Frankenstein Bento

Because it’s Halloween eve, it’s just fitting to create a bento with this theme in mind.

I ran out of decofuri seasoning to color my rice green, so I used mashed peas instead. I boiled about a quarter cup of peas until really soft and mashed it real well. I then added this to about 1/2 cup of cooked white rice (make sure its warmed up a bit) and mixed it until well combined.

I shaped the face of frankenstein using a plastic wrap. Then cut up some nori to make the hair and facial features.

For the ghost, I just made hard boiled egg, peeled it and decorated the face using nori.

To assemble, place your onigiri and egg at the bottom half of your bento box. Add some fillers (I used some greens) and your choice of meat and vegetables (Filipino sausages, carrots, asparagus and cheese.

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Tuna Mayo Don

Tuna Mayo Don is just Tuna Mayo on rice. Don is short for donburi which means bowl. Donburi are rice meals served in bowls which may have toppings like beef, chicken, pork etc. I just learned of this dish after watching Midnight Diner (Shinya Shokudo Season 2) a Japanese drama series now serialized on Netflix.

If you love tuna onigriri then you will love tuna mayo don. It does not really require cooking except for making your rice.

Drain a small can of tuna (I like to use this Korean brand), or you can use any brand of albacore tuna. Then add 1 tsp miso, 2-3 tbsp. Japanese Mayo and 1 tbsp. minced onion (optional). Mix everything together.

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Scoop some hot cooked white rice into a bowl. Place 3-4 tbsp of your tuna on top of your rice and garnish with some nori strips or furikake.

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P.S.
I made an updated version of tuna mayo don by adding diced avocados. It makes the dish more appealing and gives a better mouth feel to it. Next time I will try adding ingredients like cucumbers, mango and tobiko.

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Cauliflower Fried Rice with Bok Choy

Cauliflower rice is the rage now. There seems to be more people who are consciously trying to live a healthy lifestyle and are seeking alternatives to grain and carbs in their diet. This is also perfect substitute for those who are gluten intolerant.

I was skeptical at first when I heard I about this, I wasn’t really sure if it would taste great as a substitute for rice since I know that cauliflower can give an off putting smell (most cruciferous vegetables do). This was until a friend of mine invited me out to eat and introduced me to cauliflower fried rice. I was amazed at how good it was and it really did feels like you are eating rice.

To make, remove the core and leaves of the cauliflower and wash under running water. Break it apart into big pieces and grate it over a bowl lined with paper towel using a box/cheese grater. You can also use your food processor if you have one.

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Heat a large pan and add about 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Then add one medium sized finely chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent. Place about 1/2 a cup of frozen peas and carrots and stir until heated through. Add your grated cauliflower and stir until your ingredients are well combined. Season to taste with salt (about 1 tsp) and garlic powder (1/4 tsp). Cook until cauliflower is cooked to your liking (mine took around 3-4 minutes), I didn’t want it to turn mushy. Then throw in 2 bunches of chopped bok choy and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Scoop into bowls and serve hot.

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Purple Sweet Potato Fries with Miso Mayo

You may have noticed I have recently been creating a lot recipes with purple sweet potato. It is considered a superfood because it’s not only delicious but packed with nutritional benefits as well.

This recipe is very simple to make. Pre-heat your oven to 425 F. Wash and peel your sweet potato (I used 2 small ones), then cut into strips. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a bowl. Add 1-2 tbsp. olive and oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything to coat. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread your sweet potato on it in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turn your sweet potatoes halfway during cooking time.

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Serve with a dipping sauce of Miso Mayo (3 tbsp Japanese Mayo mixed with 1 tbsp white miso).

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Omurice (Japanese Omelet Rice)

My girls love omurice. They usually get this everytime we go to the food court at Mitsuwa or H-Mart. This is a western style Japanese food or what you call Yoshoku. Typical omurice is ketchup fried rice wrapped in an omelet.

This is not that difficult to make since I did not do a french style omelet. I wanted the soft and creamy restaurant style eggs being dished out at Tokyo Hanten in Mitsuwa. First make your fried rice by sautéing 1/4 cup minced onion in a little oil until translucent. Then add about a quarter cup frozen carrots and peas and cook until a bit softened. Then add some cooked chicken (I used about 1/2 cup leftover chicken katsu, you can also use leftover roast chicken). Add your broken up day old cooked white rice about 2 cups. Cook and toss rice until your ingredients are well combined. Pour in 1/4 cup of ketchup thinned with a little water and continue cooking until rice is evenly coated. Remove from heat and pack your fried rice into a small bowl. Invert your bowl onto a serving plate and set aside.

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Prepare your omelet by heating a 10 inch non skillet and adding a bit of oil. Beat 3 eggs in a bowl and pour this into your pan. Stir and cook your eggs by pushing it towards the center to form curds. Swirl your pan as you continue to cook until eggs are set at bottom and not runny but appears wet on top.

Carefully slide your eggs onto the mound of rice and squeeze some ketchup and Japanese mayonnaise on top. Sprinkle with some parsley and serve hot.

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Purple Sweet Potato Pancake

To celebrate Fall, I decided to make sweet potato pancakes – the purple kind. For this recipe I used Okinawan purple sweet potato. You can find this at H-Mart or any big Asian grocer. This is not Ube or the Philippine Purple Yam. This has a paler and smoother skin. I prefer this purple sweet potato because it taste much sweeter.

To make scrub and clean your sweet potato (I used 2 medium sized ones) under running water and dry with paper towels. Then roast it in a 400F oven for about 45 mins. to an hour. When done peel your sweet potato while it’s warm and mash it. Then pass it through a sieve to remove any fibers then set aside.

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Place the following in a bowl: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt. Whisk dry ingredients to combine. In another bowl mix the following until homogenous: 1 1/4 cup mashed purple sweet potato, 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, 1 egg, 3/4 cup milk, 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup. 2 tablespoon melted butter and 1 tsp. vanilla (optional). Pour your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and and mix until everything is just combined, do not overmix.

Place a non-stick pan under medium heat and add some butter, swirl to coat. Add about 1/4 cup of your pancake batter and smooth and flatten it into a disk using a spoon. Cook for about 2 minutes then flip and cook the other side until puffed up and brown. Repeat with remaining batter. (Note: batter will be thick, I’ll probably use 1 cup milk next time so that batter will be easier to handle)

Serve with a pat of butter and some sweetened red beans on top. You can also just drizzle it with maple syrup and add some whipped cream.

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Tofu Katsu Curry

This is a healthy alternative for those who love tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet). Tofu is a great substitute for meat since it’s high in protein. Make sure to use firm tofu since it has a meatier texture and will hold it’s shape when fried.

First, prepare your tofu by draining and placing it over several sheets of paper towel. Then place another layer of paper towel on your tofu before placing a weight on it to remove excess liquid. I usually use a small plate with a can soup on it.
Let tofu drain for about 30 minutes. Then slice into your desired shape.

Place the following in 3 separate bowls : seasoned flour (I just added salt and pepper), beaten egg and panko. Dredge your tofu in those following that order.

Fry your tofu in about 1/2 cup oil. Tofu is done when it becomes crips and golden brown. This will only take a few minutes so make sure to watch it. Drain in paper towels and set aside.

For this recipe I just used pre-made curry that you can get in any Asian grocer. I used the House brand. It’s ready to eat and all you need to do is heat it in a microwave or stove top.

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To serve place some cooked rice on one side of your plate, then your curry on the other. Top this with several slices of your fried tofu. I used half white and half brown rice by the way.

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Canned Mackerel Patties

This is one of the easiest and fuss free dinner recipes out there if you are in a hurry. I got this from my dad, he used to make this for us when I was I teen. He loves to tinker in the kitchen sometimes and create unexpected goodies.

I made this for dinner the other night. To make you will need 1 can mackerel in water, 1 small onion, 2 eggs, salt and pepper and some parsley or whatever herbs you have in hand is fine.

First, drain your mackerel, remove the bones and place it in a bowl. Then to it add your minced onion, eggs, salt and pepper about 1/2 tsp each, and 1 tsp parsley. I used dried because that was what I had. Fresh herbs is better. Mix everything to combine.

Heat a non-stick pan with about 4 tbsp. oil. When it’s hot enough drop a heaping tablespoon of your mackerel mixture on the pan and flatten it a bit with a fork. Let it cook until brown and crisp then flip and cook the other side. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining mixture.

I served this with a dipping sauce of mayonnaise and ketchup, but I find that sweet chili sauce (the one’s you get in bottles) works well too.

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