Join us as we recreate Dora’s chunk of meat and the Tiger Moth Airship Stew, which look just like they do in the film.

On 19 August, Studio Ghibli added a new recipe book to its “Ghibli no Shokutaku Kodomo Ryouri Ehon” (“Ghibli’s Dining Table Children’s Cooking Picture Books“) series, this time giving us a number of recipes to make food seen in its 1986 animated movie, Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

▼ The book retails for 1,760 yen (US$12.10).

As the book encourages parents and children to make the meals together, our reporter Saya Togashi figured the recipes couldn’t be too hard, so she decided to make two meals that had long fascinated her — the Tiger Moth Crew Stew and the Lump of Ham Eaten by Dora.

▼ Dora’s ham was featured on the front of the book sleeve.

Saya is a novice cook, so if she was able to make these dishes then anyone can! She decided to start with the “lump of ham”, which is actually a big chunk of roast pork, as it needed to be marinated overnight.

The recipe calls for a one-kilogram (2.2-pound) block of meat, which needs to be slathered in oil, garlic slices and bay leaves and left to marinate overnight.

The following day, she tied the pork up into a tight mound with cooking string, then preheated the oven and set it to bake for 60-70 minutes.

While that was all happening, it was time to start preparing the stew, famously made by Sheeta in the Tiger Moth Airship.

▼ Let’s find out how many hours it took Sheeta to make her famous stew.

▼ First, prepare some large chunks of beef.

▼ Then chop the vegetables into nice big chunks.

▼ Add the meat, onions and water to a big pot, then add bay leaves and simmer for an hour.

This hour of stewing time would’ve given Sheeta some time to clean dishes and sort the kitchen out for the next step in the cooking process, which was to add tomato puree, potatoes and carrots and heat for another 30 minutes.

By this time, the pork looked to be just about ready, but now it needed to be wrapped in aluminium foil and left to rest for 20 minutes.

At this stage, the stew was really beginning to resemble the one in the film, and the place smelled glorious.

Two hours had now passed since the cooking process started, and the stew was now ready to eat with just one final ingredient — cheese!

Saya had always remembered how Sheeta so skilfully grated cheese into the pot, so Saya got out a knife to do it exactly as the character did.

With the meat and the stew now ready, it was time to eat like a pirate on an airship.

The difficulty level of the above two items was categorised as “easy to normal”, which seemed like a fair assessment as there wasn’t anything particularly technical about them. However, they do take time to prepare, so Saya was glad to have aside two hours’ cooking time.

▼ However, once the meals were done, those hours were worth it!

Dora’s Chunk of Meat looked absolutely fantastic, but it was missing one thing…a knife!

Saya couldn’t help but grin as she thrust the knife into the meat and lifted it to her mouth, just like Dora does in the movie.

▼ It was absolutely delicious!

Saya’s only complaint was the string, as it got in the way of her ravenous bites, but she needed it there for the anime aesthetic.

This was her first time making roast pork, and she couldn’t believe how juicy and tasty it was. The marinade had imbued the pork with so much flavour that she would go so far as to say it was one of the most delicious meals of meat she’s ever had in her life. No wonder Dora loved it!

▼ Next, it was time to try the Tiger Moth Stew.

Saya was excited to try this, because in the movie it was so good that all the pirates called for “okawari” (“seconds”). Tasting a spoonful, she was immediately transported to Sheeta’s cramped yet homey kitchen on the airship, as the home-cooked, hearty flavour filled her heart and taste buds with joy.

The beef was deliciously tender, due to the long simmering time, and the vegetables, despite being chunky, were thoroughly cooked. The tomato sauce was slightly tart, but evened out by the addition of cheese, which added a mellow richness to the mix.

▼ As with a lot of things, the more cheese she put it in, the more delicious it became.

It was one of the best things she’s ever eaten, and when her bowl was empty, she raised it in the air and called out, “okawari”, just like an air pirate.

▼ Okawari!

Image: Studio Ghibl

Saya was impressed not only bey the flavour of these meals but how similar they looked to the ones featured in the movie. Now that she’s had success with two Ghibli meals, she can’t wait to try more recipes from the book, and next time she’ll wear her Sheeta outfit for the occasion.

Related: Ghibli no Shokutaku Kodomo Ryouri Ehon Laputa: Castle in the Sky
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