I was able to buy a few Japanese ingredients during my Tokyo trip, mostly dried stuff like this super white oboro konbu おぼろ昆布 (from Hokkaido) which I used in this bento to wrap rice balls. It has very delicate texture like extra fine tissue fabric and seasoned with a lovely light vinegar flavour. In Kanazawa, I have seen sashimi wrapped in this konbu too. Since this konbu is made up of thinly shredded konbu, its not very easy to handle by hand, it takes a little practice.
For this bento, I have prepared shiitake mushroom rice mixed with abalone pieces for the rice balls. The side dishes are sautéed white mushroom with urap urap dressing (Indonesia javanese dressing), crispy chicken thighs with Japanese mixed spice and rbi (prawn) tomago-yaki.
Shiitake Mushroom Rice Balls with Oboro Konbu
Ingredients : 3/4 cup rice, 4-5 pieces of dried shiitake mushroom soaked overnight or soaked until soft (do not discard the soaked water), a small handful of Japanese dried anchovies (Niboshi にぼし), 1 teaspoon of small azuki red beans, 1-2 tablespoons shoyu, oboro konbu, thinly chopped abalone meat (you can use clam meat too)
Rinse the rice well before cooking. In the rice cooker, throw in all of the ingredients including the soaked mushroom liquid. Top up the water level with just water if necessary. Its the normal water level for cooking rice. Once cooked, discard the anchovies and set aside the shiitake mushrooms before making the rice balls. You can either slice the mushroom into thin pieces or leave it out and use as a side dish like I did. (I simmered the mushrooms in shoyu, mirin, sake and a little water for about 8-10 minutes.)
Cool down the cooked rice, mix in the abalone meat before shaping them with cellophane wrap and your hands. Gently take out 2 long or 3 short pieces of the oboro konbu and wrap them around the rice balls. I have tied shredded pandan leaf string around the rice balls for my husband to easily pick them up with hands.
Sauteed white mushroom with urap urap dressing
Ingredients : 5-6 White mushrooms, a pinch of salt, 1-2 tablespoons sake
Cut the white mushroom into thin slices. Saute them in a little oil, salt and sake until all the liquids are being absorbed back into the mushrooms. Toss them with urap urap dressing. You can see the dressing recipe at my previous post Hubby Bento #22
Crispy Chicken Thigh with Japanese Spice Mix
Marinate Ingredients: 1 piece of chicken thigh cut into nugget sizes, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 1/2 tablespoon shoyu, 1 teaspoon mirin and 1 tablespoon sake.
Other ingredients : 1/3 cup rice flour, Japanese spice mix Shichimi (七味唐辛子, seven-flavor chili pepper) or Chinese 5 spice mix
Marinate the chicken overnight.
Mix the rice flour sprinkle with some salt and the spice mix. Adjust the amount of spice mix according to your liking. Put the flour mix and the chicken pieces into a zip lock bag. Toss it to evenly coat the meat pieces.
Pan fry them in a pan with a little oil until both sides are golden brown and crispy.
Ingredients: 1 egg, 1 1/2 tablespoon chicken stock, a sprinkle of salt and sugar, a prawn chopped into small pieces.
Mix all the ingredients well and spread thinly in a frying pan and cook over low heat. Before the egg starts to set, gently roll it up using either a pair of chopsticks or and a spatula. Let the rolled-up tomago-yaki cook for a little longer to ensure its fully cooked inside.