Friday, March 17, 2017

Smartphone Shots

Inari chirashi bento
Inari chirashi bento
I hid chopped sweet salty aburaage in sushi rice instead of stuffing sushi rice into aburaage pouches. Ohitashi (spinach with dashi shoyu), turnip pickle and cheese mashed potato for side dishes.


Tompeiyaki bento
Tompeiyaki bento
Tompeiyaki (omelet with cabbage, pork and okonomiyaki sauce) and yukari fried chicken.


Chili sausage bento
Chili sausage bento
Sausages dressed with ketchup, a bit of shoyu and chili pepper. Sauteed pork balls. Tamagoyaki with edamame and kanikama.


Jambalaya bento
Jambalaya bento
Is this just fried rice? I slept in and had no cooked rice or time to soak rice in water before cooking it. I decided to make a paella-like thing because it can be cooked without soaking. Fortunately, there were these ingredients in the fridge. Into a large frying pan, I threw rinsed raw rice, water, tomato puree, chicken, sausage, onion, shiitake, curry powder and salt, then cooked until the rice was tender. I had to add in some more water, but it turned out good despite my impromptu.


Pork and veggie rice bento
Pork and veggie rice bento
Mini croissants for an evening snack.


Meatless bento
Meatless bento
This is an almost-vegetarian bento.


Happy March everybody! It's been a while. I have been on a phone camera kick lately. That's why I was absent from the blog. I feel like I finally got the hang of shooting bentos with my smartphone. Of course I've been using my camera as well, but it's so much fun to take pictures of foods with a smartphone and edit them with photo apps, isn't it? I think this kick will continue for a while. By the way, I edited these pictures with Snapseed. This app is so handy to make boring pictures look better and fun to play around with. It has been updated recently and is even easier to use than before.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Miso Soy Milk Soup

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I made two sorts of omusubi. One is with salted salmon and minced daikon greens, the other is with umeboshi, the leavings of my dashi shoyu, sesame seeds and sesame oil. I also made hakusai soy milk soup. While making the soup, I remembered that I hadn't bought salt yet so I seasoned the soup with miso. Geez, it turned out great! This is super easy to make (as always) and doesn't even call for any dashi/broth, just cook. Give it a try!

I put in...

Water
Cut hakusai (napa cabbage) and bacon
Some miso (light-colored type)
Some rice flour (or flour/starch) to slightly thicken
About one third or fourth as much soy milk as water
A tiny bit of butter for aroma


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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Chikuwa Isobeage - Tempura

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Woow. It's already February. I don't want to believe that, nooo! Haha! Well, we're sure heading for spring, little by little. I used a wappa bento for the first time in ages. It turned out that I was not a wappa lover. My other wappa has also been abandoned somewhere in the kitchen... Poor Wappa, ha! The bento today is meatless. I want to make meatless bentos more often. I made sweet potato walnut salad, chikuwa isobeage and lotus root stir-fry. The shoyu egg half and salted salmon are leftovers. I love chikuwa-no-isobeage. Isobeage is a sort of tempura, with aonori (green seaweed) in its tempura batter. I don't mind shallow/deep frying in the morning when I have enough time.


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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bibimbap

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I couldn't post yesterday so this is my first bento this week. I started the week with easy bentoing as usual. I've prepared these toppings the night before. There are pork stir-fry, a shoyu egg half, carrot, spinach, moyashi (sprouts), gochujang (Korean sweet, salty chilli paste) and rice in the bento. I seasoned the toppings separately. Sadly, I ran out of salt halfway so the spinach and moyashi look brown and darker because I seasoned them with shoyu instead. The soup jar contains hakusai & shiitake soup. We do love bibimbap. You can eat tons of veggie with it. Thank you Korean food. Good gochujang is a must!


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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Curry Onion Chicken

Today's veggie is a salad of cabbage, bean sprouts and spinach. Yeah spinach is in season right now, why not eat it? The rest of this bento are cheese omlet with ketchup, teriyaki shiitake and curry onion chicken. I marinated chicken pieces in some grated onion and salt the night before and sauteed them with carrot and curry powder in the morning. Grated onion makes chicken increadibly tender and adds extra flavor.


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Happy weekend!!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fried Kabocha Gyoza Pie

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Hi there! Wow I am on track... So far so good. :) This bento contains shoyu egg halves, onion chicken saute, butter sauteed carrot, spinach salad, light brown rice and gyoza?? Yuppi is going to have a cooking session at school soon. Since they were given kabocha squash as a subject, she came up with an idea of fried kabocha pies using gyoza skins (wrappers). She gave it a try at home ahead. She made two versions of fillings. One is mashed kabocha mixed with cooked ground meat, plus cream cheese. The other is mashed kabocha mixed with crushed walnuts, a bit of sugar and butter, plus cream cheese. Both turned out great, I may have to swipe the idea and recreate them myself. I think pumpkin or apple pie filling will work as well. The crust is crispy and flaky, just like real pie crust. Maybe pleating the wrappers is a key for the flakiness. Fresh fried ones are divine!


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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Teriyaki Burg

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The things I packed in the bento today are spinach salad, potato edamame salad (leftover), mini teriyaki burgers, a shoyu egg half and light brown rice. I just started light brown rice again after a long break from it. Yuppi and I find that it's better than normal white rice. I prepared the spinach and shoyu eggs last night and this morning I just cut the shoyu eggs in half, and mixed the blanched spinach with seasoned fish flakes (from my dashi shoyu making). I never waste the leavings of dashi shoyu after using up the dashi shoyu itself. You could use the leavings (kongo-bushi and kombu) as a seasoning or condiment, by the way. For the teriyaki burgers, I quickly chopped chicken breast and pork slices with a knife and grated some onion, added in rice flour, salt and black pepper and mixed all together, then sauteed and seasoned with shoyu and mirin... Phew. My way of seasoning foods is always simple. I was happy with the result. Sometimes I fail though.


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Monday, January 23, 2017

Yakiniku Chahan and Hakusai Soup

My first bento of every week tends to be fried rice. I think that's maybe because I don't need to wonder what I should make for bento. My brain refuses to start working on Monday morning LOL. We tend to eat out on Sunday evening and that means no leftovers for bento next morning. This morning, I made yakiniku chahan (fried rice), hakusai (napa cabbage) soup and broccoli salad. The soup is actually super easy to make by the way (doesn't require any brain activity, haha!). For the chahan, first I made scrambled eggs and a yakiniku-like thing -- dressed thin-sliced pork with sake, shoyu and a bit of starch in a frying pan, then sauteed and chopped with a scissor. After that, I stir-fried onion and then added in rice, the chopped yakiniku and scrambled eggs. Stir-fried everything together, seasoned with shoyu, salt and black pepper. Voila!


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The soup consists of chicken broth, cut hakusai, sliced shiitake, salt and black pepper. You just toss them in a pot and cook (it's no time/effort consuming). The happy thing is hakusai is in season right now and delicious!


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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Easy Bento for Mock Exam

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This is a bento I prepared for Yuppi's mock exam, which she took with her to the exam center. I whipped up ketchup chicken fried rice and an omelet. Aren't rice dishes like omuraisu, fried rice or donburi easy to eat? Especially when you aren't so comfortable. That said, I just didn't want to put much effort into only one bento haha! Take it easy, make it easy. Since it was freezing that day, I added a thermal jar of instant potage.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Secret to Crispy Crunchy Karaage

In this bento are crispy crunchy karaage, hakusai (napa cabbage) pickled in vinegar, sugar, salt, doubanjiang and sesame oil. Cabbage chikuwa salad tossed with sesame seeds, sesame oil and salt. Kanikama omelet pieces with a chilli sauce of ketchup, green onion, doubanjiang, salt and rice flour.


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Tips and secrets for crispy and crunchy chicken karaage (my method)

1). Generously dredge seasoned chicken pieces in plenty of potato starch (not flour).

2). Before frying, let them sit for more than 10 minutes to get the starch moist and to stick to the chicken.

3). Shallow-fry them instead of deep-frying.

4). Half-cover the pot with a lid while frying. A moderate amount of water vapor (steam) from the chicken makes the starch coating crispier and lighter.

5). Drain the fried chicken on paper towels to soak up the excess oil.


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In this way, you'll get the perfect karaage crust! Hope it helps. :)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Wafu Curry

Happy Friday and weekend! I made wafu curry for bento today. Wafu means Japanese-style something. Wafu curry is generally made with dashi (Japanese fish-based broth), shoyu and curry powder. It's easy to make if you have curry powder and mentsuyu (a shoyu-based noodle sauce). This time I made mine with my own dashi shoyu, mirin, curry powder, onion, thin pork belly slices, shimeji mushrooms, aburaage (fried tofu) and rice flour as a thickener. I also like to add koya-dofu (dried tofu) instead of meat or aburaage. Both can be great meat substitutes.


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This bento contains a fried egg on rice, and carrot salad tossed with crushed walnuts, lemon dressing and black pepper. Plus, of course piping hot wafu curry.


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Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Rest of 2016 Bento Part 2

I made these bentos quite a while ago. I don't remember exactly what I made for them, but you'll find out what my bento food routine looks like if you see them carefully. It's actually my food rut rather than routine LOL. Cheese omelets with ketchup (I like to have it in my bento for some reason). Folded or boiled eggs (I don't want to eat tamagoyaki/omelets every day). Chicken karaage (Yuppi's very favorite). Cucumber pickle (it's good except for winter). Teriyaki or fried salmon (when it's in season). Chicken or pork saute (I'm not big on beef). Potato or sweet potato salad (I could eat them every single day!). Ninjin shirishiri (it's a nice bento dish and I want my family to eat more carrots). By the way, I rarely use lettuce or mini tomatoes as a bento divider or accessory (though, I secretly want to use them because they fancy up my boring bentos LOL).


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Rest of 2016 Bento Part 1

I officially got into the swing of things today. Before my 2017 bentos go, let me post some of my 2016 bentos I haven't done yet.


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Hainanese chicken rice styled bentos --- Steamed chicken on beds of rice. Corn on the cob, cucumber, mini tomatoes and boiled eggs as garnishes. A sauce of shoyu, doubanjiang, vinegar and sesame oil for the chicken and garnishes. Sweet potato salad for a side.



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Naporitan udon and summer veggie salad. Creamy sesame dressing for the salad.



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Ume gohan (rice mixed with umeboshi, shirasu, sesame seeds). Cucumber pickled in dashi shoyu, mini tomato pickled in onion dressing, bacon scrambled eggs and chicken tsukune with okonomiyaki sauce.



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Thermal jars of curry, rice, potato salad and a stir-fry of kikurage, shirataki and satsumaage.



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Crispy chicken karaage, honey teriyaki salmon, ham egg salad, broccoli with mayo, mini tomatoes and mashed kabocha squash.



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Ketchup chicken rice topped with cheese omelets. Grilled corn on the cob and curry flavored potato edamame salad.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Hello 2017

Belated Happy New Year everybody! This is my very first bento this brand new year, made with some leftovers from our New Year's foods, not as gorgeous though. I'm not a big fan of Japanese traditional New Year's dishes (Osechi), but at least make our favorite ones every year. I didn't photograph them as I was too busy. Sorry if there is anyone interested in our osechi. In the bento are kuromame (sweet black soy beans), nishime (simmered root vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and chicken ), omelet pieces (naruto, bacon, green onion) and a shrimp dumpling (store bought).



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