I miss creating bento lunches. I used to make it for my girls before they went to college. I make themed ones during holidays and special occasions. It’s during Halloween that I get really creative.
This year I decided to make Jack Skellington onigiri because it has just the right amount of scary and cute.
It’s fairly simple to make. Just prepare onigiri by making rice balls using a plastic wrap. Then cut out the facial features using some nori (seaweed). If you have a nori punch, it makes it a lot easier and faster to create those details. For the pumpkin onigiri, I wrapped the rice balls with a sheet of egg crepe before adding decorations. Again I used plastic wrap to mold the egg on the rice and create a perfectly smooth surface.
For this bento, I added hot dogs cut at a bias, some coconut shrimp, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and some greens for color.
A visit to Mitsuwa always turn into a food trip for our family. We love that there is a variety of food to choose from their concessionaires. One of these is Omusubi Gonbei, they offer a mouth watering array of rice balls with various fillings. I was inspired to make this Spam Omusubi after seeing their various omusubi on display.
I have already featured several omusubi a.k.a onigiri recipes in this blog which shows how just how much we love it.
It’s easy to make this specially if you have an onigiri mold.
First, prepare your filling by frying several slices of spam until brown and crisp on the edges. Then cut to size that will fit inside your rice mold.
Take your onigiri mold and lay it on a plate. Add a couple of tablespoons of steamed white rice inside. Then place your spam filling in the middle. Add more rice on top of your filling and smoothen the top a bit. Place the lid on top and press down hard. Carefully remove your mold before releasing the lid. Sprinkle some furikake on top of your onigiri before wrapping with nori (seaweed).
You can place some pieces of spam bits on top of the rice ball for presentation.
I try to make at least one Halloween themed blog during the Fall season. The past several years it’s all about bento and it’s not any different this year either. Temari in Japanese literally means hand ball. Temari sushi are ball shaped sushi made by forming rice using a plastic wrap. This is by far the easiest way to make sushi specially if you are a beginner.
Take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it down on a plate or counter top. Then place 1/4 cup cooked white rice in the middle and gather up all the edges and twist into a ball. Make sure to tightly squeeze the plastic wrap to form a smooth and even ball. Unwrap carefully and decorate the top with your choice of ingredients.
For the pumpkin, I used a piece of smoked salmon and some nori strips for details. The cat is just nori wrapped around a rice ball with some mayo for decoration. Frankenstein is made my wrapping thin slices of avocado using a cling wrap and again using nori for the face details. Last but not least, the ghost is just plain rice with seaweed.
This is a fun and easy way of creating Halloween themed food for your family.
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.
Pokemon Go took the world by storm the past summer. Since it’s release two months ago, it has been downloaded 500 M times according to its developer Niantic. I was never really a pokemon fan until I played this game out of curiosity. You would have been living under a rock if you didn’t know how much everyone is talking about this game.
That being said, it’s just fitting that I create a bento with a Pokemon Go theme.
To make, I used yellow decofuri to color my rice to make pikachu. Then formed it’s face and ears by using plastic wrap. To decorate the face, I used nori and a bit of cheese and tomato for the cheeks. For the poke balls, form your rice into a ball by again using a sheet of plastic wrap. Then wrap the upper portion of it in crab sticks (I just used the outer red part of it by slicing it carefully then opening it up to remove the white flesh inside). Wrap it again in plastic wrap to set. Then cut a strip of nori to wrap around the ball and cut out a small circle for the center.
Place your pikachu and poke ball onigiri in your bento box and arrange some vegetables and other food items of your choice.
I really wanted to use dried Sakura Ebi for this recipe but it’s very hard to find it here in our area. I found this instead at a Japanese grocery store in New York city. I am not sure if it’s the same since there is no English translation in the package.
If you were following my blog, you would see that I already have made several kinds of onigiri. This one is may not appeal to everyone specially if you are not used to eating dried shrimp. This dried shrimp that I bought however does not have a strong taste and is not salty at all.
To make, first lightly toast 1-2 tbsp of dried shrimp in a dry pan over low-medium heat then set aside. Scramble one egg and crumble it into tiny pieces. Rinse 3 shiso and pat dry then chiffonade your leaves. Place 1 1/2 cups cooked white rice in a bowl and then add in your dried shrimp, scrambled egg and shiso. Gently mix everything together until well combined. Form your rice into a triangle or balls then place over shiso leaves. I used an onigiri mold to make this.
This is my second recipe for onigirazu. It is a type of onigiri that looks like a rice sandwich. It’s very quick and easy to prepare. For step by step instruction refer to my previous post. You can use whatever filling you like, tuna, ham, chicken, avocado etc.
For this recipe, start by making a sunny side up egg. Be sure to cook it over hard but if you prefer your eggs runny make it over easy. Then slice up some spam and cook it until crisped and brown and set aside. Wash and dry some greens, I used green leaf lettuce.
Get a piece of plastic wrap and lay a sheet of nori over it. Add a small scoop of rice on your nori and flatten a bit. Then layer your egg, spam and some lettuce leaf on top. Then cover this with another scoop of rice before wrapping it with nori like a parcel. Wrap it tightly with the plastic wrap for a few minutes to hold its shape. Then slice it in the middle seam side down and serve.
P.S. I made one with avocado slices and one without.
One of the ways to encourage kids to eat and try out new things is making their food attractive Creating a bento is one way to do it, specially when they are at school. You can also do this at home by creating cute shapes of animals, flowers or things that they love out of fruits, cheese, vegetables, rice etc. and choosing colorful varieties of it. As the saying goes “you eat with your eyes first”.
You can serve this seal curry rice for either lunch or dinner. The recipe for curry can be found here. I chose curry since this is my daughter’s favorite. You can use beef stew, chili, menudo or whatever savory dish you like. To make, ladle your stew into a bowl, shape your rice into a seal by using a cling wrap and decorate the face with nori, egg white and some deli meat.
Daruma dolls are considered to be an important part of New Year celebrations in Japan. It is believed to be a symbol of good luck and fortune. During their first visit to the shrine that year, people would buy daruma dolls, have them blessed and return their old dolls for ceremonial burning.
To start my bento series for the year I decided to make a Daruma bento. Daruma dolls are usually made out of paper mache. It comes in only one shape but in various sizes. It is traditionally red in color but nowadays you can find it other colors too like purple, white, yellow and gold.
To make my daruma onigiri I used deco furi to color my rice red and used some cheese and nori strips for the facial details. For the sides I added rolled omelet, some chinese sausage, chicken kaarage and some diced cantaloupe and tomato.
This is my first Christmas inspired onigiri and one of the easiest to make.
I just took a scoop of rice and made a free form wreath shape. Then I decorated it with carrots using my vegetable cutter, some parsley leaves and tomato. You can get really creative in using different ingredients as decoration. Some ideas would be cut out ham or salami, imitation crab sticks, cheese, cucumber sticks, nori and even sesame seeds.