Cooking Eorzea Week 12: Meat Miq’abob

Friday, March 4th, 2022

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By


Cooking Eorzea | Feature Image

I hate insomnia. One of the oddest side effects of me relocating both across the country and across three time zones is the fact that occasionally- about once every two weeks or so- I find myself unable to sleep at night no matter how hard I try. I try to take a shower, I try to create air flow, I cut out caffeine hours before bed, and I even change where I sleep to the guest bedroom. Alas, all of that is for naught.

It’s not all tied to some event going on emotionally in my life either. It just…happens. And it is because of this random, unexplainable insomnia that I am writing this at 1:31 a.m. when I know that I have to be up in three-and-a-half hours so I can start my day. I am also hoping that writing this will lull me to sleep.

It’s definitely one of the most awful parts of moving to California for me. It is even more awful than the one absolutely terrifying earthquake that I experienced a few months back. It turns out that you can’t try to outrun earthquakes in California like you can try to outrun a hurricane on the East Coast, and that is an experience that I am not eager to repeat again.

Here’s to hopefully a good night’s sleep tomorrow so I can fall in Love, Eorzean Style with my pillow and zonk out.

If you’ve missed an installment of Cooking Eorzea, you can check out all the prior recipes here.

Recipe of the Week

This week’s Cooking Eorzea dish, Meat Miq’abob, is from the Thanalan region of Eorzea and has a difficulty rating of ‘Easy’. It is also the 17th dish from the cookbook. This recipe also signals my return to the grill to cook more kabobs! Last time I utilized a grill was for the Forest Miq’abob recipe and it turned out quite well and was extremely delicious. I was happy to see that some of the ingredients from that recipe, shishito peppers and tomatoes, made a return for this week.

Anyway, here is what the dish is supposed to look like:

Cooking Eorzea | Meat Miq'abob Professional Photograph

Photo courtesy of Insight Editions.

Featured Ingredient of the Week

Cooking Eorzea | Full sliced duck in a tray.

Photo by author.

This week’s featured ingredient is the duck breast. Or more accurately, as you can see in the photo above, the entire duck.

It turns out that the only way that I could obtain fresh duck breast was to head to a local Asian grocery store, buy a full-sized fresh duck, and ask them (with help, since there was a language barrier present) to slice up the duck off of the bone for me. It was amazing watching the onsite butcher cleave apart and remove the duck breast from the rib cage. It also made me SO thankful that I wasn’t the one who had to do it since I was also incredibly terrified at the same time between the sharp blade he used and the force that he had to wield it with.

I ended up being sent home with the entire duck, which made sense since I had to buy the whole bird in order to get the duck breast pieces needed for this week’s recipe. This was also the first time in my life that I have ever worked with fresh, raw duck before for a dish.

My Cooking Attempt

As always, we start with an image of all of this week’s ingredients:

Cooking Eorzea | Full ingredients photograph

Photo by author.

First, I added the Sichuan peppercorns, the black peppercorns, and the coriander seeds into my spice grinder.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding Sichuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, and coriander seeds to a spice grinder.

Photo by author.

I snapped on the lid and pressed it down so that the seasoning would grind and blend together into a fine powder.

Cooking Eorzea | Grinding the seasonings together.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | The final spice blend.

Pouring the spice blend into a large airtight container, I then added the garlic paste and the ginger paste. As you can tell, I had difficulty getting the garlic and ginger pastes off of the measuring spoon and so it went everywhere inside the container.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding ginger paste, garlic paste, and soy sauce into the container.

Photo by author.

I then added in the mirin, the sesame seed oil, and the honey. The honey also stuck to the measuring spoon, and so I had to SLOWLY watch it drip out.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in the wet ingredients to the mixture.

Photo by author.

I then added in the soy sauce, and I whisked the whole mixture together. I kept scraping the edge of the whisk against the container walls so I could grab as much of the scattered ginger and garlic pastes as possible from the sides to incorporate into the final marinade.

Cooking Eorzea | Whisking together the marinade ingredients.

Photo by author.

I set aside the marinade and then pulled the two pieces of duck breast out of the whole duck. First, I checked the duck to remove any bone fragments that were still there. I actually found a couple, and so I had to cut them out.

Cooking Eorzea | Cutting out a piece of bone from the duck breast.

Photo by author.

Next, I laid out both pieces of duck breast…and I tried to cut one in half. It didn’t work out so well. It turns out that duck is a rather tough meat, and that if I was going to chunk it into kabob-appropriate sized pieces, I would have to use more force.

Cooking Eorzea | My failed attempt to cut the duck breast.

Photo by author.

I ended up getting out my meat cleaver, making small hatch marks on the duck breast to give me a place to aim at, and then whacking down HARD to break the meat. It was…honestly a little terrifying and I was half-expecting something to go wrong. It was the first time I’ve really ever used a meat cleaver like that in my life.

Cooking Eorzea | Cleaving the duck breast.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Finished chopped duck breast.

I then pressed the duck breast chunks down into the marinade, snapped the lid on top, and place the container into the fridge to rest for about six-and-a-half hours.

Cooking Eorzea | Duck breast chunks marinading in the refrigerator.

Photo by author.

About a half hour before the duck breast was done marinading, I placed a bunch of wooden skewers into a pan of water so they could soak some of the water up. Turning away from the skewers, I quartered a pair of tomatoes.

Cooking Eorzea | Soaking wooden skewers into water.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Quartering two tomatoes.

I then gathered everything up that I needed to make the skewers and headed outside. I preheated the grill and I set up the kabob assembly station.

Cooking Eorzea | Preheating the grill.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Assembling the kabob station.

Once the grill was ready, I would grab a skewer, stab through a piece of duck breast, a shishito pepper, more duck breast, a tomato slice, and another piece of duck breast. I would then place that skewer on the grill, close the lid to trap the heat inside, and go to work assembling the next kabob skewer.

Cooking Eorzea | Assembling a kabob.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Kabobs on the grill.

After I assembled the first four kabobs and placed them on the grill, I went to work on the fifth kabob…And I noticed that the grill’s temperature had shot up to a hundred degrees hotter than it should be and that there were flames licking out of the back of the gas grill. I opened the front of the grill to this:

Cooking Eorzea | Kabobs caught on fire.

Photo by author.

So, it turned out that I somehow managed to catch the kabobs on fire. I frantically killed the gas to the grill and turned the grill knobs off. That didn’t help, as the kabobs were still on fire. I pulled out my heat-resistant tongs, grabbed each kabob, blew the flames out, and then plated the dish.

At this point, I wasn’t going to be making any additional kabobs for this week’s column. Anyway, here is this week’s final dish:

Cooking Eorzea | Final dish

Photo by author.

It turns out that when you catch duck breast on fire, it cooks the meat through QUITE well. However, only three of the four kabobs were cooked through by the time I realized what was going on and so I ate what I could of the three cooked kabobs. Aside from the burned duck skin, it was…good. I think I liked the Forest Miq’abob better, but I was pleasantly surprised with how well the meat and peppers and tomatoes worked together.

Afterword

I told you all in my very first Cooking Eorzea column that I would share the good, the bad, and the Marlboro of my cooking attempts with you. Unintentionally catching the whole dish on fire definitely falls in the ‘Marlboro’ side of things for Cooking Eorzea. I would make this dish again, though I think next time I would leave the grill lid open and I would assemble all of the skewers before I placed them onto the grill.

I want to thank Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook. I also want to thank the staff over at Insight Editions for giving me permission to use the photos from their book to show how these recipes are actually supposed to look. Furthermore, I owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the logo for this series on short notice. You should check him and his works out over on Twitter.

Finally, I want to thank both Hiromichi Tanaka and Naoki Yoshida for producing FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in both iterations of the game. Cooking Eorzea obviously wouldn’t be possible without the world that they’ve both had a hand in creating.

Next Week

Next’s week Cooking Eorzea dish is Popoto Salad! I already have the Japanese mayonnaise for this dish, and I am excited to cook with it. Please tune in next week to see how it turns out!



Have you ever tried to grill duck before? How did your experience turn out?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it. Do you want to do an interview? You can reach me at interviews@oprainfall.com