Monday, 28 March 2011

Super Cute Picnic Bento


I was in the mood of making something very festive today and hence the various colourful characters: a yellow chick, an orange bear, a green frog, a pink piggy, a brown seal and a mutated (^-^) cow-piggy. I tried to colour the rice with natural food colourings: turmeric for the yellow chick, chili sauce for the orange bear (you can substitute this with tomato sauce too), soy sauce for the brown seal and spinach for the green frog (or you can use mashed edamame too). Unfortunately I had to use pink food colouring to colour the piggy because I simply had no idea how to get a pink hue with natural ingredients. I know a lot of bento makers use sakura denbu to colour the rice pink, but if you do a further research, you will find out that commercial sakura denbu has got added red food colouring as well. To be very honest, I am not fanatic about not consuming food colourings, it's quite hard to avoid anyway since food colourings are regrettably added in almost all commercial food products, especially in sweets and instant sauces or mixes. Think of smarties, coloured marshmallows, those instant soups from Maggi (and other brands) etc. I think it's okay to consume it as long as we do not exaggerate. I know there are people who are absolutely against adding food colouring to the food or dessert they cook or bake, and bash people who do, but they comfortably eat commercial food products which contain food colouring (and often in large quantity too). Hmmm, how pointless...! Don't you think that sometimes people who try to be politically correct (even in the kitchen) most of the time are often quite foolish?

Oh well, let's move on to a more exciting topic: dumplings :)!! Most of my faithful blog readers should know that I adore dumplings and before my blog recently evolves into a bento blog ;), I mostly posted about dim sum, rice and noodles recipes. So, my bento creations could actually never be complete without adding some of my homemade dumplings in them...! I should probably one day also make a dim sum bento: a bento box simply filled with different types of dumplings, yum...:)!



I made those dumplings above this morning. This time I didn't make the wrappers myself to save time. If you want to make the wrappers yourself, please check my previous dim sum recipes, such as the Kuotie recipe or the Boiled Jiao Zi recipe. The dumplings I made this morning are extremely easy to make with very simple ingredients - totally yummy too...!!

Pork and Green Onions Dumplings
  • 25 - 30 dumpling wrappers
  • 250 gram ground pork
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • White pepper and sugar to taste
Mix all ingredients (except the dumpling wrappers) and then fill around 1 teaspoon of the meat mixture into a dumpling wrapper. Close and pleat the wrapper. Repeat this process to the other wrappers.

I steamed my dumplings but you can also pan fry, deep fry or boil the dumplings. It's entirely your choice!



Bento Box 1: Cute animals onigiri filled with prawn tempura, Japanese rolled omelette/tamagoyaki, 2 slices of kiwi, grapes, strawberries, blueberries and red currant.




Bento Box 2
: baked chicken wings, cucumber slices, Parmesan crispy chicken, steamed pork and green onions dumplings, blanched broccoli and carrots, tamagoyaki, cherry tomato, piggy quail egg and red currant.


These two bento boxes are not only good for a picnic, but also for a movie night. A good alternative for the usual crisps or popcorns :)!

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64 comments:

  1. Yo quiero un plato de estos. Que delicia.
    Saludos

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  2. You do have a whole crew there along for the picnic! I love all your festive characters! Too bad you didn't have any beets for the pink(just to keep it all natural the way you like), I wonder if you can make beet powder to keep it on hand? What is inside your tamagoyaki, or is that just egg whites?

    Your dumplings look amazing and they are my favorite kind. I can't wait to see your dim sum bento!

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  3. Oh BTW, I agree with you about the food coloring, sometime you if you have to a little is fine. I don't like that the commercial foods feel the need to color everything so much like they do. Especially like fruit jelly or preserves. I never understood it. I also think they should leave fruit and vegetables natural with the blemishes and all. I hate that fruits and veggies are waxed and made to look perfect. I hope they don't color them as well!

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  4. bento and dumplings looks incredible!:)have a nice week!

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  5. @ Lyndsey - Thanks for the idea, I should try beet next time when I want to have pink rice...:)!! And you're right, it's simply two-coloured tamagoyaki, the inside is just egg white.

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  6. You are so creative! Love these Bento, they're fantastic!

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  7. Wow you are so creative!!! I love the photography, i am glad following you..

    Do visit me @
    http://valarskitchen-basics.blogspot.com/

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  8. Simply awesome! I heart your bento n dumplings ;)

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  9. Lovbe your Bentos!!! are amazing. Let me tell you my daughter see this and tell me make me one please!!! huggs gloria

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  10. These are so adorable!!! I love the little animals, especially the frog's eyes, too cute!

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  11. This is amazing! Love the cute characters! Keep up the wonderful work. :)

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  12. What gorgeous bento you have here! Always amazed with your creativity. Your dumplings were so perfectly pleated. Wow!!

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  13. wow... I thought your first picture was a magazine cover page! They look so good.... and really envy your skills in making dumpling... mine always look pathetic. If you din mention, I will think that the piggy quail egg is another food pick!

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  14. I'm gonna die from seeing too much cutenesss. Too cute!!! Heheheh yes I think it's ok to use a little food coloring. I use food coloring to prettify my pink rose cupcakes too ^_^

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  15. Very colorful and lavish looking bento dear> You have madeit look so attractive for all ares.

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

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  16. this is really the work of creativity! very cute!

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  17. You're definitely the queen of dumplings! And this bento is a super super creation. Ah, I don't know what to say, you ROCK! :D

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  18. aren't you such a patient kitchen artist! love them all. :)

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  19. What a very colorful bento box indeed. Liking the "mutated" cow-piggy - cute! Such a beautiful bento box. Your other bento box looks delicious even without the different animals. Thanks for sharing your lovely dimpling recipe with us.

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  20. wow..the bento is filled with adorable animal figures and nice foods :D

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  21. OK cutest bento ever!! Have you thought of starting a bento only blog CG? :D

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  22. i'm sure whoever eats will just brighten up their days..so colourful and the food looks really delcious. Your dumplings are amazing too, very beautifuuly wrapped. I agree with you on the food colouring and it's certainly not a big problem if we eat that once in a while.

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  23. cute,cute,cute,i want to eat,looks incredible

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  24. Awesome! Your dumplings are so nicely wrapped. Love all the neatly patterns. I can nv do this :(

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  25. whoa you're a pro in folding the dumpings!!!!
    i love the froggy and the piggie in the bento! brought a smile to my face!

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  26. Wow...lovely bento again! I just love all your animal shapes :D Love those dumplings...so well wrapped. Makes me feel like making some now.

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  27. I m speechless actually...looks awesome..
    Tasty Appetite

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  28. This is really"Super-cute" bento!
    I make Gyoza too,but your Gyoza wrapers are more beautiful.
    Rumiko

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  29. You seriously never fail to leave me in awe! These are way too pretty to eat- the little chick is definitely my favourite! :)

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  30. WOW! I'm impressed! Both bentos are so pretty and delicious :)

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  31. I will take the dumplings and my son will take the bentos. So, you have something for each one of us!They look very cute!

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  32. I know I always say this but I can not believe how good you are! Amazing! Oh and how dare you not make the dumpling wrappers homemade this time!? LOL! Those dumplings are beautiful and because I trust your taste...the next time I get the wrappers at the Asian Market, I am making your recipe for sure!!! Thanks!

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  33. Wow you made very nice dumplings! The picnic bento is so scrumptious!

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  34. Oh my gosh this looks so perfect, I love it!!

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  35. Bento and dumplings are delicious they looks beautiful you are amazing artist.

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  36. Your dumplings and bentos are beautiful!

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  37. The dumplings looks amazing! what a happy bento to bring to a picnic!

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  38. Wow, everything is cute, extremely cute! The dumplings looks great. This is a great bento picnic!

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  39. I really really love your dumplings! They look so perfect! I need to practice more to achieve that perfect pleats to make it appetizing :P

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  40. gosh! u always make my jaw dropped! pretty to the fullest!

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  41. wow this must have taken quite some time to make!
    its great!

    for the pink i was thinking you can use beet juice, cranberry sauce, or even just a light touch of tomato sauce. (:

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  42. It is really super-cute! You are really the expert :)

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  43. I love, love love bento box 2 with little piggy flag on it!!! you are just soooooo creative ! serious, make a video and put on youtube. It must be the hit of the day!

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  44. Those are cute looking lunches. :D

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  45. CONGRATULATIONS for being featured on Foodbuzz!
    Your bentos are always so great! xD

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  46. Amazing! Love the fact that you use natural food colorings. Beet juice for red works very well. My rice balls never stay in balls... Glad you got featured on the top 9 - your blog is great and I'm going to try many of your recipes!

    : )

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  47. hi CG, here's an award for u:
    http://iloveicookibake.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-first-blog-award.html
    :)

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  48. @ Everyone - Thank you for your nice comments...:D)!! I just noticed that this bento made it to Foodbuzz Top 9, which is fantastic :). Thanks for all your support!!

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  49. OH MY GOSH! This is amazing! One look at this and you know it is made with so much care and love. Too pretty to eat!

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  50. So cute! congrats on your top 9!

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  51. Beet or Cranberry juice (pure cranberry, not cocktail) make pretty pinks. Just a little works...

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  52. OMG everything is super cute! I don't know where to start..eating =P

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  53. This is the cutest and most clever thing I've ever seen. My son adores it as well!

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  54. I love these bentos - so pretty and appetising. Pls check this out http://yummykoh.blogspot.com/2011/03/surprise-award.html

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  55. Your pleating of the jiaozi looks really professional, like an old Beijing cook!! Mine are never as tidy... what's your secret? ^^

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  56. Woooww...questa è arte,congratulations!!!!!;-)
    Un bacione*

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  57. So Beautiful and wonderful. I wish I was at this level of bento making. I want to eat some of everything you made. Yum. Keep up the good work.

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  58. Really cute and colorful! Congratulations on top 9!. You have great technique making perfect pleats on gyoza also.

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  59. The obento is so adorable! Wow, with the pleating of the dumplings, it looks so good, better than most restaurants I eat at.

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