Monthly Archives: May 2016

Kindergarten bento – furikake (30/May/16)

Menu: furikake sprinkle on rice,  grilled cod & salmon, green bean & ham omelet, boiled broccoli and cherry tomato

American cherries & banana for dessert 

Do you know this Japanese magical sprinkle called furikake? It literally means “sprinkle” in Japanese and is made of flavored dried fish flakes, nori seaweed, dried egg flakes, etc. Usually furikake is industrially made and can be purchased at any supermarket here in Japan. We sprinkle it over freshly cooked rice when there is not much other food to eat your rice with. It’s just some fish flakes you may think, but it always works wonders with children. Our girl was no exception, who loved every bit of it with great pleasure.

Kindergarten bento – octopus sausage (23/May/16)

Menu: octopus sausage, grilled salmon, steamed broccoli, omelet with parsley (from our balcony😉), cherry tomatoes and rice 

Cherries for dessert

Sausage is one of the most common food for packed lunches in Japan. We put two incisions in a cross at one side of a sausage and lightly fry it, and that makes cute, octopus lookalike legs. Easy but nice trick in a bento for the little ones.

The star shaped carrot for an additional colour for an otherwise a little dull bento on a Monday morning.

Kindergarten bento – chicken spring rolls (19/May/16)

Menu: chicken spring roll, wakana rice with scramble egg, boiled broad beans, steamed pumpkin, cherry tomato

Kiwi fruits for dessert


The evening before, I took my first ever attempt to make spring rolls. Against my wishes, I usually avoid deep frying for two reasons. One is the greasy smell (my kitchen is not separated from the living room and is located right next to the main bedroom which sliding doors are always open for spatial purposes – as per strict instructions from my architect husband). The other reason is of course the high calories; it’s always shocking how much oil is involved in making something so addictively tasty. 

But with my recipes running out for my daughter’s daily packed lunch, I couldn’t help but step into an unfamiliar yet exciting territory: the world of deep fried food. Thinking about all the possibilities opening up, it thrills me. My mom makes delicious tempura, and it’s about time that I acquire her skill. Oh never forget, potato and meat crocket…reminds me of my childhood when I used to buy a fresh and super hot one at a butcher on my way back from school and ate it as I walked home. It was great snack… I preferred that to icecream. Aji-fry (deep fried yellowtail fish), and tonkatsu (Japanese style pork schnitzel) with sweet Japanese Wooster sauce… Ah picturing them in my mind makes my mouth water. 

Hmmmm, I really need to think about the ways to tackle grease in our tiny kitchen and apartment so to speak…

Anyway back to my first spring rolls. I put chicken mince (mixed with grated ginger, soysauce, sake, mirin, and leftover egg white), sliced cabbage, cheese, and shiso leaves in the spring roll sheets and deep fried them. Came out better than I expected, and most importantly, our little big girl loved and eat them all!

(Took picture from a different angle…)

Kindergarten bento – “tori-don” chicken donburi (18/May/16)

Menu: “tori-don” chicken donburi, steamed pumpkin & broccoli, cherry tomato, cucumber & boiled egg salad

Jelly for dessert  

A popular “niku don” variation 

tori-don” chicken donburi recipe (the chicken part)


– 150g chicken thigh (or breast or fillet), cut into bite size pieces

– 1 tea spoon of vegetable oil

– 1tbsp of sake (or white wine)

– 1 tbsp of soy sauce

– 1 1/2 tbsp of mirin (or 1 tbsp of honey)

– if you like to make it sweeter, add a sprinkle of sugar


1. In a frying pan, pour in oil and stir fry the chicken until golden in medium heat 

2. Add sake, stir fry a bit until sake evaporates 

3. Add soysauce and mirin, stir fry further until the sauce thickens (2 min or so). in medium-low heat so that the sauce won’t get burnt

4. If desired, add sugar and mix well

That’s it! Super easy, and no need for marinating the meat in advance. Just place the chicken on top of freshly cooked rice and sprinkle some nori seaweed before serving. 

Kindergarten bento – niku jaga (16/May/16)

Menu: “niku jaga” stewed potato & meat, shirasu (baby sardine) mixed with rice, omelet, cherry tomato & green bean salad

Grapes for dessert

Niku (meat) jaga (short for jagaimo, which is potato in Japanese). We eat this as side dish along with rice. Yes, most of the time we consider potatoes as vegetable. 
Niku jaga recipe:


– Potatoes (15 small ones / 3 – 4 large ones), cut into bite size pieces

– 1 medium size carrot, cut into bite size pieces

– 1/2 medium sized onion, thinly sliced

– 150g of meat (I like either chicken thigh or pork slices), again cut into bite size pieces

– 1 tbsp vegetable oil 

– 1 tbsp sake (or white wine)

dashi broth, 100 – 150ml or so

– 2 – 3 tbsp of soy sauce

– 1 tbsp of sugar (I like using beet sugar / 甜菜糖)

– 1 tbsp of mirin (or honey, but 1/2 tbsp)


1. In a medium sized pan, pour in oil and stir-fry onion until golden

2. Add carrots and stir fry further

3. Add meat and stir fry until meat turns brown

4. Add sake, stir fry until sake evaporates (this is to give flavour as well as to get rid of the fleshy smell of the meat)

5. Add potato, stir fry quickly (just so the potatoes get mixed with other ingredients)

6. Add broth to barely cover the vegetables (in Japanese, we say “hita hita“). It’s better if the top of the veggies are poking out of the broth

7. Put the lid on (I usually use aluminum foil cut out the same size as the diameter of the pan and directly and gently place it on top of the ingredients – this is called “otoshi-buta“, fallen lid.

8. Bring it to boil, and once boiled lower the heat to low, simmer it until all the ingredients are soft (try by sticking a tooth pick in one of the carrots or potatoes)

9. Once soft, add soy sauce, sugar add mirin. 

10. Bring it to gentle boil, and turn off the heat. Leave it for 10 min or so, so that the sauce is absorbed into the ingredients

Kindergarten bento for a school picnic – salmon onigiri (13/May/16)

It helps me a lot to write the menu the night before on the blackboard so I’m prepared in the morning   

Of course I prepared most of the dishes in advance the evening before, because I’m not a morning person and cannot wake up too early. The rice is cooked with the timer on the rice cooker. 

Wakana onigiri didn’t happen as I ran out of time😓

Extra nori seaweed for her, as she loves it and very healthy

Apple for dessert