Monday, 26 March 2012

Spaghetti & Tamagoyaki Bento



Have you missed seeing my traditional bento :)? I know that charaben is not for everyone and it is certainly not really meant for grown ups (well, I guess for special occasion it's fine...), but most of the time the child in me needs to satisfy the urge to create something cute, thus the crazy amount of charabens in my blog. I do nevertheless also like to make traditional and more adult-oriented bentos. In fact, most of the bento boxes I own are very elegant and traditional-looking rather than cute, I just like to fill these boxes with cute and pretty things :D).

As you can see, the bento box contains quite various side dishes. The highlight of this bento box is Spaghetti with Mussels and Shrimps seasoned with XO sauce (the recipe is coming soon). I also made tamagoyaki filled with Habanero chili peppers, which I think turned out quite pretty! The sides include kimchi, carrot and cucumber pickles and creamy crab/cabbage salad.



And it's almost Easter.... I have to get some ideas for cute Easter-themed bentos :)!!

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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Easy Panda Bento



I received a set of nori punches from CasaBento a few days ago. I had been wanting to have these punches for a long time, but they were always somehow out of stock. I guess these punches must be very popular.


Source: Casa Bento

These nori punches would save you plenty of time when you want to make a cute bento but you don't really have much time to spare.

I needed less than ten minutes to make the two panda onigiris. For each panda onigiri I used 1.5 tablespoons of steamed rice which I formed into an oval shape with a plastic wrap. The three mini puppies (?) are made out of mini mozzarella balls and I used a quail egg punch to decorate their faces.



I had creamy crab and cabbage salad, beef rendang, store-bought sambal goreng udang (Indonesian stir-fried shrimps with Petai beans/stinky beans), half-boiled egg, a piece of strawberry and three pieces of cute shaped pasta (teddy bear and heart).

Creamy Crab and Cabbage Salad
  • 50 grams shredded cabbage
  • 50 grams imitation crab, sliced thinly
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons wasabi (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons (whole grain) Dijon mustard

Mix everything together and serve! Very yummy :)!!



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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Little Girl in Seal Suit Bento



I originally planned to make a little girl in puppy suit, but then I thought that the suit looked somehow more like a seal. Since I don't make seals for my charaben that often, in the end I just left the suit as it was and didn't try to make it look more like a puppy.




I had korokke (Japanese style potato and meat croquettes), chicken karaage, cucumber and carrot pickles, egg salad with mayo/wasabi, Dijon mustard dressing, half an egg which I made into a chick dressed in seal suit, Elmo cherry tomato, radish and ham flowers.

The little girl itself is made out of rice which I seasoned with soy sauce and the seal suit is plain white rice. The facial features are as usual made out of nori, cheese and deli meat. If you're curious what the whiskers of the seal are made out of, they're soba (buckwheat) noodles. The seal's tounge is umeboshi (pickled plum), which tastes great with rice.




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Monday, 12 March 2012

Panda Stamps Bento



I got the idea to make these cheese panda stamps out of the blue. I was looking at my collection of bento cutters, then I noticed that if I combined my bear cutter and bunny cutter together, I would be able to make a standing bear/panda. Do look at the tutorial below, it's pretty simple. Click the picture to make it bigger, in case that you can't read the instructions.

TUTORIAL






The panda stamps are lying on top of rice which I steamed with chopped carrots and dashi stock. The other box contains two fried panko shrimps, tamagoyaki filled with green onions and imitation crab, salad, mac n cheese and a few pieces of strawberries.







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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Smiling Tomatoes Bento


This is a quick and simply lunch with steamed rice topped with mini pan-fried tonkatsu which is drizzled with tonkatsu sauce - I know, I should practise drizzling the sauce better ;).

The two smiling cherry tomatoes are the only cute effect in this bento. If you want to recreate these smiling tomatoes at home, you could have a look at my Elmo tutorial - it's basically the same thing...

Some of the side dishes include tamagoyaki (filled with imitation crab and green onions), a piece of radish with a new carving design (I was getting bored with the usual 'star' design :)), a small portion of crab salad with mayo/wasabi dressing, half a boiled egg and a few bite-sized pieces of kiwi and strawberries.




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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Snoopy Bento



Today is slightly colder and windier than the last few days but I can see and feel that spring is definitely on its way. I am so glad that it doesn't get dark so soon as it used to be some weeks ago, it means a lot to me that I still can enjoy the sunlight when I am home from work :).



Today's character is Snoopy which I am sure most of you are familiar with. How old is Snoopy already? I seem to have known him as long as I can remember...! Oh, I just checked it out, he's from the 1950s, no wonder...;)!

I have to say that Snoopy is one of the easiest characters I have made so far. The three little Snoopies which are made out of goat cheese were cut out manually with a kitchen knife but the facial details were punched out with a nori puncher. They are sitting on top of a slice of German Pumpernickel bread.

The two bigger Snoppies are rice balls (onigiri) which I shaped by hands with a plastic wrap. For these two Snoopies, I had to cut out the facial details manually, since I only have mini nori punchers which are mainly used for decorating quail eggs.

The side dishes include two pieces of chicken nuggets, boiled egg, cherry tomato, a piece of radish and and a piece of strawberry.



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Monday, 5 March 2012

Lucky Cat - Maneki Neko Bento



Maneki Neko or Lucky Cat is a typical Japanese statue which symbolises luck. You will often see this cat in the entrance of Asian shops and restaurants. I am actually more a dog person and I am not really into cats, but lucky cats are an exception. When I was a child I used to read a Japanese manga called N.Y. Komachi or Belle of New York by Waki Yamato - this is one of my most favourites mangas. The heroine, Shino, owns an intelligent cat that loves to imitate a maneki neko - I like lucky cats due to this adorable fictional cat from a manga ;).



A few months ago I received this bento box with a Maneki neko picture from Bento USA. I find this bento box very cute! This bento box is currently on sale and costs $US 17.50.




The box has two compartments and the top tier includes a plastic lid.

Unfortunately today's lunch wasn't so special, I was too lazy to cook (I only cooked the rice and made the decorations), but the main dish was bought from a Greek food delivery service, it's Gyrospfanne (I have no idea what it's called in English - it's basically gyros with mushrooms and onions and some creamy sauce).

The lucky cat is made out of goat cheese. The yellow part of its face is soy paper, the black parts are nori and I used imitation crab for the red parts.





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Saturday, 3 March 2012

Seafood Ddukbokkie - Spicy Korean Rice Cakes with Seafood



When I went to Frankfurt last weekend, I had the chance to visit an Asian grocery store which is one of the biggest I know around the Hessen area. I was so happy when I saw fresh Korean rice cakes available in the store, I directly grabbed two packets and put them in my shopping basket.

A few months ago I made Rabokki, Korean rice cakes with ramen noodles, seasoned with Korean hot pepper paste. Unfortunately I had to use dried sliced Chinese rice cakes for the Rabokki, instead of the usual Korean cylinder-shaped rice cakes. It was good, but I knew that fresh rice cakes would make the dish taste even better!

This time I wanted to make the more popular Ddubokkie - simply rice cakes without the ramen noodles. Personally I find most Ddubokkie recipes too sweet and too bland, so this time I simply cooked the Ddubokkie to my liking - hot and savoury, instead of hot and sweet.

Seafood Ddubokkie
  • 500 gram fresh (cylinder-shaped) Korean rice cakes, cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 200 grams seafood (prawns, clams, squid, etc)
  • 100 grams chicken fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 100 grams fish cakes, sliced
  • 3 bird's eye chillies, seeded and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 50 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (or to your taste)
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a skillet. Add garlic and fish cakes and stir fry for one minute.
  • Add chicken, seafood, bird's eye chilli slices and fish sauce. Mix well and cook over medium heat until the chicken pieces are slightly brown.
  • Toss in all the other ingredients (except green onions) and cook for around 3 minutes. Coat the rice cakes well with the sauce.
  • Lastly, add green onions, mix well and turn off the stove.



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