Yasai no nikumaki (aka vegetable wrapped in thinly sliced meat)

This is a late post of what I made for my bento filler yesterday, yasai no nikumaki which is vegetable wrapped/rolled in thinly sliced meat. I learn this from bento book, the idea is to make a flower from carrot + leaves from french beans.

Yasai no nikumaki

For the ingredients I use : Carrot + French beans + thinly sliced beef (shabu-shabu type meat)

Cut the carrot into flower shape and the beans to match the carrot size.

 

Lay one slice of beef and place the veggie on top of it and start to roll tightly.

 

Add and roll another slice of meat ( you may add to 3-4 layers depending on the thinness of the beef)

 

Sprinkle a little pepper and corn flour on the rolled beef.

 

Cut rolled beef under low heat, add any seasoning such as teriyaki sauce or other sauce to your liking.

Remove from heat and cut into 2 and tada… a beautiful carrot flower in the middle of the beef.

You can use other ingredient such as  red pepper, baby corn and other vegetable or even quail egg up  to your liking.

I definitely will make more of this for my bento fillers, hope you will like it as much as I do.

Happy weekend all…

 

Lotus root/Renkon salad

This is a scheduled post, currently I am away for vacation therefore sorry for any late response on comment.

Since I start doing bento, Lotus root had become a staple in my kitchen however the challenge with this unique ingredient is you can’t buy them in small qty.

A piece of Lotus root is big enough for  several times bento side dish where in most of the case the rest of them are turn into my favorite snack Lotus root chips until a friend of mine told me about this Lotus root salad.  She doesn’t give me the exact measurement of the recipe, it was based on your own sense and taste , I tried to make it and I love it.

This is my result (I am running out of ham, so I only use 1 slice, ideally I will add more ham into the salad)

Lotus root salad

Ingredients :

  • 1/4 – 1/2 lotus root depending on the size, slice thinly and immediately soaked them into salted/ vinegar water.
  • 1/2 medium size cucumber,   cut into 2 sides, de-seed and sliced thinly and soaked them into cold salted water
  • 1-2 slices of ham, cut into small long  pieces
  • 1 to 2 table spoon vinegar
  • Pinch of Sugar to taste
  • Pinch of Salt to taste
  • Mayonnaise to taste

Steps

  1. Boiled a pot a water  mix with  vinegar inside and cook the lotus root for few minutes, drain and cool under running /ice water, drain and set aside.
  2. Wipe the sliced cucumbers and lotus roots with paper towel and toss them into salad bowl, add the sugar and salt and mayonaise, then the ham.
  3. Mix well and let them chill in the fridge.
  4. Keep the salad in clean container for bento stash or stock – max 3 days

Spinach Ohitashi (Japanese Spinach Salad with Bonito Flakes)

Spinach is one of my favorite vegetable, thanks to Popeye the sailor man cartoon.

Me and brothers love this cartoon and mum smartly used it as educational tool to encourage us to eat spinach so we can grow as strong as Popeye. The result? none of us ever turn to be as strong as the heroic sailor man nor able to send someone flying with our punches, but we grown to love spinach forever. Spinach had becoming a must to have dish in the family, looking back to childhood or even now, mum  always have spinach in the menu at least twice or three times in a week, be it as soup or just simple stir fry.

Today  Spinach Ohitashi is another Japanese dish, spinach salad with bonito flakes.

Below photo was my cooking result, based on recipe adapated from justonecookbook.com

Spinach Ohitashi

I love bonito flakes a lot , you can tell by the amount of the flakes that I placed on the spinach 🙂

Below is the copy paste recipe from justonecookbook.com.

Details and step by step photos also available, please click  http://justonecookbook.com/blog/recipes/spinach-ohitashi-japanese-spinach-salad-with-bonito-flakes/

Ingredients:

    • 1 bunch of spinach
    • A pinch of salt
Seasonings
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1 Tbsp. usukuchi (light colored) soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dashi stock
  • Bonito flakes (Katsuobushi)

Instructions:

    1. Wash the spinach and boil lots of water in a large pot.
    2. When water is boiling, add a pinch of salt into boiling water. Put spinach in the pot starting from the stem first because they take longer to cook. Push all of the spinach into the water. Cook for 1 minute. Note: American spinach is very soft and we can eat it raw unlike Japanese spinach; therefore, 1 minute is enough for the US spinach.
    3. Drain and soak the spinach in cold water until cool.
    4. Collect spinach from the bowl and squeeze water out of the spinach.
    5. Cut the spinach into 1 1/2 inch lengths and put it in air tight container.
    6. In a saucepan, heat mirin on medium high and evaporate alcohol for a few minutes. Let it cool down.
    7. Add usukuchi soy sauce and dashi stock and mix all together.
    8. Pour over spinach and soak for 3-4 hours (1 hour minimum).
    9. Serve with sauce and sprinkle dried bonito flakes over the spinach.

Vegetable meatloaf

Remember the side dish that I have in my Shaun the Sheep Bento #77 , the meatloaf?

I was quite surprise when an observant  friend, Ms. KP told me  she like the veggie meatloaf idea and  would try to persuade his boy into eating veggie through this dish. Hopefully it will work, good luck KP, here is the requested recipe.

Veggie meat loaf

The recipe was actually a modification of of vegetable beef rolls that I saw in one of the Japanese bento book. I change the sliced beef into minced meat.

Ingredients:

  • ½ carrot, blanched and cut into 2.5 inch and into 8 long and smaller pieces
  • 6-8 green beans, blanched and cut into 2.5 inch
  • 300 gr minced beef
  • 1/2 white bread, crust removed, tear into small pieces and soaked in 2 tablespoon milk.
  • 1 /2 egg (whisked)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoon oil
Glaze soy sauce :
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon mirin (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Steps :

  1. Mix beef with egg add the moisten bread , salt and pepper, mix until all ingredients combined and set aside in the freezer for about 20 minutes, the slightly frozen mixture will make it easier to shape into roll.
  2. Cover sushi bamboo mat with cling wrap and then spread 2 table spoon of the meat mixture on the mat, place the carrots and green beans on top of the meat mixture. Add another portion of meat mixture and then roll the bamboo mat to form a roll, use a little pressure to ensure veggies and meat blend solidly inside.
  3. Steam the meat mixture (with the plastic wrap still on) to ensure the shape is intact, alternate is to pan fried  in non sticky pan, remove plastic wrap (but it is quite difficult to keep the round shape)
  4. Use tooth pick to check, if the pick come out clean,means meatloaf is cooked. Remove plastic wrap.
  5. Over low heat cook all sauce ingredients until simmer and then roll the steamed meatloaf into the sauce, cook for a while until meatloaf surface is brownish and well coated with sauce.
  6. Cut into slices and serve with rice. Add more sauce as preferred.

Notes : Since I like to make this meatloaf for bento stash/filler, I like to skip step no.5 or use a little sauce only,  freeze them in rolls and cut into slices upon needed.

 

Bento # 65 – Boar Bento

Today bento is another pig theme but in a more masculine shape, the boar.

The 2 boars were made of hard boiled egg cooked in pork stew and soya sauce (Mum cook pork stew with eggs and tofu, and as usual I took the advantages and bring back a little portion for my stash at the fridge).

Cut the egg into 2 and made a small cut at the edge  to form a nose and keep the cut part for the ears and tusks. I use the sliced ham from my fried Lotus root with mushroom dish for the eyes, decorated with black sesame seed.

Below please find the photos  🙂

Bento #65 – Boar bento 1.0

Another angle with closer look to the boars.

Side dish was Fried lotus root with mushroom that I cook and posted earlier today.

Bento #65 – Boar bento 1.1

I received my package from Bento& Co this morning and  immediately use the Kokeshi bento box  for today Bento 🙂

 

 

 

 

Deep Fried Prawn (Eby Fry)

Remember the side dish fried prawn  in Happy Birthday Bento? Well this is the recipe, sorry for the late posting.

I got this recipe from my mum, it’s basically   crumbed deep fried prawn using the Japanese panko.

Few useful tricks from her :

  • to make the shrimp not curling up during frying, make a small cut on the prawn bottom and use your hand to press them
  • soak the prawn in ice water and baking soda will add the crunchiness to prawn texture

Ingredients :

  • Few big prawn (Black Tiger prawn)
  • 1/4 tea spoon baking soda
  • 1 table spoon corn starch
  • 1 egg white (beaten)
  • 1 egg (add with 1 table spoon water and beat the egg)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying

Steps :

  1. Remove the prawn head , shell  and vein, but leave the tail part
  2. Soak clean  prawn in ice water add with baking soda for about 30 minutes
  3. Rinse prawn with running water , drain the water and beaten egg white and corn starch and lightly massage the prawn for about 1 – 2 minutes
  4. Again, rinse the prawn and dry with paper towel
  5. Make diagonal cut on prawn bottom and press the prawn on the back to ensure prawn won’t curl up during frying process
  6. Roll prawn on flour until evenly coated , shake the excess flour and  then dip in beaten egg
  7. Roll the prawn on panko until evenly coated.
  8. Then dip the panko coated prawn into egg mixture again and then roll on panko again, shake to remove the excess panko.
  9. Deep fry the prawn until golden yellow and crispy, remove and drain on paper towel

   

   

Bento # 12 : Happy Birthday Bento

January is a special month that mark as fresh day and new start of everything according to the calendar.

It is also special because it was the birth month of several special people in my life, and they are  the 7 nice and sweet girls I have known since high school, at college,  work and community.

I remember those days when we meet almost everyday and celebrate the birthday right on the day. Now a day even though we only meet occasionally and only able to greet each other birthday greetings by phone, yet the friendship remains.

Our friendship stands the test of time and show in many different ways, it is  not always an easy thing but yet we manage to hold it strong.

Hereby a Special Birthday Bento as a tribute to the special girls on this special month.

It took few days to plan and draft the Bento , I have the general idea in my mind so I started  listing down all the important things one should have in the special day. And then it hit me that all girls have different character and interest and I want to personalized the bento for each of them.  If I am an expert of course I will make a bento with their personal look/face , but since I am just an amateur I resolved with making their favorite pet, to represent each of them.

So girls, remember the favorite pet polling? Well … now you know the reason behind.

A birthday cake for the Birthday girls.

Sorry girls you have to share the cake, however each of you got your own balloon , they are 6 of them 🙂

A birthday noodle to symbolizes  long long life… Yes you still have to share the noodle but I love you all equally, each of you have your own cheese in heart shape.  And Jelly to add more sweetness in your long lovely life…

Your own favorite pet, I bet you can easily recognize which one is yours 🙂

Fried Chicken and Prawn to represent liveliness, happiness and good fortune

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to :

  • Dr. CR
  • Ms. NF
  • Mrs. SS
  • Mrs. SL
  • Mrs. CK
  • Mrs. AM
  • Mrs. CA

Your best years are still ahead of you and Birthdays are good for you, statistics show that people who have the most live the longest!

Cheers

Deep Fried Chicken with Seaweed

This chicken serve as side dish of today Birthday Bento.

I am glad to be able to maximize the unused Nori , this recipe is very easy to make and multipurpose, as appetizer, side dish for meal with rice  or as fast finger food or snacks.

Ingredients :

  • 2  skinless chicken breast
  • 1 table spoon soya sauce
  • 1 table spoon cooking wine
  • 1/4 tea spoon pepper
  • 1 sheet nori, finely chopped or crumbled into very small pieces
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 tea spoon mushroom granules and few drops of sugar to enhance flavor (optional)

Steps :

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces/cubes and discard any thin ends so that the pieces will be an even size.
  2. Combine soy sauce, cooking wine and pour to chicken, toss until the pieces are evenly coated with the marinade, set aside for 10 minutes then drain off any excess marinade
  3. Mix the nori with cornflour and lightly coat each piece of chicken in cornflour mixture
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan over medium heat.
  5. Fry the chicken until golden brown, drain on paper towels
  6. Serve with steamed rice for lunch/dinner or else just eat it as finger food snacks.

 

 

Corn and Shrimps fritters

This is one of my mum’s home cooked food that we all enjoy be it as  snacks or as side dish to go with rice on lunch/dinner time.

Ingredients :

  • 1 corn (shredded) – I use the fresh shredded organic corns
  • few shrimps (chopped)
  • spring onions (slice thinly) -> forgot to the the photo
  • 1 red chilli (slice thinly) -> I substitute with chilli flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup Flour

Mix all ingredients to make a batter and deep fried until golden brown.

   

 

Note : For vegetarian version, just take out the shrimps.

Crumbed Fried Pork Belly

I got extra some left over pork belly from the Pork belly rolls that I cook today and I remember watching this video of deep fried pork  at http://www.naokoscooking.com.

It looks simple and very easy to make therefore I decided to maximize the left over pork belly and try Naoko’s method.

I did not use her recipe to season the pork as mine already marinated before (check the related post here)

Details video by Naoko’s Cooking on how :  http://www.naokoscooking.com/2010/04/06/deep-fried-pork-thinly-slice-style/