Little thrills, little trips, little ideas


5 Comments

Frankenstein, Dracula and Mummy 😈👻🎃 Bentos

www.ongling.com

Mummy Hambagu Bento

Its about a week more to Halloween and I had been busy making Halloween themed bentos for my son. Last year, I made him a Beetle Juice character, it was my first Halloween Bento. Time passes so fast!

www.ongling.com

Beetle Juice onigiri and sandwich

He has been so obsessed with Hotel Transylvania 2 movie. Every other day, he would request for a Halloween character in his bentos. Of course, I could not replicate characters from the movie 100% as it would take too much time in the morning to prepare. So I made simplified versions of mummy and Frankenstein and he loved them! Except for the Dracula, which he also requested but did not touch it because he thought it was too scary for him! So much for my efforts to see Dracula come home intact after school ꒰╬•᷅д•᷄╬꒱

If you are keen to make the Mummy Hamburger or the Little Frankenstein Ham Sandwiches (҂⌣̀_⌣́) for halloween parties or your kids, please check out my hand=sketched instructions below. I hope you can read my handwriting… Have a great Halloween!

ww.ongling.com

Little Frankenstein Ham Sandwich

www.ongling.com

Dracula Bento & Chicken Wraps (Dracula made out of mashed potato, hanpen, carrot, nori seaweed and soy sauce)

www.ongling.com

Little Frankenstein- How To Make (Ingredients: 2 slices of plain bread, ham, hanpen, soy sauce, 1 piece of nori seaweed &  1 Japanese crabstick)

www.ongling.com

Mummy Hambagu – How To Make (Ingredients: 1 Hamburger patty, 1 carrot, 1 cheese slice & 1 piece of nori seaweed)

 


4 Comments

Hubby Bento #29 – On the move lunch and its not sandwich

www.ongling.com
Last week was very hectic for my husband, back to back site meetings without time to sit down for a meal. He’s an architect, running to several sites within a day. Some evenings, he would come back without having eaten lunch. I believe many of us experienced that many a times in our work life. Therefore, I insisted he take his lunchbox along and eat in the car if necessary. He was glad he did. I prepared 2 types of onigiris and left-over fried chicken for him. First onigiri is saba soboro rice ball, I used the recipe from Japan’s famous chef, Harumi Kurihara. She made saba soboro (鯖そぼろ) served on top of a bowl of rice. It was very easy to make and I adapted it into a rice ball. The second onigiri is chestnut rice ball. Since chestnuts are in season now in autumn, I was able to get raw Japanese chestnuts from the supermarket, toasted them and mixed with rice. Two very easy, yet tasty recipes. Below is the recipe for making 1 Saba soboro onigiri

Ingredients
1 fillet from 1/2 mackerel
1/4 onion (minced)
2 shiitake mushrooms (can use dried ones too, just soak for 30 minutes until soft and squeeze excess water out from the mushroom lightly)
1 cm ginger minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp sake
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
pepper

Use a tablespoon to scoop or scrap the mackerel flesh from the skin from head to tail avoiding the centre portion where the bones are. Remove the mushroom stems and roughly mince them. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium fire, add in the ginger and the mackerel. Stir fry the mackerel until the flesh turns flaky, add the shiitake mushrooms and onions. Add the sake, sugar, soy sauce and mirin. Keep stirring until there is a little liquid left in the pan. Cook some rice and cool it down before mixing with the saba soboro. Do not mix in too much liquid from the soboro sauce or the rice ball will be wet and soggy to form. Wrap the mixed rice with a piece of cellophane wrap and start shaping it without getting your hands dirty. Since the soboro has salt in it, I did not add salt into the rice, however I added a little when mixing it with the chestnuts. It was a nice sweet nutty contrast to the savoury saba soboro onigiri.

 


Leave a comment

Hubby Bento #28 – Stewed Squid and Ume Pork Belly Wrapped Asparagus

www.ongling.com

EASY EASY EASY! Bento

This stewed squid is one of the easiest recipe I have tried and its sweet savoury flavour goes well with white rice. It is also often called tender squid stew. Here’s the recipe:

Stewed Squid
1 whole squid cleaned and cut into rings
2 tablespoons each of mirin, sake, sugar and shoyu
2 thin slices of ginger
some whole green peppercorns (optional)
Grated kabosu or lemon zest

Throw all the ingredients except the zest into a small heavy pot. I added some leftover soup stock and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat to let it slow simmer for 20 minutes. After its cooked, mix in some grated kabosu/ lemon zest before serving

Ume Pork Belly Wrapped Asparagus
Thin slices of Pork Belly
Asparagus
Ume plum paste

This recipe is really easy too. Just spread a little of ume paste on one side of the pork belly. Place 1 asparagus on 1 pork belly slice  and roll them up. Sprinke a little of salt & pepper on the outer side of the rolled pork bellies before sautéing them until the asparagus is cooked and the meat is lightly browned. Be careful ume paste is salty, so moderate the amount of salt used.

Steamed Kabocha カボチャ
Its easy to carve any pattern on the skin once its steamed.

Have a great day ahead! “^x6”


2 Comments

Dad and Son Bentos – Friday Happy Meal 😜

www.ongling.com
Its Friday! And I get a weekend break from making 🍱! Yah! So today I made something extra special for them, some Japanese sweets (Dango 🍡 and jelly) to accompany their seafood patties sandwiches. I bet Tz will skip his sandwich and go straight to the sweets….

The seafood patties are made up of :
half a cod fish fillet, half a squid and 4 prawns, all minced.
I mixed in :
half an egg, some potato flour to bind the ingredients (you can use breadcrumbs too), 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce, 3/4 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoon coconut cream, 1 tablespoon of tamarind pulp, some minced coriander and basil leaves, and 2-3 green beans chopped.
And I fried them in some vegetable oil until all sides are golden crispy brown.

I added some crispy fried bacon into the sandwiches too. Tz is mad about bacon.

Have a great weekend ahead! I will catch up on my sleep……😴


4 Comments

Red Hair Girl Bento

www.ongling.com

Red Hair Girl

Today I made a little girl out of mashed potato and instant noodle, Tz’s two favourite foods. For the sides, I have steamed siew mai (meat dumplings), broccoli and a chicken ham flower. Tz asked me who she is and I made up a silly story that this girl is a grown up Ponyo. He believed me….^x^….and told me he would take good care of her. I told him to eat it……..Ò⌈Ó

Red Hair Girl
Face – mashed potato
Eyes & nose – hanpen (surimi) & nori
Mouth – crabstick, hanpen & nori
Hair – instant noodle with tomato ketchup & a little olive oil

Have a great day! 😉


2 Comments

Eat your lunch!

www.ongling.com

Eat your lunch

Sometimes, Tz would come back with his bentos almost untouched…. you can imagine how worried I would be because it meant that he was on an empty stomach for more that half a day after breakfast. Its always mind-boggling to think up what to prepare for him. I believe most parents who prepare their kids’ lunch face the same dilemma. Thats why I always try to put various different types of food in his bento hoping he will at least eat some of them. In this bento, I made spam meat sandwiches and udon-yaki. Cut out some comic characters out of nori to give him a gentle reminder (more like stern reminder) to eat his lunch. Surprisingly, it did work! He finished 80% of the bento. I was so happy! Probably next time, when he is able read simple words, I will leave a note in his bento box to nicely “threaten” him, òó .


2 Comments

Hubby Bento #25 – Megawappa bento box

www.ongling.com This lovely megawappa (bentwood) bento box was handmade by artisans of Yoshinobu Shibata Shoten using cedar wood of Akita prefecture. I have been wanting to own one of this beautiful craftwork by the 74 year-old Yoshinobu Shibata. I was very surprised by how lightweight the box is and the velvety soft feel of the wood. Its truly a nice addition to my bento collection and its one of those that I can pass down to generations with many bento stories.

I bought 2 boxes from Yoshinobu Shibata Shoten in Asakusa, Tokyo. The first shop is very easy to locate, just  4-5 minutes walk from the famous Kaminari gates (Kaminarimon) of the Sensōji Temple (浅草寺).
www.ongling.com
They have recently opened a second shop just across the road in a smaller lane.

image imageimage

There are many different megawappa products for various uses and occasions, all so beautifully made, I could not stop myself for wanting to buy more.

The cedar wood is known to keep the rice moist for a longer time and its faint natural scent adds a lovely flavour to the food. These crafts are not cheap to invest. I bought the basic megawappa box without lacquer, those which are given a lovely natural red lacquer are more expensive.

I am so used to arranging the food in rectangular and oval shaped bentos that it took me a while to practice placing the food items in a round shaped box. The box is 2 tiered, the swallower one is usually for food items other than rice and the deeper one is for rice. However, for this lunch, I switched them around. In the swallow tiered box, I mixed vinegared rice with well-minced myoga and shiso leaf. I got this recipe from a nice Japanese gentleman during our dinner at Sushi Yoshitake who claimed that he only cooked once a month. And I loved the recipe! So simple and yet the mix adds a refreshing minty flavour to the rice. I can just eat this with tsukemono (Japanese Pickles).

The other box contains steamed chicken thigh with ume paste, steamed sweet potato, grilled shisamo and okra.

Steamed Chicken Thighs with Ume Paste
This recipe was spun out of sudden hunger for supper recently. There was a packet of chicken thighs which I had marinated in with ginger, mirin and shoyu sitting in the fridge. So I decided to add some ume paste(recently bought in Tokyo) and microwaved it. The combination was great! This time, I decided to steam it.

image

Shiro neriume paste

Ingredients: 4 or 5 chicken thighs ( cut into halves), 1 knob of 2-3 cm ginger grated, 2-3 tablespoons of shoyu, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of mirin and sake each, 1 or 1 1/2 tablespoon ume paste (I used shiso neriume, しそねり梅, adjust the amount of paste used accordingly as it is salty in nature)
Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients except ume paste overnight. Brown the chicken pieces for 3 minutes first before transferring them to a dish for steaming. Mix with the ume paste and steam it over simmering water for 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Make sure the dish is well covered with a aluminium foil before placing it in a steamer covered tightly with a lid. This is to ensure the flavour are re-absorbed back into the chicken.

I hope you like this easy recipe.


3 Comments

Hubby Bento #24 – Oboro Konbu Rice Balls

www.ongling.com
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.

Ebi Tomago-yaki
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.


3 Comments

Ponyo Omurice

www.ongling.com
I bought this adorable little Ponyo puppet doll for Tz from Tokyo and he has been in love with her ever since. He brings her to school, eats with her, sleeps with her and sings the theme song to her (but only the first verse… he’s trying to learn the song in Japanese now… haha..). Ponyo, initially titled in English as Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is a 2008 Japanese animated fantasy comedy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli and Toho. It is the eighth film Miyazaki directed for Ghibli, and his tenth overall. The plot centers on a goldfish named Ponyo who befriends a five-year-old human boy, Sōsuke, and wants to become a human girl (definition from Wikipedia). I, too, the movie. So naturally, I am nuts about her merchandise too.

In this bento, I made omurice  (オムライス), fried rice with bacon, prawn, shoyu & tomato ketchup wrapped in omelette. In the box, I have also packed pork dumpling (siew mai from Tokyo), Satsuma imo sweet potato and steamed string beans.

How to make Ponyo:
layer 1
Hands and dress – Carefully spread open surimi crab sticks and shape with scissors.
layer 2
Face – Steam a small potato and mash it with some butter. Shape it into a round shape with hands.
layer 3
Eyes – wrap a small portion of cheese in a cellophane wrap and shape it into little balls. Gently make 2 small dents on each side of the face to sit the cheese eyeballs.  Use nori for black eye pupils
Hair – Shape 2 layers of ham using a pair of kitchen scissors, a bigger piece of ham for the top hair layer and a smaller piece for the under layer to create more depth.
Mouth and nose – tiny little carrot or leftover surimi crab stick for mouth and nori for nose.

I like how it turned out but wish I have more time to put in more details though. I love this bamboo weaved bento box, it looks like a little picnic basket. Easy to use and clean too.


5 Comments

Husband Bento #23 – Chicken Wraps

www.ongling.com
Yup! The title of this bento is simply Chicken Wraps (….creative brain juice running low, can’t think of one… haha).

The ingredients are nothing fancy. Just
◊ Grilled chicken thighs marinated overnight with garlic, coriander roots, pepper and fish sauce paste
◊ Sautéed cabbage and carrots with shoyu, sake, sugar and balsamic vinegar
◊ Some fresh herbs
The only thing that is different is the wrap itself. I made korean jeon or pancakes (thinner than usual, like a crepe) to use as wraps. I added small tiny dried ebi or prawns (you can buy from Japanese stores) to the pancakes.

www.ongling.com
Accompanying the wraps are some mashed potato with cucumber salsa salad, a jumbo Nira (chives) tomago-yaki, some radish pickles and a chestnut yokan  (Japanese wagashi) as dessert.

Check out the adorable little spoon which I bought from a talented ceramic artisan in Chiangmai. I love how he mixes raw wood with ceramic and cute patterns on it. They are clouds with tiny raindrops…. Awww….. ♥ ♥ ♥….

…Sorry, there is no recipe on this post…. >x< …. I will make it up on my next post. However, if any of you need the recipes, just drop a note to me. Have a great day ahead!