Saturday, June 30, 2012

Yakisoba Bento


2012.06.29 (2)

Yuppi asked me for a yakisoba bento yesterday. Doesn't look much. I think I should have made something else too. Ah well, it doesn't have to be elaborate, especially on a hot day. Oh yeah simple bentos are the best. Sugar snap peas and sakuranbo (Japanese cherries) are finally in season. I really adore the look of cherries. Such cuties! Yuppi loves all kinds of cherries so they will be in her bentos very often.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Shiokoji Pork Fry Bento

2012.06.28 (1)

2012.06.28 (2)

For these bentos, I made tonkatsu (pork cutlet) but I want to call it *pork fry* for no reason. I did a bit different thing this time. Having quite thin pork slices (which were actually for shabushabu), I rolled them into nugget-like shapes by hand. Then put on a bit of shiokoji and panko and then fried them as usual. Along with it, I added lemon wedges and mini bottles of shoyu instead of tonkatsu sauce. I also made ketchup/mayo shrimp. Since ketchup tastes kind of similar to tonkatsu sauce (both are sweet and sour, right?), I thought lemon-shoyu would go better this time. And I also made cheese omelet using leftover cheese from the cutout, and instant pickled cuke with my usual shiokoji for a little tidbit. It's nice to have a bit of tsukemono (pickled veggie) in a rice bento. By the way, since it's been getting hotter lately I'm wondering what to pack in bentos. Fortunately, although I've never had an experience with my bento going bad, I want to keep my bentos fresh and tasty on hot days. I gotta care about wettish raw greens and perishable foods.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dolphin Sammy Bento

Yesterday I made sammies for bento for the first time in a while. It's fun to make *flour thing bentos* (bread, pancakes, wraps, etc). My family are all big on bread but Yuppi prefers rice for her bento for some reason. Anyway I want to make bread bentos again soon because my bentos are in a rut and I'm totally bored with them haha!

I've been waiting for a long time for a chance to use the sammy cutters my friend send me last Christmas. My favorite shokupan (Japanese loaf) slices were so fluffy and soft that it was a bit hard to cut it out with the dolphin cutter, but I think it turned out darn cute! Another nice thing about this cutter is that it doesn't make any odds and ends but the crust. I'll have to use the cutters for cookies next time.

I didn't send hubby the dolphin sammies because I thought they were too cute for him lol. And I didn't cut off the crust. Shokupan crust is dense and so filling, but the white part is airy. Hubby would be soon hungry with crustless sammies. I'm not a fan of shokupan crust so I usually make it panko (bread crumb) in the food processor.

This is what the dolphins ended up with.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chicken Katsu Bento


This simple bento contains chicken tender katsu, a folded fried-egg and asparagus stir-fry. First I directly pressed and stuck panko by hand to both sides of chicken tenders, then fried them in a little oil. It's much simpler than the regular three-steps (flour-egg-panko), isn't it? I always do this way for bento because it's much less time and effort consuming. And I think thinner panko crust is better when you eat it cold.


Today's quick okazu! I boiled lightly and drained asparagus, then stir-fried it with a little sesame oil, shiokoji and black pepper until the excess water is gone.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nori-ben and Sausage Bento



Today is Sunday but I have some more bento photos that I haven't been able to catch up on posting. It's hard to keep on writing everyday, but it sure is a dope for me to continue bento.

I run out eggs very often these days, maybe because I've over-used them. I was going to make ninjinshirishiri again, but I realized when I shredded up a carrot, there were no eggs in the refrigerator. Plus meat neither! So I made carrot corn salad instead. But the bentos didn't come out meatless ones because I was pretty sure Yuppi would have been unhappy if her bento had contained no meat. So, good thing I had bought a bag of sausages, phew. I think I should've flavored the sausages with ketchup or something. At least I made nori-ben so that they could eat rice even without decent *partners of rice*. You can't see the nori on Yuppi's rice but I topped over it with a little rice and edamame because it's easier to eat this way. In the meantime, I've been cooking rice with shiokoji lately. Guess what, I found out something new about shiokoji. It makes rice better as well. About 2 tbsps of shiokoji to 6 cups of uncooked brown rice, which gives the rice slight saltiness and keeps it moist and good for ages even when it's cold. Only, too much shiokoji might make your rice gooey because of its enzymes though. Give shiokoji rice a try!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ketchup Pork Roll Bento


Today I made ketchup pork rolls with cheese, shiokoji mashed potato and herb scrambled egg. I entirely wrapped thin pork slices around cheese sticks so the cheese won't melt and leak out, then floured and pan-fried them. Then seasoned with tomato juice and ketchup. It turned out a good bento okazu.


I boiled some potato as usual then mashed it with a spoon and softened with some milk and seasoned with a little butter and shiokoji. It worked well. I'm going to make this again soon!



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Shiokoji Pork Bento and Tiny Little Summer

This bento contains shiokoji pork saute and shiokoji tamagoyaki, which are my current fave, and corn edamame salad. I rubbed some shiokoji on both sides of a bit thick pork slices then floured. And then sauteed them until brown. Though it's preferable to marinate meat in a little shiokoji for a while, but when you don't have enough time it's okay to just put on shiokoji right before cooking. Even so the meat will turn more tender and taste better than one without shiokoji. Did you check out the shio-koji recipe yet?

This one contains onion pork saute (leftover) instead of the shiokoji pork because I wanted to finish it up. Since it wasn't enough to put in Hubby's bento, I had to make the shiokoji pork. I put a frozen mini jelly cup next to the orange wedge as a bento cooler.

I discovered a tiny little summer around the house. Happy summer everyone!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tenshinhan Bento


I was in a bit of panic mode this morning, I didn't have anything decent in the fridge. I thought I could at least make tenshinhan (rice topped with an omelet with a starch-thickened sauce over it) for bento, but you know what there was only one egg in the fridge! I managed to make Yuppi's bento but poor hubby, he gets no bento. I'm going to make him some deliciousness for dinner tonight hee hee.



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sesame Chicken Patty and Menchi Katsu Bento

I know, similar bentos continue. But if you look at them carefully you'll see the differences, though, the ingredients I use everyday are pretty much the same aha! Ah well, yesterday I made healthy chicken tofu patty in the food processor. I made it into mini burgers, and put sesame seeds on both sides of them and then pan-fried. The rest of these bentos have chikuwa curry tempura, ham egg rolls, and some lovely cherries for refreshment. Yes! The cherry season has come close. They are still pricey though.



Today's bentos. I made chicken menchi katsu (panko-fried patties) using the rest of the chicken patty. And I made sweet potato tempura and tamagoyaki with green onion. You see, almost the same ingredients as yesterday's bentos above! Wait, I made curry pork stir-fry today instead of the curry chikuwa tempura. Okay no problem, I'm pretty sure Yuppi is (and was) happy with both of her bentos because they only contain what she loves. As for Hubby, actually he says nothing about his bentos. I'm used to it though. What he does when he is eating something yummy is just to nod saying *mm mm* LOL.



Glad it's Friday tomorrow. Let's keep going till the weekend!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to Make Shiokoji

Ta dah! It's finally time to share this here! So excuse my late entry. I know, quite a few people have been waiting for it. Haha, just joking! I don't know how many of you are interested in making shiokoji, but now that I've been on a shiokoji spree on my bento, I think I have to share the how-to-make. As I wrote earlier, shiokoji is a very versatile seasoning (or condiment) that has become more and more popular lately. In Japan, it is said that fermented foods, such as yogurt, miso, natto, pickled veggie, are help improve gut health and build up immune system. Shiokoji is one of those fermented foods. Not only does it give extra flavor to food, but also it is said to be so good for health and beauty, and even for skin and diet... Heh wow. Not that I totally believe those kinds of things, but think there is SOMETHING to it. Above all, what I like best about shiokoji is the fact that it makes food taste better. I especially liked the use for my soup, curry (made from scratch), tamagoyaki, fried rice, bread baking. You can use shiokoji for pretty much any cooking as an alternative to salt, or monosodium glutamate if you are a MSG user. Plus it's so simple and easy to make it that anybody can make it themselves. So I'd really like everybody else to try it out! If you live outside of Japan, maybe the hardest part of making shiokoji is to first get kome-koji (rice grains molded with koji-bacteria, aka rice malt, which is also used for making miso or sake). Large Japanese groceries have it, I guess. Else you could buy it from They do have anything.

Second shiokoji
Shiokoji ingredients
A bag of 200 gram dried kome-koji
1 and 1/2 cup (300ml) water, (1 and 1/4 American cups)
3 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon salt (about 60 grams)

Second shiokoji-1
How to make Shiokoji
Have you got kome-koji yet? Then here we go!
1) Mix well all ingredients together in a large clean container.
2) Cover it with plastic wrap, then rest and ferment at room temperature for a week stirring well once a day. If you cover it with the lid, NEVER close it tightly because the kome-koji may give off CO2 gas while fermenting.

Around day 4, the mixture would still be grainy. Around day 8, the entire mixture is supposed to be thick and somewhat smoother. Now it's time to use it for your cooking!! The finished one will keep for half a year in the refrigerator.

Shio koji
Here is the way my first batch turned out to be.

Second shiokoji-2
I keep increasing my shiokoji by adding salt and cooked rice to the rest of the first batch. Otherwise I will finish it up soon.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Ninjin Shirishiri Bento


This bento turned out ORANGE in color! I mean, it has no greens. So at least I used a green paper cup to give an accent to it. I think it worked haha! What I want to feature today is Ninjin shirishiri. Ninjin is carrot, shirishiri is shredding. Ninjin shirishiri is shredded carrot stir-fried along with egg which is one of Okinawan popular dishes. I've posted it quite a while back too, but am doing again because it's really a good okazu that even carrot haters can eat!


How to make Ninjin shirishiri
1) Shred a carrot with food grater.
2) Stir-fry it with a little oil until as tender as you like. Add a little water meanwhile if you want.
3) Add a beaten egg, and keep stir-frying until the egg is done.
4) Season it as you like.

Options --- Canned tuna, ham, bacon, chikuwa etc. (I used bacon this time.)
Seasonings --- Salt, shoyu, sugar, black pepper etc. (I only used shiokoji and salt this time, but it turned out so good.)


By the way, that gray stuff is simmered foods (chicken, konnyaku and burdock). It's yuck looking due to the color from the burdock, but tastes really good, I swear heehee.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Shiokoji Chahan Bento


Today I made chahan for bento. I find that shiokoji does a great job on chahan as well. Not only does it make chahan even better, but it keeps rice from being sticky. I love shiokoji chahan at the morment. You know I've been on a shiokoji spree for a while now. Oh I have to apologize to those interested in making shiokoji. I'm way behind in posting the shiokoji recipe. I will write it once I get to take pictures for it! --- (Yes, I haven't done it YET hahhh.) The rest of these bentos contain shiokoji tamago (my current fave) and ketchup chicken which I used leftover crispy chicken from last night.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Pork Soboro Bento

Today I made pork soboro. I chopped pork belly slices, then stir-fried and seasoned it with shiokoji, shoyu and sugar. And drained the excess fat of it on a paper towel because I used pork belly.



Today's quick okazu! Sweet potato salad! I did a bit different thing this time than my usual way. I boiled bite-size pieces of sweet potato, then mixed with some crushed walnuts and raisin. So far, it's exactly the same as the usual. Then seasoned it with mayo, salt and Caspian Sea soy yogurt. It went much better than I expected. I think my usual sweet potato salad turned out more healthy and moist by the yogurt.


Monday, June 04, 2012

Chikuten Bento


It's Monday already?! Today's bentos turned out to be brown all around as I didn't put in green stuff or a tomato cutie. Fresh green lettuce dividers and colorful mini tomatoes jazz up bentos so most of eye-catching bentos have them... right? But during the hot summer months, actually I'm kind of nervous if they turn wilted and yucky at lunchtime, and the moisture of raw greens causes bento food to rot. So brown bentos make me feel good haha! Plus I'm really ashamed to say but I don't eat raw tomatoes. But Yuppi says that mini tomatoes refresh your mouth at the end of bento. I thought she made sense! That's why I put one in her bento very often.


These bentos contain chiku-ten (chikuwa tempura), daigakuimo, shiokoji tamago, yakitori skewers and no tomatoes.