Tag Archives: shirasu

Kindergarten bento – 15 ingredients (Wednesday, 23/May/18)

  1. Rice
  2. “Shirasu” baby sardines
  3. Kelp (konbu seaweed)
  4. Sesame
  5. Carrot
  6. Egg
  7. Tofu (mixed in omelet)
  8. Ao-nori (seaweed) powder (mixed in omelet)
  9. Pumpkin
  10. Chicken filet
  11. Okra
  12. Cucumber
  13. “Katsuo-bushi” bonito flakes (mixed with cucumber slices)
  14. Strawberry
  15. Banana

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Kindergarten bento – Okra & katsuo-bushi (Friday, 14/Apr/17)

I found out recently that our daughter likes okra. Great, another vegetable in the list. Following yesterday, I packed okra again for her bento today. Just to give some variation, today I tossed the sliced okra with katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes), some shirasu (baby sardines) and a dash of dashi-shoyu (soy sauce mixed with broth). This goes great with white rice.

Menu: Okra tossed with katsuo-bushi, shirasu & dashi-shoyu, Rice, Mashed pumpkin & egg salad, Grilled salmon in saikyo-miso marinade, Cucumber sticks 

Strawberry & banana for dessert

Kindergarten bento – Accident (Thursday, 13/Apr/17)

Menu: Steamed pumpkin & chicken soboro, Omelet, Tomato, Boiled okra, Wakana rice with shirasu (baby sardine) on too
Grapes & strawberry for dessert

My daily bento making resumed this morning for the new Japanese school year. I got up early, set the rice cooker, made omelet, took out other ingredients from the fridge I had prepared the night before, packed them nicely, got dressed while the rice was being cooked, packed rice, all nice and neat in the bento box, right on time, and everything was going perfectly.

I was about to sit down at the breakfast table when I heard this “pshhhh” sound. My husband opened the new can of Illy coffee with which he makes his espresso every morning. By the way, this Italian brand does great coffee with excellent flavour, and we both love it. It comes in this vacuumed packed, beautiful aluminum cannister. Anyway, looking over the kitchen counter to see if there’s anything I should take with me to the dining table, I noticed there was a spray of black pepper-like powder all over the place, including our daughter’s bento. Looking at each other’s faces in horror, we realised my husband’s coffee spilled out of the can with the air pressure and landed all over on the food. Oh…

My husband told me this had never ever happened before. Yeah sure, but how about the bento? I wanted to scream but held back… (got whiny instead). He then innocently told me to just wash it off and wipe a little. Yeah right. How can you wash omelet or rice or soboro pumpkin with water… How convenient if you can do that! To my dismay, I had to repack everything. As for the omelet I chopped off the top part (hence shorter than the original), for the shirasu rice I scraped off the top and added the leftover (thank goodness I still had some left next to the rice cooker not on the kitchen counter), and for the soboro pumpkin I had to put them in a separate bowl, carefully remove the ones with most coffee on them and put the rest back (I’m pretty sure some coffee was still hiding inside but at that point I couldn’t care less).

Voila, here is my daughter’s repacked bento for the first day of this school year’s bento making. I’d say it’s a great start!

* We love Illy coffee and recommend it to anyone who likes espresso. Just do not open the new can next to your food 😉

Kindergarten bento – Mmmm yummy! (9/Feb/17)

At the kitchen this morning, our girl cheekily peaked at her bento of the day, and she said… “Mmmm, yummy!” It made my day☺️ 

It is endearing to know that she actually looks forward to her daily bento. It is worth waking up early to prepare the bento.

Menu: Grilled salmon & sesame furikake mixed in rice, Broccoli & shirasu omelet, Steamed pumpkin, Stewed beet root & veggies (from the soup I made the evening before)

Apple mousse & banana for dessert

Kindergarten bento – Artwork (2/Dec/16)

Today, there was an “art exhibition” at our daughter’s school first thing in the morning, presenting all the artwork made by the children for the past ten months. In our daughter’s class, there were a number of mushroom-shaped paper canvas on the wall with colourful dots and hearts painted by the children, their pictures of a large decoration cake with their own illustration (our girl painted the cake pink, purple & yellow, drew 3 candles on it and above the cake 3 people with smiling faces, representing her family. *sigh*), etcetera, etcetera…

Among all of their hard work, the biggest achievement of all was….THIS.


They each made a bento box. It had two onigiri balls, tamagoyaki (omelet), cherry tomatoes and some lettus leaves. My daughter made her onigiri balls triangle. Some of her friends made round ones or even square ones, but she made triangle onigiri balls, because I always make them triangle. Because that’s what she knows and what she eats. In the classroom, Miss N thoughtfully prepared a table with a pretend table cloth and pretend chopsticks so that the children can “eat” their own bento artwork with their mummies and daddies. The table was immediately occupied, with the children so proud of their own achievement and thrilled to share their great creation with their touchy-feely parents. My daughter also excitedly pulled my hand to her bento art and presented it to me. I picked up an omelet and pretended to eat, while my little girl was anxiously waiting to hear what I’d have to say. I opened my eyes wide and said, “Oishii!! (Good)!”, which of course brought her a shy but very large smile on her face.

After the art exhibition (lasted only half an hour or so), the parents were excused, and the children resumed their routine of another normal day. I wonder what my little girl thought, at today’s lunch time, about today’s bento I prepared for her after sharing her art bento with me. Coincidentally it contained omelet and cherry tomatoes (well, I put them almost everyday actually), with the same colour codes. I wonder whether it came across to her mind that the tiny detail of her bento resembles mine, just like my bento appear to resemble my mum’s. After all, she looks at it, tastes it every single day at school. The colours, taste, smell, ingredients, presentation… all of these must affect all of her senses although it is not very obvious right now. I remember my mum’s bentos she made when I was a little girl. I was always proud of her bento, because it was not only tasty but also beautiful with cheerful colours, the type of colours reminding me of flower fields. I hope that my daughter also looks forward to opening her bento everyday, feels happy every time she opens the lid and has the first bite. The joy of bento making is the expectation of making someone happy. I’m sure one day my daughter will also prepare a bento for someone else, and I hope she will remember my bentos fondly, just like I do my mum’s.

Menu: Shirasu (baby sardine) donburi, Corn omelet, Stewed potato/hakusai cabbage/chicken in milk, Boiled green beans, Cherry tomatoes

Kaki persimmon for dessert

Spy any resemblance?

Kindergarten bento –  Disappeared seaweed (5/Sep/16)

Menu: Shirasu (small sardine) on rice with thinly cut nori seaweed strings (disappeared), Chicken/daikon/carrot/pound fish nimono (simmered), Spinach & bacon sauté, Boiled egg

Japanese “kyoho” grapes for dessert


While I was applying the sun block on our daughter’s face on our way out to school in the morning, I suddenly remembered that I had totally forgotten to take a picture of her bento. I asked my husband, who seemed to have some free hands, to quickly unwrap the bento and take some photos with my iPhone (which he did submissively, sensing my urgency I suppose, which was a little surprise for me as I thought he’d wave me off). 

Later, looking at the images he took, I realised that the nori seaweed sprinkles I carefully laid out on top of the shirasu & rice had completely disappeared except for the 3 strings… I put at least 20 of them… Dah, they must have gotten stuck on the back of the lid! 

I should be a bit more careful going forward on the height of the contents I put in… After our daughter came home I opened the (almost) empty bento box, and unavoidably and expectedly found all the squashed nori strings on the back of its lid… If her teacher Miss N saw it, I’m sure it brought her a smile. It’s a sign of mother’s love, trying her very best to help her child grow by stuffing so much food that just wouldn’t fit in a teeny tiny bento box.