Little thrills, little trips, little ideas

Hubby Bento #22 – Spice Island Bento


www.ongling.comWe are going off for a little weekend holiday in Thailand tomorrow, thought it would be fitting that I make a spice-themed lunch for my husband’s bento today to set the mood for our little getaway. Its a combination of Indonesian and Thai recipes in this box.

Tumeric Saffron Rice (Indonesian)
Ingredients: 1 cup rice, a pinch of sea salt, 1 clove, 1 cardamom pod, 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or coriander seeds, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1/8 teaspoon turmeric, 1-2 inches pandan leaf.

Cover the rice with normal amount of water needed for the rice cooker. Throw in all the spice ingredients and start the cooker. Discard the pandan leaf and cinnamon stick after the rice is cooked.

Famous Sukhamvit Soi 5 Fried Chicken (Thai)
This is one of my all-time favourite fried chicken recipe from Thailand. Thanks to a wonderful writer, who managed to track down the owner of a small well-known street hawker in Bangkok in 2009 and miraculously got the family recipe! You can read the little story behind this dish and the recipe on

Tahu Telor, Bean curd Omelette (Indonesian)
Ingredients: 1 box or tube of soft egg bean curd (tofu), 3 large eggs – beaten, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 portion of a onion – finely chopped, 1/4 portion of large green capsicum-finely chopped, some coriander or parsley leaves – finely chopped, 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock.

Mix all the ingredients together. I used a deep frying pan to cook so as to achieve a chunky omelette about 2 cm thick. The trick to a crispy egg surface is sufficient hot oil (covering about 1/2 to 1 cm in pan depth), preferably peanut oil which will fry the egg whites in the eggs to a light, fluffy and a crackling texture. Cook with a medium high fire fire and then reduce it to medium-low after 2-3 minutes when the outer skin layer is turning golden in colour. When the middle portion of the omelette is nearly setting, use a second pan to cover the the first pan, tilt it over and use the second pan to complete the cooking process. This is to prevent the golden omelette skin from burning too.  Do not remove the second pan until the omelette is cooked, this will maintain the shape.

The portion of ingredients I give above may be too much for just 1 bento. You can keep the rest for dinner!

Urap Urap Sayur (Javanese, Indonesian)
I have eaten this dish many times whenever I travel to Java, Bali and Sulawesi. I still remember the first time I ate this in Sulawesi, it was on a boat just after diving. I was freezing cold and my dive master gave me a pack of rice with this vegetable inside. It was HEAVEN! Its basically a cooked vegetable dish, mixed with spiced grated coconut like a salad before serving. And different region has their own version of cooking this dish.  I love it with Nasi Campur or Nasi Kuning (Wikipedia: Nasi campur  “mixed rice”, also called nasi rames in Indonesia, refers to a dish of a scoop of nasi putih (white rice) accompanied by small portions of a number of other dishes, which includes meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs and fried-shrimp krupuk.). I made a big portion of the spice paste and store in the fridge.

Spice Paste ingredients: 4 cloves of garlic, some hot dry chilli flakes or 2 birds’ eye chillies, 2 cm galangal sliced, 50 g palm sugar, 4 fresh kaffir lime leafs (finely shredded), fish sauce to taste

Simply use a pestle and mortar to pound all the ingredients into a smooth paste. You can use a blender too. Add a little oil into a sauce pan and stir fry the paste until its fragrant over low fire, about 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn it.

Other ingredients : Dried grated coconut about 1 to 2 tablespoons, 1 small aubergine or Nasu chopped, 3 – 4 chopped okras.

Stir-fry the aubergine and okras with a little oil and salt until they are cooked and set aside. Toast the grated coconut to light golden brown in the oven. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of the spice paste with the toasted grated coconut and add it to the cooked vegetables.

I had a pleasant surprise today when this bento photo got featured on @FoodPornAsia and #igsg on both Facebook and Instagram. I am honoured and humbled. I would like to thank them for choosing my little photo for their sites.


Author: ongling

Hi, I have been making bento lunch boxes for my toddler son for a year. Its a challenge everyday to think of new bento ideas to excite him. The creations are endless and took a lot of trial and errors. But most importantly, his bento lunches must deliver 3 key goals: exciting presentation (eye appeal), exciting tastes (texture & ingredients) and exciting adventures (dare to try; food play). Recently, I started making my husband lunch bentos too for work after he got envious of seeing beautiful bentos prepared by Japanese wives on Japanese TV network. I am learning and picking up skills from many talented bento makers everyday to improve myself. Here are some of my creations I would like to share with you. Apart from bentos, there some travel stories and little things i enjoy doing related to food and culture in this blog. So enjoy and share your thoughts with me.

8 thoughts on “Hubby Bento #22 – Spice Island Bento

  1. This looks drool worthy.
    Hope your trip has been fun so far!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your food photos are brilliant! Any suggestions on photography?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, so happy you like the photos. Honestly, I am no expert in photography. I only have maximum 5 minutes to shoot my food before packing them off or hungry mouths waiting to dig in. So I use iPhone to shoot all my shots and lots of natural daylight (best for white balance). I always place my food near window for natural lighting and shoot from several angles. I will then adjust the sharpness, saturation and contrast on a photo-editing app on the phone. Instagram has great tools for editing including filters. You can try it. I have just downloaded a light meter app on the phone, have yet to learn how to use it with my digital camera. This light meter will help me with food shots at night.

      Liked by 1 person

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