When you think of freeze-dried foods, you might imagine things like astronaut ice cream, fruit snacks or maybe, if you're a camper or a survivalist, meals in big pouches to which you add hot water and stir. And if you enjoy Japanese food, you also may think of instant noodles.

However, freeze-dried dining in Japan isn't limited to noodles. One company in particular, has perfected the art of making freeze-dried meals that taste surprisingly good, and that's アマノフーズ Amano Foods, operated by Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.

They not only make things like miso soup with vegetables, curry dishes, and things like hearty stews and rice porridges, but they also make dishes that you wouldn't normally think possible in a freeze-dried format as part of their フリーズドライの匠 (furīzu dorai no takumi | freeze-dried master chef) series.

One of these is tonkatsu. Although it wasn't available at the time, they're currently selling a delicious-looking miso katsu, featuring big slices of breaded and fried pork tenderloin and a sweet and tangy miso sauce.

However, we were able to order another meal: shrimp tempura with scrambled eggs!

Topping for Shrimp Tempura with Scrambled Eggs on Rice

We ordered two packs of フリーズドライの匠 海老天とじ丼の素 furīzu dorai no takumi ebi-ten toji-don no moto from their online store and this is what it looked like when it arrived:

Photo by grape Japan

We were surprised by how light it was. The picture on the package already had us drooling. We love tempura and scrambled eggs, and the two together sounded great! This is the 素 moto, the mix—or in this case, the toppings—for a rice bowl, so we had to cook some rice, but other than that, we only needed hot water.

Photo by grape Japan

We removed it from the package and placed it in a bowl. We could see something that looked like a shrimp's tail, which made us chuckle. There was definitely whole shrimp tempura in there. In fact, there were supposed to be two!

At the same time, seeing a block like this, we couldn't help but wonder how good it could actually be...

Only one way to find out.

Photo by grape Japan

We needed to add 140 ml of hot water. Thankfully, we had a measuring cup handy...

Photo by grape Japan

After that, the instructions told us to begin gently separating the two shrimp tempura with chopsticks for 60 seconds while the hot water takes its effect reconstituting the ingredients, taking care not to break through the tempura breading while we're at it.

Photo by grape Japan

Then, we carefully slid the contents of our bowl onto our waiting rice bowl filled with steaming hot rice, and we were done! It smelled delicious and looked remarkably good for a freeze-dried meal!

Photo by grape Japan

Time to dig in.

The taste was authentic! Although the shrimp was slightly spongy and the batter wasn't crisp, which was to be expected since we had just poured hot water on it, it tasted like the shrimp tempura that you add to a bowl of soba or udon noodles, for example, with a great shrimp taste. The scrambled eggs were also quite decent. Fluffly and savory with the flavor or dashi. The addition of mitsuba leaves added to its authenticity and was also appreciated.

All in all, we were happily surprised and would definitely welcome an opportunity to try their miso katsu next!

Two packs of フリーズドライの匠 海老天とじ丼の素 furīzu dorai no takumi ebi-ten toji-don no moto will set you back 1,728 JPY (incl. tax) plus shipping at their online store here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.