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Totoro Vegetarian Zhajiangmian Bento

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The fork / food pick is only a prop. No one in their right mind would eat noodles with it. ūüėõ

You may remember from last week’s bento¬†that I bought a new brand of vegetarian mince (Neal’s Yard). I decided to make a spicy Chinese noodle dish called¬†Zhajiangmian¬†or jajamen in Japanese. Zhajiangmian is the Chinese equivalent of the spaghetti bolognese: wheat noodles topped with spicy pork mince sauce, spring onions and other toppings. I substituted pork with soya mince and mushrooms and used Shanghai noodles (white wheat noodles).

This week’s bento features Totoro, the titular character of animated film My Neighbour Totoro. I used the mince to form the body of Totoro and details from egg white and nori. Other components include julienned carrot and spring onion (scallion), egg yolk stars, and a radish eight-point star.

Unfortunately my mince turned out a little dry; I decided not to post the recipe. :-/

Hope everyone is having a great start to the week. ūüôā

Love,

Winnie xx

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Spirited Away Bento + Napa Cabbage Roll Recipe

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Noriben is a portmanteau of the words nori and bento. It is a very simple style of bento, consisting of rice (flavoured or otherwise) topped with a layer of nori. To go with my noriben, I made sides of Chinese leaves / napa cabbage rolls (top right) and Korean style tofu fritters (bottom right). Below is my recipe for napa cabbage rolls. Tofu fritters recipe here.

No Face is a character from Studio Ghibli’s film¬†Spirited Away. He is a lone spirit in the form of a masked figure who befriends Sen/Chihiro in the film. I cut nori and peeled radish to create the facial details, adhered using a little mayo. The mask was cut out from egg white.

Here is the recipe for the napa cabbage rolls. They are elegant and flavourful. I made mine vegan:

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Mini Totoro Bento + Veggie Chirashizushi Recipe

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Yesterday, I made a bento of vegetarian chirashizushi (scattered sushi). Chirashizushi is perhaps the least known type of sushi in the UK, as many associate sushi with dainty bite-sized morsels of rice and fish. Chirashizushi is easy to make, requires minimal cooking, and can be easily adapted to suit various dietary needs. It is assembled from vinegared rice and a variety of colourful toppings (commonly fish and fish roe). This is my take (vegetarian, of course) on the chirashizushi.

The centrepiece of my bento¬†is my homage to the humble sushi rice. Often the chirashizushi is chock-full of toppings that you can hardly see the most important ingredient, the rice… ¬†without which, there would be no sushi! I chose Mini (Chibi) Totoro, a¬†Studio Ghibli character, as it is cute, white, and fluffy… just like perfectly cooked rice. Chibi Totoro is Big Totoro’s littlest ‘cousin’ in the film¬†My Neighbour Totoro.¬†

Here’s the recipe:

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