Monday, 11 July 2011

Szechuan Hotpot Style Udon Noodle Soup



Hello again, my dear readers...! I am still alive and kicking despite of not being active virtually for one whole week :). In fact I feel very well and rather excited because I am officially on a long summer vacation now :D).

I thought about making a bento lunch today, but I finally decided to make a 'normal' meal which wouldn't take so much time to make, since I still had to do a lot of packing.

This soup tastes quite similar to my Szechuan Noodles with Wontons and Meatballs, but this udon noodles soup has got more toppings and looks indeed prettier ;).

Ingredients
- serves 2
  • 400 g Udon noodles
  • 250 g ground pork
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 3 tbs 'Fried pork with chili in oil'
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • Dashi powder to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 800 ml water
  • Chopped green onions
  • Topping suggestions: store-bought meatballs, fish balls, shiu mai, chikuwa (fish cake), shrimps, you tiao (Chinese bread stick), boiled egg, mushrooms and sugar snap peas.
Instructions
  • Heat 1 tbs oil in a wok.
  • Toss in the ground pork and chopped onion and stir fry until slightly brown.
  • Add fish sauce, 'fried pork with chili in oil', oyster sauce and pepper.
  • Simmer the meat sauce, stirring occasionally until cooked through.
  • Add 800 ml water and dashi powder to taste.
  • Add udon noodles and the toppings (except the you tiao) and cook for a few minutes.
  • Garnish with green onions and you tiao slices.



Happy Cooking :)!
Bookmark and Share

Monday, 4 July 2011

Totoro & Friends Bento



I was a bit in two minds whether I should make another Hello Kitty-themed bento or Totoro bento to end this week. I finally decided for Totoro, because I do like Totoro better than Hello Kitty ;). But I am sure I will still make the Hello Kitty bento I had in mind in the next few days (or weeks), especially because I do not want to disappoint the people who have been waiting for my other Hello Kitty-themed bentos :).



I don't have the motivation to get back to work again tomorrow, because I have been in summer vacation mode for some time. I guess, I simply need to be patient, because it's only one more week to go and then I am (somehow) free...:D)!! I made today's bento especially cheery to remind myself that my summer vacation is indeed coming soon :). I hope you will all enjoy looking at this bento as much as I did making it :)!




I included all three Totoros this time: Totoro, the gigantic friendly forest plus his companions, the blue Chu-Totoro and the petite white Chibi Totoro. I also made some Susu Wataris (dark sootballs which inhabit dark places and immediately flee in the presence of light) to make the bento more 'Totoro-festive'.

I like this Totoro bento much much more than my first Totoro bento, which I now think looks quite ugly. My second Totoro bento is quite cute IMHO, but the mini Totoros indeed look more like little mice than Totoros :).

I used toasted ground black sesame seeds to colour the rice dark gray (for the giant Totoro). Since I didn't have red cabbage available, I did use a tiny drop of blue food colouring for the Chu-Totoro. If you want to have a natural blue colour, use the juice of red cabbage and a bit of baking soda. The sootballs are made out of cheese and nori, the red flowers of radish and cheese and the yellow ones of cheddar cheese and goat cheese.

The side dishes today include a portion of salad with a few pieces of pan-fried chicken karaage and feta cheese and the smallest bento box is filled with Japanese-style stir-fried pork with peppers, sugar snap peas and shirataki noodles. You can also see one half of soy sauce-soaked egg and a piece of strawberry.

Japanese-Style Pan-Fried Pork with Shirataki Noodles
  • 500 grams pork, very thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200 grams Shirataki noodles
  • 100 grams sugar snap peas, sliced
  • 5 mini green peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 3 tablespoons sake
  • A pinch of sugar and pepper




Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Strawberry Girls Bento



I just did my first aid course today which was supposed to last for 8 hours. Luckily, we managed to finish earlier :). I learned a few new things which are very useful, but most of the things were plain boring, so I am glad it's over....!!

When I was sitting and 'listening' to the first aid lecture, I was thinking of what to make for today's bento :). So, this bento is the result of me being bored in the lecture ;).

As usual, I used red beet juice to make the pink rice. The two little girls are made out of quail eggs, coloured with soy sauce. Underneath the strawberry shaped rice there is pan-fried chicken karaage. The flowers are goat cheese and cheddar cheese, and of course my bento is never really complete without a portion of salad and fruit :).







Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Duck & Avocado Chirashi Sushi Bento



I am back...:)! What a stressy and tiring week! I am glad it's over. Unfortunately I'll have to be away again tomorrow for a first aid course. I don't feel like doing it, but I need to, since I intend to get a driver's license this summer.

Today's bento is again quite simple and traditional. I used my new bento box from Japan, which you can see below. It looks very sweet and elegant, but it arrived much smaller than I expected. This bento box is very petite - I'd say, great for portion control!



The main course of today's bento is roasted duck with avocado chirashi sushi. I used brown rice instead of white rice and some slices of mushrooms, sugar snap peas and green peppers.

Duck and Avocado Chirashi Sushi
  • 1 plate sushi Rice
  • 50 grams store-bought roasted duck, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons avocado cubes
  • 3 sugar snap peas, sliced
  • 2 mini green peppers, seeded and sliced
Instructions
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan.
  • Add mushrooms and roasted duck and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  • Drizzle with soy sauce and mirin. Then add sugar snap peas and green peppers and stir-fry for another 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  • Add sushi rice and mix well.
  • Decorate with avocado cubes.





Bookmark and Share