cranberries immediately made me think of an Asian-style salad, often called a Mandarin salad. However, the presence of artichokes is what really threw me for a loop. As far as I was concerned, the only reason to buy fresh artichokes at the grocery store is to roast them to pull apart as a snack. Sure enough, try as I might I could not find a way to successfully introduce roasted artichokes into this dish and even using canned artichoke hearts thrown into the salad was still a little.. jarring (pun!) The slippery texture was just weird for lack of a better term.
After several attempts I came up with a pretty clever idea I think. Instead of adding them to the salad itself, I would include the artichoke hearts in the dressing! Not only does this remove the artichoke’s texture from the equation, but it helps emulsify the ginger dressing base into something creamier and more full bodied than it would be without it. Gave it a try and I’m pretty pleased with the results!
As for the other ingredients, since the food sprite was fairly unhelpful (much like the Autumn’s Bounty sprite) I had to go by color once again, but at least this time I had a few other parameters. I knew I wanted the dish to be based on a Mandarin salad like I said, but I also thought it would be cool to include as many super foods as possible, seeing as how it was a Super Meal after all. Following a little super foods research, I decided to add almonds, oranges, and crushed red pepper to the already ‘super’ bok choy in the salad. I also included fried won ton wrappers (a personal favorite of mine) and grilled chicken in order to make it more substantial and worthy of being considered a meal.
And with that, another Stardew Valley recipe is in the books! Tell what you think in the comments below, and if you make it for yourself, let me know if you got a crazy boost of energy. It’s for science.
+ Super Meal Salad +
makes about 4 servings
|Wonton Wrappers||8 to 10 small squares|
|Vegetable Oil||1 cup (for frying)|
|Bok Choy (see note)||3 Heads|
|Red Cabbage||1 cup shredded|
|Dried* Cranberries||⅓ cup|
|Sliced Almonds||¼ cup|
|Crushed Red Pepper Flakes||1 tsp|
|Sesame Seeds||to taste|
|Salt and Pepper||to taste|
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Large mixing bowl
- Medium, heavy bottomed pot (for frying)
- Frying pan
- Metal tongs
- Thermometer (recommended)
Note: Bok choy comes in several different forms and you’re likely going to have to make a choice when you get to the grocery store. The type I used for this recipe is called ‘Shanghai’ bok choy (sometimes mislabeled as ‘baby’ bok choy) which is a smaller, greener, and more tender than its larger white-stalked cousins.
1) Let’s fry up some crispy won tons! These will act as our croutons for this salad and add a nice contrast with the vegetables. They’re also really easy to make! Start by heating up a cup of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pot, the won tons will fry flat so don’t worry if the oil looks shallow. Once the oil reaches 300-325°F reduce the heat to low and carefully place one square into the oil. Fry the won ton squares for 30 seconds total, flipping it over after 15 seconds with metal tongs, then remove it to a paper towel lined plate to cool and sprinkle with salt (don’t skip this step!) If your won tons are too dark after 30 seconds, simply let your oil cool a bit before trying again. We’re aiming for GBD here (golden brown and delicious!)
2) Now on to the veggies. Chop off the bottom of your bok choy heads and pull the leaves apart so they can be properly washed (you can see here how dirty they sometimes can be!) Once clean, use a sharp knife to slice the leaves crosswise into thin strips about a ¼” thick.
3) Toss the bok choy into a large mixing bowl along with the shredded cabbage, almonds, cranberries (*most people opt for dried here, but I enjoy the tart bite of fresh/frozen cranberries,) and red pepper flakes. For the orange, I like cutting my own orange segments, but canned mandarin oranges would work as well in a pinch.
4) To cut your own orange segments, called orange ‘supremes,’ start by using a sharp knife to completely peel the oranges all the way down to the flesh. Next insert the knife just the side of one of the white membranes down to the center. Remove the knife and then repeat this just to the inside of the adjacent membrane. At this point you should just be able to use the knife to pop out the supreme! Easy! Toss them into the mixing bowl as well and toss.
5) Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and pan fry them with a couple teaspoons of oil (you can use the wont ton oil if you’d like) until completely cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken to a small plate and let cool. If you like your salads with hot chicken, feel free to save this step until right before serving!
6) Plate the salads and drizzle the ginger artichoke dressing (see recipe below) over top. Garnish with sesame seeds and the crushed up fried won tons from earlier. Top with the sliced pan fried chicken and get ready to enjoy this really energizing meal!
+Ginger Artichoke Dressing +
makes about 1½ cups
|Fresh Ginger||3 Tbsp (peeled and chopped)|
|Artichoke Hearts||6 unmarinated canned hearts|
|Rice Wine Vinegar||6 Tbsp|
|Vegetable Oil||¼ cup|
|Soy Sauce||1½ tsp|
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Blender or food processor
1) Throw this quick and easy dressing together by chopping the peeled ginger and artichoke hearts then adding them along with all the other ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse everything together until the dressing is smooth and emulsified!
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