This is my panda bento attempt! I think it looks more like a teddy bear than a panda, probably because of the ears…. but oh well…it looks sort of cute.
Was feeling like I wanted to make a kawaii/qwiyomi type lunch as it has been quite some time that I made one, I think the last one was this Miffy bento so I guess I need to practice my skills again 🙂
The panda-teddy is made from onigiri and I filled it with an umuboshi plum and added details with nori. He is holding a carrot flower and is “standing” on some Korean meatballs I made & froze earlier this year (I pack these frozen as they will keep my bento nice and cool and will be defrosted and at room temperature by lunch time).
The other container has some tamagoyaki, more carrot flowers, cherry tomatoes and some raisins, plus there are various bits and pieces of veggies/leaves tucked in around the main items.
Before Autumn is over I wanted to include an Autumn themed Bento and I thought it was also a good opportunity to include another tutorial, this time about nori cutting!
The above bento is made with a tree silhouet – cut out of nori, some tofu and cherry tomatoes and lots of different coloured leaves. The leaves were cut out of apple, pear, spinach, carrot and tofu with tiny leaf cutters. I know that these are different shapes leaves and only 1 tree…but you have to imagine that the wind is blowing all the leaves around from other trees nearby 😉
If you can remember, I used this same technique for creating my Wimbledon and Tour de France Bento, but I did not include any photo’s of the actual nori cutting.
So, how to cut nori? What you will need are:
a sheet of nori
the image you want to cut out, printed out : I look up clip art images and choose one that has simple, clean lines
a cutting sheet
some paper clamps
a very sharp knife: I use an X-acto knife
On to the cutting:
first arrange the nori sheet between your printed out image and the cutting board
use the paper clamps to clamp it all together
carefully cut out the along the lines of the image with your knife: make sure you press down on the paper whilst cutting so that it won’t move
once you’re finished, first remove the paper cut out. This is usually an indication on how well the nori cut out will be, if you notice that the paper cut out is difficult to remove, than you will probably need to re-cut some bits.
Finally lift the nori cut-out using your tweezers.
Don’t worry if part of the nori tears or breaks, it doesn’t really matter. I had two branches that broke, but when you arrange your cut out onto the rice, you can easily arrange it so it looks all nicely together 🙂
One last tip though: wait until your rice has cooled down a bit. As you can see, I was a bit impatient and the heat of the rice made my nori curl up too much….
See the photo’s below for the various stages, I have also included my two previous Bento with nori cut outs.
When I am lazy and just want to make a quick and easy Onigiri for my lunch or snack, but not a complete bento….
I use Onigiri nori wrappers!
You might have seen these Onigiri individually wrapped at sushi shops, but you can easily make these yourself. You can buy the sheets at most Asian supermarkets, it’s a pack with 10 individually sheets of nori, packed in plastic. There are instructions on the back, small stickers to close the plastic wrap and they usually (but not always) come with an Onigiri shaper.
The great thing is that you end up with individually wrapped Onigiri, which are very easy to transport. Because the nori is separated from the rice by the plastic wrap, the nori stays nice and crisp until you’re ready to eat it. (Just pull down the middle strip and pull the 2 sides away).
The other day I made some Onigiri for myself and filled these with spicy salmon (tinned salmon mixed with wasabi), and I remembered to take step by step pictures to show you:
Sheets and shaper
Instructions on the back
Front and back of a sheet
Do you see the thin line?
Place the shape on the top half of your sheet and fill with rice up to the line. Press down.
Add your filling
Add more rice, first to the side of the filling and then on top
Press down again. While you press down, carefully lift up the triangle
A perfect rice triangly
Fold over the half bottom
Tuck in the two corners
Turn around, fold over the two remaining corners and seal with the stickers
Is it Ladybird or Ladybug? Well, there are 4 in this picture!
This is made using my new lunch box (see previous post)
The body of the ladybird (it’s ladybird in the UK, but ladybug in the USA) is made from a tomato, with nori details. I made the head from some rice with nori and added two food picks for the antenna. I also had some ladybird food picks and decoration that added some nice detail.
Ladybirds are identified by the number of spots, and I seem to have read somewhere that the spots are always symmetrically. This new variety :-), the Tomato Lady bird has 12!
I used the left over spots to create a dice from a hard boiled square egg (using my egg cube shaper). The rest of the bento contains some chicken, salad leaves, carrot and cucumber flowers.
There is a lot of sport ongoing at the moment and I have already made a football inspired Bento, but this time I thought I would try and tackle Wimbledon!
Fabricating some tennis players is a bit too challenging, but I wanted to try out a nori cutting technique I once found somewhere on the internet. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the instructions at the moment, but basically it said to print a picture of what you want to cut & use that as a template. The template is laid on top of your norisheet & with a very sharp precision knife, you cut out all the details, starting from the middle.
I found a clear clipart picture of a tennis racket, so used that for my Wimbledon Bento:
I used my lovely red ball girl Bento box, I thought that was quite fitting although I am pretty sure that her dress wouldn’t fit the Wimbledon dress code for ball girls *-^…
The nori racket is lying on an egg sheet filled with rice, and the tennis ball is also made from egg sheet. I have included some quail egg people, they are the spectators! Some radishes and of course Wimbledon is not complete without strawberries. They (and some raspberries) are in a little heart shaped cupcake mould that I just received from a friend (thanks, as you can see they are in good use).
I am happy that I didn’t choose a too complicated picture for my nori cutting as it was quite time consuming. But fun to make 🙂