Cute Stuff From Japan: My First Bento Part 1

Photo by aJ GAZMEN ツ GucciBeaR on Flickr

We have had a Japanese friend visiting for a week. And what better time to make bento! I put her right to work =) This was my first time making bento ever, so I was pleased to have a guide. We based our bento on ideas from this book, which I reviewed earlier.

Treasure Bags

We followed one of the recipes from the book to make treasure bags. My friend showed me the way to make it. It starts with making a basic fried rice. Ketchup makes the sauce with a bit of chicken, vegetables and day old rice.

Our Japanese friend also told us that they add the ketchup to the rice because they think everyone in the west eats it this way. For reals?!

(Keep an eye open for more on the eggs boiling there in part 2)

The next step was to make just a basic omelette. We used one egg for each omelette so that it was still nice and thin and easy to work with.

Using plastic wrap, you make a ball of the fried rice. This creates the treasure part of the treasure bags =)

Then using plastic wrap again, you gently wrap the omelette around the rice into a little bag or pouch shape.

And finally we used some chives from the garden to tie them up. Tying them up was a two person job.

Japanese bento - wrap egg bundles

But didn’t they turn out adorable! I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the rice with the ketchup base, but it was actually nice. The treasure bags also tasted fine cold. Another thing I was unsure about. So all in all, a kawaii success for the first part of our bento lunch.

Onigiri

The second part of our bento was an onigiri….well as close to an onigiri as we could make with ingredients I had on hand. Onigiri should usually have some nori for flavour and to hold it, but I didn’t have any at the time. So we did our best with what we had. Ganbatte!

Using fresh rice this time we put the rice into a container to shape it. While spheres and triangles would maybe be considered more traditional onigiri shapes, I prefer kitten shaped =) (more on the tools and supplies we used in part 3)

Japanese bento - onigiri rice cat

Kawaii desu ne?!

My little nekochan needed a face. Again we just used what I happen to have on hand at the time: chives for whiskers, green onion for eyes, carrot for nose, sausage for ears, and for the girl ones, yellow pepper hair bow.

Japanese bento - finished product

As for the flavour, you know that plain white rice is a tasty treat for Japanese. So that is what it basically tastes like. If you like plain white rice – as I do in reasonable amounts =) you will like the taste of these.

One other thing, Japanese use a short grain rice. Again, since I only had long grain rice on hand, we made do with that.

I will go over the rest of the bento in part two. And thanks to Yuka for her help in making my first bento!

2 Responses to “Cute Stuff From Japan: My First Bento Part 1”

  1. kim  on August 2nd, 2011

    Very cool Stacey! Nice to see the pictures.

  2. sasksak  on August 4th, 2011

    Thanks kim! Glad you liked it.


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