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Totoro Vegetarian Zhajiangmian Bento

totoro-zhajiangmian

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

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. 🙂

Love,

Winnie xx

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Emoticons Bento

emoticons

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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Miffy Bento + Tofu Fritters Recipe

miffy1

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Miffy is a rabbit character from a series of popular chidren’s picture books, and is the star of last night’s kyaraben / character bento. Accompanying Miffy are four pan-fried tofu fritters. I believe most tofu-eating nations have their own version and name for these delicious morsels… dubu jeon in Korean, doufu bing in Mandarin, etc. They are filling, yummy, and rich in protein. You can pretty much add anything you like, thus great for clearing out your fridge. Last night I made heaps of mushroom tofu fritters with the help of my grandmother, who pretty much put together this recipe for me over the phone. Other veg that work well are peppers, carrots, peas, sweetcorn, wood ear / kikurage mushrooms, etc. – you get the idea. 🙂

Here is my recipe for mushroom tofu fritters:

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Vegan Tom Kha Bento + Recipe

tomkha

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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Recipe: Tsukimi Udon

tsukimi-udon

How did my magical sunset turn into a creepy funghi forest? XD

Tsukimi udon (literally ‘moon-viewing’ udon) is a simple Japanese noodle soup dish consisting of udon (Japanese thick noodles) in a broth topped with poached egg. The peculiar name stems from the fact that the egg resembles full moon in mid-autumn. Like most Japanese noodle soups, dashi (bonito fish stock) is used to flavour the soup, rendering it non-vegetarian. Though I am technically pescetarian, I always prefer to keep my cooking vegetarian.

The following is my recipe for vegetarian tsukimi udon using shiitake and vegetable broth. I normally save the water I use to reconstitute shiitake as all the flavours are in the water. Shiitake has a naturally fragrant and earthy flavour that works beautifully in soups. Although tsukimi udon usually consists of only udon and egg, I added more stuff in mine to make it more nutritious and filling. And prettier of course. 🙂

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Recipe: Udon ai Funghi

udon-ai-funghi

Claudia my Italian colleague gave me a recipe for tagliatelle ai funghi (creamy mushroom tagliatelle) but I forgot to get tagliatelle on my way home from work. The only carbohydrate I had in my store cupboard was udon, so I decided to improvise and add an Asian twist to the Italian classic. The cream worked surprisingly well with the sesame oil and nori and the end result was, if I may say so myself, delightful. 🙂 Here is the recipe.

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Chive-tastic

Last weekend, I bought a bunch of Chinese chives (aka garlic chives, nira chives) to make my Golden Money Bags. I was left with a lot of chives. If you, like me, happen to have a bunch of chives in your fridge, here are some pescetarian and vegetarian ideas on what to do with these chives:

Tuna tian (pescetarian):

tunatian

A tian of canned tuna chunks lightly marinated in soy sauce, mirin, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil, layered with diced water chestnuts, diced chives, sautéed mushrooms, wakame, and goji served with an apple cider vinegar and sesame oil dressing.

Chive omelette (vegetarian):

chive-omelette

Chive omelette with ramen in an earthy miso mushroom broth