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Emoticons Bento

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Simple but colourful vegan bento for lunch. Soba (buckwheat noodles) under toppings of diced tomatoes, sliced tofu puffs, courgette / zucchini slices, and soy simmered shiitake. The emoticons are made from sliced radish with nori details. 🙂

Colourful lunch box makes me happy. ^_^

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10

Temarizushi Bento + Tutorial

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Life in Technicolor?

Temarizushi is ball shaped sushi topped with a variety of colourful toppings, usually served as a celebratory dish. I do have a cause for celebration – I started my new job last week. 🙂

Temarizushi is not dissimilar to other types of nigiri sushi and usually contains raw fish. I am not a fan of raw fish so I made mine vegetarian using whatever ingredients I could find in my kitchen. You can construct temarizushi using pretty much anything, so there is plenty of room for vegans and vegetarians to be creative.

Almost all types of vegetables work well – raw, grilled, roasted, sautéd, or blanched. For extra flavour, I brushed the reverse of the toppings with a little white miso sauce (recipe below):

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16

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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5

Vegan Tom Kha Bento + Recipe

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I hope everyone had a good weekend! 🙂

I would have had a great weekend if it wasn’t for the cold I caught. But I promptly made a warming Tom Kha soup noodle bento to cheer myself up. Tom Kha is a Thai classic in the form of a spicy coconut broth that is fragrant and citrus-y. It usually contains chicken and fish sauce, but I altered the recipe to suit a vegan diet. I should make more vegan stuff. 🙂

This flavourful vegan broth combines flavours from East and Southeast Asia, fusing quintessentially Thai flavours with some of my favourite East Asian ingredients. As with most of my soup recipes, I love adding shiitake water (water which I use to reconstitute shiitake mushrooms) to my soup base as all the lovely flavours of the mushrooms are trapped in the water, giving the broth a rich umami taste. Accompanying the broth are tofu bunnies on a bed of rice noodles. Here’s the recipe:

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6

Chickpea Curry Bento + Recipe

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Kyaraben (character bento) featuring a sunny side up chick over a bed of mixed long grains, served with chickpea curry. Chickpea curry is one of my favourite week night dinners. This vegan curry is cheap and cheerful, flavourful, and warming. Plus you can feed up to four people! If you, like me, only have yourself to feed, you can freeze the rest. Leftovers taste even better! What’s not to like? Here’s the recipe:

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15

Tofu Katsu Curry Bento + Recipe

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The Katsu Curry is the ultimate comfort food. Crispy katsu (deep fried breaded meat cutlets) served with heaps of delicious mild curry sauce on a steaming bowl of rice… Being pesco-vegetarian, I made my katsu from tofu, which I served with a mushroom curry sauce and mixed long grains (brown basmati, wild rice, and Camargue red rice) – rendering my recipe slightly unconventional. My tofu katsu was also baked not fried. I had a little beaten egg left from the breading, so I made an omelette to add colour to my bento; absolutely nothing ever goes to waste in Winnie’s kitchen. ^_^

Bento box is from Daiso. Comes with a pretty lid with floral designs, but is not a portable lunch box (not leak-proof, no strap).

My Tofu Katsu Curry recipe:

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4

Tofu Tuesday Recipe: Chinese Tofu Soup

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I love tofu. A lot. So much so I’d be happy eat it every day of the week. But I don’t, because it is very expensive in London (probably because I know how much tofu costs in Asia that I am reluctant to spend £2 on a block of tofu). 😦

Doufu geng is a delicious and nutritious Chinese delicacy in the form of a thick soup or stew with tofu. Many fancy Chinese restaurants zhoosh it up with expensive non-veggie ingredients like prawns and Jinhua ham, but the humble doufu geng is extremely versatile, pantry friendly, and easily made vegetarian. It is also surprisingly easy to make (well, my recipe anyway).

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