Bastard Swordsman Chapter 23

Delicious Looking Mud

Using all usable containers like large pots, buckets, deep pans, I purged mud from the crabs over several days.

Changing the water repeatedly was such a hassle. Would hate doing it without magic enhancement. A nearby water supply would be nice.

Since I was purging in containers in the inn hallway, the littlest boy there took quite a liking to the crabs. They’re big but charming I guess.

When I went to take them this morning he looked at me like “You can’t mean to eat them…?” So I had to leave some. Nothing for it. Go play with them carefully kid. And wash your hands if you touch them.

“So you’re making food with these crabs huh.”

“Yeah. Thanks for waiting Raina.”

“Waited so long I finished a quest.”

The crab dish was to cheer Raina up, but seems her mood fully normalized in the several days it took. So what was my purpose then…?

Ah whatever, it’s fine. Way better than staying gloomy the whole time I guess.

Today we came to an outdoor cooking area a bit away from the busy food stall road near market.

In this broad open space, kitchen furnaces are placed at regular intervals, available for a small fee if you bring firewood. Convenient but inconvenient on rainy and windy days.

People with market food stalls cook here then bring stuff over. A communal large watering spot makes washing easy too.

Some other users were already at furnaces cooking up large pots of soup and such to sell at their stalls. Gotta make a dish today that won’t lose to those scents.

“Oh, Mongrel senpai, please take these.”

“Hm? Woah, eggs!? What’s the occasion?”

What Raina handed me were some fairly pricey eggs in this world. Three of them.

“Got them from a farming village chicken farm on the way back from yesterday’s quest. An apology for the fishing thing…”

“What’s with you, I said don’t worry about it.”

“But you know…I still feel bad from that time…”

“C’mon, just accept them nicely Mongrel-san.”

“Oh, Ulrika’s here too.”

Ulrika came over from the watering area carrying a pot.

“Yeah. Ulrika-senpai wanted to try the crab too.”

“I’ve never had shrimp or crab. I’ll help cook so let me join too, that alright?”
“Don’t care. Told Raina bring whoever’s free anyway.”

The crabs are mid-size, but with the numbers that’s plenty.

A bit much for just Raina and I to eat.

“That’s a lot of stuff…pots and such…Mongrel-san you had all that?”

“Mongrel senpai has everything. He’s stuck in his inn room from too much stuff.”

“Haha, moving must be rough.”

I don’t have everything. Just impulse buys.

“First, let’s wring these crabs. Then wash them thoroughly and take the tops off. Let’s all do it with 3 people.”
“Sorry Raina, how do I hold them?”
“Grab the sides of the shell like this.”
“Oh. Thanks.”

As expected of a hunting focused party, she’s skilled at dismantling crabs.

No squeamishness, efficiently killing them, washing cleanly, removing the shell.

“Put the guts and shell in here. And pick out the crab miso in this bowl.”
“You’re really doing all that?”
“Ah this crumbly stuff? It’s like fish huh.”
“Yeah, take that out, and split out the eggs if the females have any.”

She quickly grasped it after a brief teaching and started dismantling briskly. Might even be faster than me.

Well I don’t have much experience either, so whatever. Gotta keep up.

“Why you doing this Mongrel senpai?”
“You’ll see… Well no, even finished you probably won’t get it. But once it’s complete you’ll understand.”
“A dish I won’t understand by watching is worrying.”

It’ll definitely stay worrying watching the process here too.

So this time I wanna enjoy their reactions. Me. I do.

“Now then, the majority, basically the entirety of the process is…slam!”
“Knew you’d use that.”
“A cast iron pot…woah, looks heavy.”

Ideally a mortar and pestle, but lacking that. Makeshift.

“First into the pot go the crabs.”
“Huh? Still just taken apart, not much done to them.”
“Then with the meat pounder, wham! One more, wham! And wham!”
“Is this really cooking!?”
“It’s cooking. Where I’m from…almost no one did this but.”
“So why’s it so ambiguous!”
“Maybe better having Forest Bounty Inn cook them…”

But heedless I vigorously pound away at the crabs with the meat pounder. It’s a thicker, more splendid homemade than a normal one.


Combined with my power it’ll pulverize shell, legs, claws, everything into mince.

“When the volume decreases, add more and crush!
“Ugghh…brute force huh. And messy…”
“Turning into a brown puddle…”
“Here, you two try pounding them too Raina, Ulrika. Mince them super fine.”
“Yesss…what is this?”

Taking turns mincing, steadily crushing the crabs.

But Raina and Ulrika seem weak, not changing much when pounding. So I did most of the crushing.

Shell, meat, bodily fluids all mixed crab paste. Doing this results in…

“Definitely complete mud huh…”

Yup, that’s mud alright. Grey and brown mixed, countless shell fragments floating in a gamey liquid. Nothing but mud now. I mean it’s not mud right?

“Wait, this some dark magic ingredient?”
“He’s saying it’s cooking.”
“I’m gonna head home I think…”
“Hold up, almost there! It’s almost done!”

The crucial part is next.

Transferring the mud – no – crab soup carefully paste and strained of foreign objects to another pot on the fire.

Takes some time with the size and the furnace fire but keep heating and…

“Oh, something’s floating up?”
“You’re right. Debris?”
“Not debris. Still simmering this.”
“…Is this scum?”
“Bunch is surfacing!? Not gonna remove it?”
“It’s fine, this is correct.”
“It’ll just be bubbly mud like this!”
“It’s not mud! Here, salt now! Sprinkled properly in…!”

Sprinkling in salt and how’s that.

“Woah, woah!? What’s this, it’s solidifying!”
“The mud got a bit transparent too! Mongrel senpai what is this…!?”
“I’m as clueless as you.”
“You don’t know!? When you made it!?”
“Sometimes that happens in life.”

Probably the proteins coagulating or something with the salt…that sorta thing probably.

Even if I knew the theory, explaining would be tricky. Skipping over it stable.

“Then keep heating up the crab miso and egg mix added…get the salt just right and it’s done!”
“The mud somehow turned into something like food!”

Called many things depending on region, but this dish I know as kani-ko soup.

Soup that’s just pure crab made by pulverizing it.

Soy sauce and miso would be good ideally, but going without since I don’t have any. Crab miso to make it work hopefully.

“Woah, it’s soup…smells nice!”
“The aroma…makes me hungry!”
“Dig in. I’ll teach you true crab cuisine.”

Serving the three of us soup and some vaguely solid crab chunks in deep dishes. Time to eat.


Ahhh tasty! 100% crab!
Best! Want soy sauce! Miso!
But the salt let’s the ingredients come through as is elegantly! Delish.

“Mmm…sho good…”

For some reason Raina’s been reacting to the food like a granny since earlier.

Well she seems to be enjoying it so whatever. I’m satisfied.

…Somehow feels like I’m getting way old always providing meals to young folks like this huh?

“Mannn I’m full…sho yummy.”
“I enjoyed it too! Didn’t know Mongrel-san was so good at cooking. Sheena would…”
“What about Sheena?”

I can cook if I just have ingredients…I can cook fine.
Just ingredients and…seasonings and…that’s all I want…that’s everything but…

“I’d eat crab instead of shrimp with this.”
“Oh right, you caught them huh? Fun, I wanna try too.”

Ulrika took the bait of delicious food.

“Yeah, got rods for everyone. Let’s go fishing sometime again when the season’s right. Wanna do lure fishing where hooks won’t snag this time but…oh right, of course we’ll coordinate with Artemis’ schedule properly when we fish.”
“Yay! Raina, let’s dress up a bit more next fishing trip!”

And so amid lively clean up together the cooking today ended.

Kani-ko soup. Feels like the basics of crab and salt make it potentially doable in most countries and cultures. But I wonder, there’s probably similar dishes if I searched this fantasy world. So today’s dish isn’t particularly groundbreaking or anything. More primitive really.

But man, been a while since I had onsen egg. Tasted better than my old world somehow since it’s local chicken. Maybe just my imagination.

“Waaaah Mom killed my crabby!”

And returning to the inn, seems the innkeeper’s wife had boiled the crab I gifted sometime that day. Poor thing.

But that’s how kids toughen up bit by bit…

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