Monday, 27 June 2011

Pan-Fried Chicken Karaage Bento



This was my husband's lunch - looks quite healthy, doesn't it? Unlike last time, this time, I pan-fried the chicken karaage. A much healthier alternative and still very yummy too!

I've not really been in the mood of making cute bentos since a few days ago, probably much to my husband's delight ;). He prefers traditional-looking bento meals like today's bento. I've been feeling very tired for a few weeks, but this is going to be over soon because in two weeks' time I'll have my summer holiday :)!! However, due to work commitment, next week I'll be away for a few days from home. But, once I am back, I promise I'll come up with something new again :).

If I have not visited your blogs or replied your e-mails for some time, I do apologise...! After I am back from the trip, most of my work will be more or less done, so I'll have more time to make more bento meals, visit your blogs and reply your comments and e-mails :D).

Pan-Fried Chicken Karaage
  • 4 chicken tighs, deboned and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil to pan-fry the chicken
Mix all ingredients well (except the oil) and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Heat your non-stick pan, add the oil and pan-fry the chicken until cooked and golden brown.

My husband loved this chicken karaage! And we didn't even have to have a bad conscience after eating it either, it's relatively healthy and absolutely scrumptious!



I stole the idea of the half avocado/half boiled egg from Shizuoka Gourmet's site :).

The bottom box is filled with rice, decorated with toasted sesame seeds, rucola and two sweet pepper slices. There are also three cherry tomatoes, lettuce border, pan-fried chicken karaage, lemon to zest the chicken and pan-fried green pepper.

The top box is filled with avocado/soy sauce soaked egg combo, tamagoyaki with Serrano smoked ham and salad on top of a bed of Tzaziki sauce.


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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Chirashi Sushi



This is my first time making Chirashi sushi. I was actually never tempted to try Chirasi sushi because I thought that Chirashi sushi always meant sushi rice topped with raw fish, because that's what I always saw in restaurants (and I am not that fond of raw fish, I only can eat raw salmon so far). But then I saw some chirashi sushi posts by Shizuoka Gourmet - he's a French national (I think) living in Shizuoka, Japan. His Japanese wife makes him the most mouthwatering bento, which he posts in his blog regularly, along with his other stories and and pictures of his food adventures in Japan.

Correct me if I am wrong, but apparently chirashi sushi simply means sushi rice (rice mixed with vinegar, salt and sugar) topped with any kind of ingredients you like. Since I love sushi, I thought that I really should give chirashi sushi a try.

Basic Sushi Rice
  • 3 cups short grain rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
  • Wash the rice until the water almost runs clear.
  • Cook the rice/water mixture in a rice cooker.
  • Make the vinegar/sugar/salt mixture in a separate bowl.
  • When the rice is cooked, pour in the vinegar mixture and gently mix the rice.
Topping Suggestions
  • Scrambled egg
  • Shiitake mushrooms, julienned and simmered in soy sauce, mirin, a pinch of sugar and dashi powder
  • Boiled Shrimps
  • Sugar snap peas, sliced
  • Cucumber, julienned
  • Blanched lotus root, thinly sliced
  • Tobiko (Flying fish roe)
  • 1 boiled egg, quartered
  • Nori (roasted seaweed), cut into thin strips
  • Toasted sesame seed



Verdict: Chirashi sushi is definitely worth a try! It's delicious and easier than sushi rolls to make :).

Today's song is again from Ayumi Hamasaki, called 'Mirrorcle World'.




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Friday, 24 June 2011

Daisy Onigiri Bento



Let me just do a quick post: the bento today consists of onigiri decorated with nori and daisy cheese. The side dishes include stir-fried kimchi with prawns, stir-fried bok choy with mushrooms and Indonesian spicy chicken and eggs (seasoned with fresh tomato puree, sambal oelek, a pinch of sugar and lemongrass powder). There's a portion of salad too. The two little chicks are made out of quail eggs coloured with turmeric - yes, these chickies are leftovers from two days ago...!





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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Moo-Cow Rilakkuma Bento



I have to admit, I didn't make this bento to eat it. I made it for fun, that's why the lack of 'yummy' ingredients. Just eggs and rice, they don't look so appetising, do they? To be honest, I am still very busy, so to get away from my pile of work, I sneaked into the kitchen and made bento instead *uuppss* ;). So for the time being Rilakkuma has to stay overnight in the fridge and I'll probably eat him tomorrow for lunch with a side dish - Wow, I do sound quite brutal, don't I...;)!



Rilakkuma's face is made out of soy-sauce tinted hard-boiled egg and the cow suit of rice and nori. The two little chicks are quail eggs, tinted with turmeric and the facial features are from nori.


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Monday, 20 June 2011

Unazukin Dolls Bento



I always wanted to make Matryoshka bento, but I thought that the facial expressions looked too complicated to make. But then I saw a picture of an Unazukin doll, which is a reminiscent of a Matryoshka doll, however the facial features are simplified and 'cutified' ;) - which is typical Japanese, I think.

The Unazukin dolls react to voice and can nod and shake their heads when questioned. They are meant to be a special friend who can give you some advice. The idea is actually somehow nice, but it's rather silly, because they will also shake or nod their heads when you bang the table or simply turn on the radio, since they're sound-activated ;)



The Unazukin dolls are created by Bandai, the company which also produces Tamagotchi.



The faces of my Unazukin dolls are made out of soy sauce-tinted quail eggs. The pink one is coloured with beet juice and the yellow one with turmeric powder. Their clothes are decorated with cheese (and salami) flowers and lettuce.

The other bento box is filled with boiled dumplings and chicken teriyaki/hot sauce/salad wrapper.




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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Rice Vermicelli with Beef Balls and Gyoza



Yes, I do love my noodles...! As you might have noticed, I do post about noodles quite regularly too, if I don't make bento, I always seem to make noodles somehow ;). I usually eat udon or egg noodles, but this time I wanted to have something different and made something with rice vermicelli. This dish might look complicated, but in reality it's pretty simple.

Ingredients

Rice Noodles
  • 100 g rice vermicelli, cooked
  • 1/2 tablespoon Schweineschmalz (pork lard) or sesame/olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • A pinch of pepper
Toppings (Suggestions)
  • Store-bought beef balls, cooked
  • Homemade (or store-bought) gyoza
  • 1 boiled egg
  • Savoury ground chicken/pork (I used leftover gyoza's filling and stir-fried it)
  • Chopped green onion
  • Fried shallots (or onion)
  • Soy-sauce soaked mushrooms
  • Naruto maki (Japanese fish cakes)
  • Bok choy, blanched
Instructions
  • Combine cooked vermicelli with Schweineschmalz, fish sauce, oyster sauce and pepper.
  • Top the vermicelli with beef balls, pan-fried gyoza, egg, chopped green onion, fried shallot, bok choy, etc - basically anything you want...!



I love eating my noodles with Szechuan chili oil. If you don't have this, you can use other types of chili sauce too.

By the way, I watched the Japanese series 'Ordinary People' when I was still in primary school....!! I have always liked the OST 'True Love' by Fumiya Fujii from this series, this brings back lots of memories...*very old school* ;).




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Hello Kitty Kaburinbo Bento


Hello everyone...! Here I am again with another bento lunch :D)! Ever since I have started working, I've learned to appreciate my weekends much much more, because the weekends are always over too quickly...

Anyway, I was inspired to make today's bento after I saw a few Hello Kitty in other Sanrio character suits pictures here. I am actually not a fan of Hello Kitty, but I love seeing her in different cute suits and her facial features are quite simple to make too.



The Hello Kitty on the left is wearing a Keroppi suit. The green suit is made out of eggsheet coloured with a drop of green food colouring. The eggsheet recipe can be found here. The Keroppi's eyes are made out of mozzarella cheese and nori.

 

Keroppi lives with his brother, sister and parents in a big house on the edge of Donut Pond, the largest and bluest pond around. Keroppi and his friends share his love for baseball and boomerangs. Most often he is seen with his little snail friend Den Den, always tagging along a little behind.
(Source: Sanrio.com)


The Hello Kitty on the left is wearing a Kuromi suit. Well, it doesn't really look like Kuromi, but anyway, I think it's not that bad... The suit is made out of nori and Kuromi's facial features are made out of cheese, nori and pink eggsheet.


My Melody’s friendly rival is a tomboy who loves making mischief and causing trouble! Although she may look tough, she is actually very girly and is attracted to good-looking guys! Kuromi enjoys writing in her diary and is hooked on romantic short-stories. Her favorite colour is black and her favorite food is shallots. Fittingly, her birthday is October 31st.
(Source: Sanrio.com)



Both Hello Kitty onigiris are filled with chicken teriyaki and mayo. There are also two slices of okonomiyaki in the bento box:).

For today's song I've chosen 'Green' by Ayumi Hamasaki. To be honest, I don't really like her voice very much and I only like a few of her songs. But her music videos are often very well-made, just like this one. Enjoy...:)!



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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Bento Contest


I know I have been absent for a few days, I've been awfully busy this week and had no real time (and motivation) to cook. Anyway, there is nevertheless a very good news: there is another BENTO CONTEST by CasaBento :D)! You can find the details in BentoChannel.

Long story short, the contest is actually a game where you have to find an onigiri in distress which has lost his way.

If you want to join this bento hunt contest, the only thing you have to do is write an e-mail to bentochannel (at) casabento (.) com and tell them where you have found the image of this little onigiri in CasaBento's site.



The image of Onigiri in Distress which you have to find in CasaBento's site!


The lucky winner will be randomly selected and will receive ALL the goodies below :)!! So, join in...!!! You have time to participate until midnight GMT +1 on 22nd June 2011. This bento game is open to everyone around the world! Have fun :)!





Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Chicken Karaage & Rucola Sushi Bento



I thought about making a charaben today, but I got too lazy, so I made sushi instead ;). I I filled in the sushi rolls with chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken), rucola, Sriracha chili sauce and mayonnaise. It was delicious...!! I was always playing safe and the only kinds of veggies I'd used so far were cucumber, lettuce, spring onions and avocado. Now I am adding rucola too and I don't regret it!

Last week I also made chicken karaage using Nami's recipe from Just One Cookbook. I still used her recipe but I added minced garlic to the chicken this time so that I can annoy my colleagues tomorrow with my bad breath...;)! *Uuppsss*

Chicken Karaage
Adapted from Just One Cookbook

2 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
A pinch of pepper
5 skinless & boneless organic chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
1½ cup corn starch (more or less)
Oil for deep frying

Mix all ingredients (except the oil) and marinate for 30 minutes before deep frying the chicken pieces.




The left bento box contains chicken karaage drumsticks, pan-fried shao mai and one piece of radish. The right bento box contains chicken karaage/rucola/mayo/chili sauce maki sushi and a few pieces of strawberries, grapes, cherries and blueberries.



As you can see, I use this red bento box with Ikebana design quite often. The shape of this bento box makes it easy to fill. It's got a quite nice size too, not too big but also not to small.



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Monday, 13 June 2011

Mameshiba & Friends Bento



Mameshiba is a Japanese character created in 2008 by Japan's largest marketing agency, Dentsu.

WHAT IS MAMESHIBA?
Mameshiba is a very strange, but very cute, creature that has the body of a bean and the face of a dog. The Mameshiba family is made up of over 20 members (Note: I think, now 25), they have angelic faces and sweet voices, but the stories they tell will spoil any listener’s appetite... For instance, they might surprise you with phrases such as this one: “You know what? When you kiss, 200 million bacteria are passed on from mouth to mouth each second.”
(Source: Curiosite)





The mameshiba I made today are the black bean mameshiba, the purple colour is supposed to be darker, but I didn't want to add too much red cabbage juice to the rice.



I also made two bear-onigiris in suits - but I myself don't know what kind of suit ;).

The left bento box contains chicken teriyaki drumsticks and pan-fried shao mai, and the round bento box at the back contains rucola salad with vinaigrette dressing.




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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Piggy Hello Kitty Bento


Yay, it's weekend...:)! And double yay that we have a long weekend here in Germany :D)!! I am feeling slightly better than yesterday and the opera was quite nice (I know I wrote 'concert' yesterday, but it's not true, I was too tired and just wrote whatever without thinking much). My husband's colleague composed one of the pieces performed in the opera and we were invited to watch it. The music was beautiful but the story was a bit weird. It's actually a story about the legendary Sumerian King, Gilgamesh, but it only contains about 2% of the real story. I think people who have no background knowledge of the legend would have difficulty understanding what the opera is about. Anyway, it was a nice experience, because I had never been to a real theater before, in the past I only had the chance to watch a ballet performance 'Swan Lake' and some piano concerts.

I went to the gym this morning, so all my bones are still somehow sore (and I know tomorrow it's going to get even worse... ;)). I've started going to the gym since last week, with the hope to live healthier, since I spend too much time sitting down in front of the computer. I thought about not doing any bentos today and only wanted to relax and enjoy my long weekend. But then this little sweetie below arrived - my new bento box from CasaBento :)!!



I LOVE wooden bento boxes! They look traditional and elegant. This is my second wooden bento box. My first one has got the same colour and is made of the same material, Wappa wood, but the shape is oval instead of round. Check out some awesome traditional bento boxes here!

Some people who have visited CasaBento website in the past will notice that the website has got a new look now, which I think is fantastic. It is now much more organised and easier to navigate.



This bento box has two tiers, the bottom part is deeper, around 8 cm, and you can fill it in with quite a lot of food. The top tier is around 4 cm high.

One thing which is not so practical about this bento box is it's not microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Since I am somebody who loves her dishwasher, I wasn't very happy about this fact. But in the end I got used to manually washing my (first) wooden bento box and it normally takes me less than a minute to wash it, so it's really okay after all (yes, call me lazy...;)!!).




I filled in my new bento box with Hello Kitty onigiri in piggy suit plus some pan-fried wontons, radishes, mini peppers, tamagoyaki, deli-meat flower and lettuce.

The piggy suit is made out of eggsheet coloured with a drop of red food colouring. I didn't have red cabbage available, or I would have tried colouring the eggsheet pink with the cabbage. Please only use the eggwhite to make the eggsheet, because if you use the egg yolk too, the pink colour is not going to show - or maybe it would, but you'd have to use way much more food colouring, which I do want to avoid.


Pink Eggsheet - make 1 (diameter: 30 cm)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca or corn flour, mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 drop red food colouring
  • Oil to grease a non-stick pan.
Directions
  • Mix all ingredients well.
  • Use a kitchen strainer to sieve the eggwhite.
  • If you still see some bubbles, remove them with a spoon. This will make sure that the eggsheet turns out smoothly.
  • Oil a non-stick pan with a kitchen paper.
  • Pour the eggwhite mixture and heat the pan under very low heat.
  • When the top part of the eggsheet gets slightly glossy and hardens, you may turn off the heat.
  • Be careful not to break the eggsheet when you remove it from the pan.



Do you see the pretty pink cloth with polka-dots pattern underneath the bento box? It's actually a furoshiki, but since I usually eat my bento at home, I love using it as decor for my bento photo session :).



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Friday, 10 June 2011

Green Tea Soba Soup with Ebi Furai



This was my dinner yesterday: green tea soba soup with fried panko coated shrimps, soft-yolked egg, naruto maki (fishcakes), omelet flower and chopped green onions.

This might look complicated but it was actually very simple to make, because the fried shrimps are store-bought and I only had to deep-fry them. The soup simply consists of hot water, dashi powder, soy sauce, mirin and Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7-spice powder).

Just like yesterday, I feel totally dead tired today....I hope I will feel more awake later in the evening - I am going to visit a concert!


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Chick-Balls Bento



As promised, here is my husband's bento which I made yesterday, also with chicken karaage. The chick-balls (I call them chick-balls, because they look like cheese balls ;))are made out of mini Kartofellknödel (German potato dumplings).

I used a plastic bento container which I got from Maruyasu. Good that I didn't throw it away, I somehow knew that I would use it for my own bento...;).

That's it for now, I am too tired to write more... Till next time...:)!



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Thursday, 9 June 2011

Little Bee-Bear Bento



Have you been missing my posts ;)? Well, I guess not, the last time I posted something was just two days ago ;). I've been super busy the last few days and this will go on for the next few weeks unfortunately...But I will somehow find some time to make some bento meals.

Today's bento meal consists of a bee-bear made out of brown rice. The bee suit is made out of egg sheet with nori and the ears are mini Kartoffelknödel (German potato dumplings) and cheese. I also made Chicken Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) to eat together with the brown rice. I stole Nami's recipe again from Just One Cookbook to make the karaage, it's delicious...:D)!!

Chicken Kaarage

2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon grated ginger
5 skinless & boneless organic chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
1½ cup corn starch (more or less)
Oil for deep frying

Mix all ingredients (except the oil) and marinate for 30 minutes before deep frying the chicken pieces.



I also made a bento dinner for my husband with chicken karaage, but I will save it for tomorrow's post.



Today's Song of the Day is 'Shoreline' by Anna Ternheim, a Swedish singer-songwriter. I got to know this song from a very dear friend of mine. Unfortunately we have lost contact. I hope he's happy and well...


video