Omurice Bento

Today’s Bento is an Omurice Chick!

Omurice or Japanese Omelet rice is a fusion between fried rice and omelet. The rice is usually pan-fried with ketchup and chicken before being wrapped in thin sheet of egg and a great way to use up leftovers.

According to Hyosun from Korean Bapsang, omurice gained a lot of popularity after appearing in a Korean drama called Rooftop Prince (옥탑방 왕세자). She also gives a recipe if you would like to make this at home.

Most omurice versions will have some more ketchup drizzled on top of the omelet, but I turned mine into a chick by adding some face decoration made from carrot and cucumber. I completed this bento with some more veggies and raspberries. There is some soy sauce in the cute little chick bottle.

 

I now also share more (food) photos on Instagram

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Happy Valentine!

Valentine bento

I know! It has been some time since my last post but I thought today would be a great date to restart blogging again.

Today is actually 3 years ago that I started this blog, and a lot has changed. I can remember how totally obsessed I was with making bento during the first months, I bought loads and loads of bento stuff and spent so much time creating them. Since then my focus has shifted, I discovered cake decorating and a lot of my free time was taken up with that instead of making dosirak/bento. So sometimes I blogged about my cakes instead. Or took some time of blogging because I felt uninspired, my lunches were boring or life got in the way.

Anyway, 3 years later, I’m still there and although I don’t want to make any promises about how often I will blog or how active I will be be, but it’s good to be back again. I would also like to thank again all my readers, followers and people who comment. It always surprises me that even when I don’t have anything new to show, my blog is still being seen and liked.

So this Valentine Day inspired dosirakbento today is to show my love for all of of you! 🙂

In the box at the back, there is some pink sushi rice, which I tried to shape in a heart but not totally successful…, with heart shaped vegetables. The box in the front has some Korean meatballs, and more of the pink rice and heart shaped veggies. And I love how the beet slices are bleeding a bit onto the radish, this was not planned, but it does look very pretty!

The Korean meatballs are my own invention, I used some beef mince and mixed that with Gochujang, soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil before shaping that into small meatballs and frying. They are great to pack into boxes and freeze well, so I made a batch to use in the coming weeks.

I hope that you have a lovely Valentine’s Day, and here are a few links to some of my previous posts that highlight (my) LOVE (for food)!

A cute boy loves girl bento made from onigiri.

I had my first blog anniversary and remade my Bunnies in Love.

Who says eggs are boring? These lovebirds were created with eggs.

And cake can be turned into love too, as these halloween pumpkin wedding couple prove.

 

Bento

bento

A quick and easy bento, but I love the colours in this one.

Rice sprinkled with Perilla furikake, some tamago pieces and various vegetables. I cut the vegetables in small sticks so they could be packed tightly, standing upright. And there is another piece of tamago hiding underneath the raspberries.

This bento box comes with a tray and cutlery, but this time I filled it right up till the top and took some chopsticks separately with me.

Piggies on a picnic

pig onigiri bento

Felt like making some cute onigiri today and created this piggy family going on a picnic.

I made these onigiri piggies before (see my step by step tutorial); they are very easy to make although it helps if you have the pink sushi rice colouring (I buy mine from Japan, but you could use natural food colouring like beet).

The picnic the piggies took with them was: some salmon – hidden inside themselves :-), edamame and green beans, mini corn,  flowers made from carrot and omelet and some pickled radish in soy sauce (나래 오보채). Also for dessert a choco pie.

It is quite a lot of rice, so I packed it in one of my larger bento boxes.

To make a maki

maki roll

Making maki rolls are not my strong point, especially when in a hurry. I know “practise makes perfect”, but I am an impatient girl and I need my maki, now!

To avoid getting into a trantrum (never good when hungry), I bought myself this nifty plastic maki roll maker thingie. They come in slim and fat (I am sure they have more appropriate names, but can’t recall them – o yes, hosomaki and futomaki) and as I prefer futomaki, I got myself the fat one.

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It’s very simple, prep your rice and fillings as usual. Instead of using a bamboo mat, you just rinse the plastic mould – which comes in two parts-  in water (this helps the rice from sticking to the mould).

In the bottom part, you first add a layer of rice and distribute this evenly. I found it helps to sort of follow the round shape and have a bit of a groove along the center to allow for the ingredients. Place the ingredients and top with a second layer of rice. Make sure you also add some rice on the sides before pressing with the top part of the mould. You should now have a tidy roll which you can flip over onto your nori sheet and roll.

The only reason why my futomaki doesn’t look perfectly round in the top photo is because I forgot to wipe the knife with a hot wet cloth between each cut, so it dragged a bit. The fillings this time are pretty simple, avocado, egg roll, crabstick and cucumber.

I bought mine at the Korean supermarket but you can buy (thin and fat ones) at the Japan Centre, see here.

Minion Bento

minion bento

“Wave”, I’m back 🙂

Very busy in the last few weeks, didn’t make any packed lunches at all, but really wanted to make this Minions Bento because of the movie.

I don’t always have time to make kawaii (cute) bento, as they are quite time consuming. But I am always full of admiration of two few bento bloggers I follow who both make kawaii bentos:

  • Little Miss Bento: Shirley Wong has been making bento’s since 2011 and is also a certified instructor in Kazarimakisushi = sushi roll art. Her bentos always look amazingly pretty and cute. She has published a Kawaii bento book and will soon be publishing another book focused on making sushi roll art. I only ever attempted to make Kazarimakisushi myself (see here), but would love to learn more about this so will put her book on my wishlist…
  • Bento Monsters. Ming is a mother to 2 boys and started making bentos in 2008, focusing on character bentos in 2011. I love how her bentos are always so creative and how she manages to make all these amazing looking characters from rice, potato or bread.  She also has some great tutorials, for example the one I followed to make these Hello Kitty steamed buns.

My Minion Bento above is my attempt to recreate this Minion Food Art that Bento Monsters posted a few weeks ago. She actually made several Minions, but I thought these were the easiest to recreate with the ingredients I had at home.

The rice is coloured with cooked egg yolk (I wasn’t quite sure how many eggs I would need as I had never used this mixture before, these are 2 yolks for about 1.5 cup cooked rice), and the details are made with courgette, nori, egg white, radish and parsley.  I don’t have a lot of patience, hence the lumpy legs/arms but still…definitely Minions 🙂

Side dishes are courgette strips, strawberries and some dumplings.

 

This blog post is part of my attempt to clean up my Blogs I Follow list

Inspired by the Just Bento Cookbook – bento

Just Bento inspired BentoThe Bento blogger who inspired me most is (of course) Just Bento

Following through my intention to (re)visit the Blogs I follow / inspire me (see previous post), I can’t think of a better inspiration than the excellent blog/websites by Makiko Itoh. She is the author Just Bento Practical and fun bento box tips and ideas, healthy bento recipes from Japan and the world – and Just Hungry – authentic Japanese recipes and more! –

Above is my attempt to recreate the Bento which is the cover of her Just Bento Cookbook.

JUST-BENTO_bookcover

This photo is owned by Makiko Itoh, author of the Just Bento Cookbook

I think that for me it sort of emphasizes how wonderful her advice is about packing healthy and simple bento’s. I have not been feeling well this week, but creating this bento for myself today was easy, all because I have been following Maki’s advice from since I started Bento making: freezing rice; preparing a stash of Bento staples for fridge/freezer; streamlining the bento making process; you can find it all, and lots more on Just Bento!

My bento above differs slightly from the bento on the cover of her book, but it still looks the same in general.

  • It took 15 minutes to pack;
  • The rice and chicken dish have both been precooked, portioned up and frozen;
  • I only had to defrost & reheat these to pack;
  • Steaming some broccoli only takes a few minutes:
  • Adding the broccoli and cherry tomatoes (standard staples in my fridge) only another few minutes, and the same for sliced cucumber and radish.
  • I don’t often have salad at home, so I used some bento dividers instead of salad leaves; and
  • because my bento box is larger (but more shallow) than hers, I used some more cucumber to fill up the gaps.

If I can pack the above, whilst feeling ill, just based on everything I learned from the Just Bento website….well, what else can I write to recommend that you follow the link and check it out?

Actually lots 🙂

There are so many recipes;  a list of example bentos including time schedules and calorie information; tips on preparing, packing and storing bento and a forum community.

So, if you’re interested in bento making, than this is definitely the no 1 place to go to: Just Bento!

 

This blog post is part of my attempt to clean up my Blogs I Follow list

Kimchi & Onigiri Dosirakbento

kimchi-onigiri-dosirak-bentoThis actually might be the sort of lunch that my blog is all about: Korean and Japanese food inspired lunchboxes! The Korean dosirak is represented by the Kimchi and the Japanese bento is represented by the Onigiri 🙂

It is not a fancy lunch, nor is it gwiyomi/ kawaii (cute) with funny details, shapes or made using special tools or packed in a pretty bento box. But it is the kind of food that I love and like having in my lunchbox.

The onigiri was shaped by hand (whilst I was -not so- silently cursing because of the hot rice), I added lots of veggies (and colours) and the kimchi is home made. The only extra thing I did was adding a little silicone mould for the kimchi and that is only because it would otherwise stain the container.

I filled the onigiri with spicy salmon: left over cooked salmon with wasabi. I also have to tell you that the home made kimchi is actually not home made by me….but by the local sushi shop 🙂

Huh? Sushi is Japanese isn’t it? Yes, but my sushi shop is quite small and owned by a Korean family. I am such a regular customer that they greet me by name, sometimes offer me miso soup whilst waiting (no pre-packed sushi here, only made to order) and I often end up chatting quite some time about Korean food and K drama…

I was there yesterday evening to treat myself to some sashimi and one of the guys had brought in home made Kimchi for himself, and very kindly gave me some to take home!

mat-kimchi

It is Mak Kimchi: ie chopped up / lazy  / easy kimchi and if you want to make it, Maangchi has a good recipe here.

This was a delicious lunch 😛 even if it lookes a bit plain…

As most of my readers know, I pack my lunches early in the morning, before going to work, so I don’t have much time to go crazy & creative. And although I also like making the cute lunches that you have (and will) see on my blog, it’s often a question of finding the time & inspiration for it.

I guess it’s all a matter of balance 🙂 … as are most things in life!

*****

P.s. Have you read my Jerusalem artichoke challenge? In my previous post I asked readers to inspire me to cook with Jerusalem artichokes for my lunch box…you can read more here…. To be continued…

P.s.s. If anyone living in or nearby London and is interested in K-cuisine: the Korean Culture Centre is currently organising some lectures on K-cuisine. Unfortunately I missed the first ones, but I will be going next week (featuring Bibimbap) and next month (Bulgogi). More info can be found on the website of KCC.

 

Lock & Lock Dosirakbento

imageI’m back! Did anyone miss me 😉 ….

Hope everyone is doing well. I took a bit of a blogging break, initially just because I went away on holiday, but then 1 week turned into 2, and 2 turned into almost 3…but well, sometimes life just gets in the way…

I didn’t make any bento lunches since early April, although the rice cooker went with us on holiday :-P, if I don’t eat rice for more than 3 days I get detox symptoms (read grumpy…). Now I think about it, I did actually make some Onigirazu for taking on a picnic, but I forgot to make pictures of them.

Anyway, today I packed my lunch in one of my Lock & Lock Bento boxes. It’s a combination of Japanese and Korean inspired food, and it doesn’t really have a theme nor is it very kawaii/kwiyomi, so I kept the name simple as well 🙂

The containers hold rice, broccoli and Beef Gochujang (you might remember, I posted the recipe here). I put the Beef Gochujang in a little containers as it does stain a lot and the sauce has some liquid in it.. There are also some salad leaves, more broccoli, more Beef Gochujang, some quail eggs and carrot flowers. The last container has fruit and (sweet) tamago.  I also packed some seaweed crisps for snacking.

If you are familiar with Korean BBQ you’ll know that the best way to eat is to make little parcels; ie piling rice, meat and sauce on your salad leaf and then trying to stuff it all together in your mouth. Mjammie! Or in someone else’s…I have noticed often in K-drama that people feed each other, (grand)mothers their (grand)children, couples each other… etc. It looks a bit like it’s an expression of love…quite cute I think.

Oh, talking about Kdrama, series 2 of Let’s Eat has started!!! I am a bit obsessed about K-drama that features food (how surprising!) and I loved the first season 🙂 Haven’t start watching the new series yet, I am waiting until all episodes are available online with subtitles and will have a Let’s Eat marathon session >*<…

Plus, life is a bit busy at the moment, so the last thing I have time for is watching Kdrama….it’s just too addictive and I can’t stop after just 1 episode….  I will be away again for a few short trips and also have family visiting this month, so not sure how much I will be blogging /reading blogs in the next couple of weeks…but hopefully will have a bit more time again next month.

Meanwhile, keep well and keep safe 🙂

 

Onigirazu

OnigirazuI like browsing through the WP reader, and use tags like food, lunch, rice, Japanese, Korean, art, London, recipe, random, food blog, and many many more to discover other blogs and inspiration. The other day, I found this very interesting post & tutorial about Onigirazu (you can find the full post here) by Nonbirichan.

As you know, I use quite a lot of onigiri in my lunches, sometimes very simple plain ones, other times I turn them into character bento, like boy & girl or piggies, but I had not heard of Onigirazu before. A quick internet search teaches me that apparently Onigarizu has been popular in Japan for some time now, so I guess it’s also time for me to join in 🙂

If I understood it correctly, Onigiri = shaping rice, with Onigirazu = you don’t shape the rice, as in Japanese “zu” at the end of a verb makes the verb negative…(but please correct me if I am wrong). Basically you put some rice on a nori sheet, add your filling, top up with more rice and fold you nori sheet around it. Using some cling film will help to create a nice “parcel”. After resting for a few minutes, you cut the parcel to reveal the filling. The tutorial by Nonbirichan is very useful, or you can follow my step by step photo’s below.

I cheated a bit with my Onigirazu, and did shape the rice, using a square food mold. Of course you don’t need to use a mold, but it does make the process even easier 🙂

The larger one (8 cm) is filled with smoked salmon and green beans; just layer up all your ingredients. The smaller one (6 cm) is filled with omelet, spinach and crabsticks. This mold is not as deep as the larger one, and I  had put too much rice in the bottom layer so was really struggling to add more rice on the top so the top layer is too thin.

Few more tips:

  • I used a little “pusher” to push down the rice and layers whilst filling. Also, when you remove the mold, keep the rice pushed down so that it won’t stick to the mold itself!
  • Another cheat: I didn’t wrap/fold it using the whole sheet…I actually made a few well placed cuts with a scissor to avoid those tricky corners…. 😉
  • When wrapping your Onigarizu, mark the outside with a single rice kernel! This will help to show where to start cutting so that the filling is displayed nicely 😛
  • Wait a few minutes before cutting, and use a wet knife (to avoid sticking). Also cut the Onigarizu with foil and all, this will help it keep together, and also, it’s easy for packing in your bento as they won’t stick together.