No fish was harmed in the making of this bento
Hi guys! Did you all have a good weekend?
This week’s bento was sort of an experimental bento. I bought a different brand of vegetarian mince (I normally eat Quorn, but decided to give Neal’s Yard soy protein a try) and decided to cook it two ways: mushroom and veggie mince yaki-gyoza (grilled dumplings), and vegetarian mapo doufu or mapo tofu (Szechuan style tofu in a spicy bean sauce). I added to my bento two koi (Japanese carp) rice balls decorated with nori and carrot peel, radish stars, and omelette strips to create a lattice effect over the tofu.
Mapo doufu is like chilli or bolognese; everyone’s got their own recipe. It is usually cooked with pork, but as I don’t eat meat, I needed to add some depth to the dish, hence the miso paste. Unlike pork, vegetarian mince does not add any flavour to the dish, only texture. Here’s my recipe:
Assembled a quick and healthy bento for dinner last night. The gyoza (dumplings) were meant to be the bunny’s ears. I was steaming the rice in my bamboo steamer when I decided to eat out of the steamer itself (so I didn’t have to wash another dish!). The bento was constructed from sushi rice, two oven-baked vegetarian Quorn gyoza left over from night before, lettuce, pan-fried tofu cubes, savoury nira tamagoyaki (Chinese chive rolled omelette), red/purple cabbage, cherry tomatoes, and mukimame (shelled edamame). I used flaxseeds for the bunny’s eyes, nori for its mouth, and a little chilli sauce on the cheeks.
You can find my gyoza filling recipe and wrapping instructions here.
See below for recipe for nira tamagoyaki.
Gyoza are Chinese inspired part-pan fried, part steamed dumplings called jiao zi, also known as ‘pot stickers’ – as they stick to the pan whilst being pan-fried. In Mandarin, they are also known as guo tie – guo meaning ’pot’, and tie meaning ‘to stick’ – hence ‘pot stickers’. Don’t you just love direct translations?