I love fusing different cuisines together, especially Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese. For this bento, I made stir-fried Thai Basil Pork Belly Onigirazu, Crispy Squid & Prawn Springroll (Vietnamese inspired) and Thai pineapple cucumber salad with wakame. So it carries a multitude of flavours from spicy, savoury, sweet, minty fresh, salty and sour.
Stir-fried Thai Basil Pork Belly Onigirazu
Thai Basil Pork Belly ingredients : A handful of Thai Basil, a few garlic cloves (chopped), chopped long beans, thin shabu shabu pork belly strips (10-15 pieces), 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1 tsp brown sugar, pepper.
I used pork belly because the fats rendered during cooking keep the meat moist for hours. Heat a little oil in a pan over medium fire and fry the garlic and chopped long beans with a little fish sauce until the bean starts to soften, move them to one side of the pan. Turn the fire up to medium high and add in the pork belly. Stir in the seasonings (fish sauce, sugar and pepper), taste test the sauce and adjust the quantity of each seasoning accordingly. Lower the heat after 2-3 minutes to low medium and mix in the rest of the sautéed ingredients and Thai basil leaves. Cook until the pork is done (another 2-3 minutes). Do not over-cook the meat as it will turn dry and hard.
Ingredients: 1 Large Square Seaweed (Nori), fresh basil leaves, cilantro, steamed corn (optional but it adds a sweet refreshing taste to the savoury meat dish), cooked white rice.
Cut a large piece of cellophane wrap. Place the seaweed sheet on it. Spread a layer of white rice in the centre of the sheet (square square, leave enough nori at the sides for wrapping it), then layer some of the thai basil pork on the rice. Place some corn, basil and cilantro leaves on the pork before putting on another thin layer of rice. Wrap the onigirazu up like a parcel using the cellophane wrap. Press it down to compact the ingredients together. I use a pressed sushi mould (Oshizushi mould) to compact it so when you cut it into half, the ingredients will not fall out.
Crispy Squid & Prawn Springroll
I saw the original version of the recipe on a Japanese program using normal spring roll skin. I tweet it a little using rice paper roll.
Ingredients: Rice paper roll cut in halves, 1 squid (roughly chopped), 6-8 medium prawns or 4-5 large prawns, mayonnaise, Japanese basil or shiso leaves, mint leaves, soaked vermicelli noodles, vegetable medley including chopped carrots of half a carrot, 1 celery, a quarter onion and 2-3 shiitake mushrooms, fish sauce, sugar, pepper.
Saute the vegetable medley with a little fish sauce, sprinkle of sugar and pepper until carrots are soft. Set aside to cool
Use a blender to mince the squid a little. Add in the prawns and about 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Pulse it a few times to mix it. (do not over mince it, leave some chunks of meat inside).
Mix the sautéed vegetable medley and the squid & prawn blend together. Soak a piece of the rice paper roll to soften it. Place some shiso, mint leaves before a layer of the vegetable seafood mix. Gently wrap it up like a spring roll.
Heat up enough oil to about 180°C, and fry the spring roll 2 or 3 at a time. Be careful not to fry them too close to each other as the skins will stick together. Fry each spring roll for about 2-3 minutes or until crispy. The skin may tear or “explode” like mine, but its ok, it still look good in a more natural manner. You can wrap them in a cabbage leaves later for a finishing touch. For me, I wrap them in basil leaves and alfalfa.
Thai pineapple cucumber salad with wakame
Ingredients : Wakame (Kelp), 1 slice of pineapple chopped, 1/4 onion chopped, half a Japanese cucumber chopped, a handful of basil and mint leaves, some chopped bird eye chilli, 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoons of brown sugar, juice of 1 large lime.
Mix the sauce seasonings together including the chilli. Adjust the sweetness, sourness, saltiness and spiciness according to your liking but it should have a well balance of all the tastes. Put all the vegetables together and toss with the sauce. Its like a salsa.
I hope you like my fused version of onigirazu. I made a steak and onion onigirazu a while back for my husband and kids. Take a look at Hubby Bento #02. ∧_∧