Koi Fish Bento with Mapo Tofu and Gyoza

Koi fish bento with gyoza and mapo tofu

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:

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Alice in Wonderland Bento


Alice in Bentoland?

A few weeks ago, the bf and I went to Oxford, the birthplace of Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Across the road from Christ Church college is a little shop that used to be a sweet shop frequented by real life Alice, Carroll’s muse for his books. The shop now sells Alice themed gifts and memorabilia. Amidst the impressive array of tea sets, books, etc., two things stood out most for me: a miniature top hat with tea in it, and a tiny jar of jam with Eat Me on the label – which I promptly bought.


Alice’s Shop in Oxford – a must-see for all Alice in Wonderland enthusiasts


Souvenirs I got from Alice’s Shop: Mad Hatter Tea and Eat Me jam

I was fiddling with the hat when I suddenly had the inspiration to make an Alice in Wonderland bento. I also made vegetarian baked sweet potato korokke (Panko crusted Japanese croquettes) for this bento (see those fuzzy brown things?). They turned out really well, so I will post recipe soon.

Here’s how I made the characters / props:

  • Alice (bottom right): Head shaped from rice ball coloured with soy sauce, blond hair from omelette, hair band and facial details from nori
  • White Rabbit (bottom centre): Head, ears, and paws are shaped from rice balls, stopwatch from radish and nori, facial and paw details from nori
  • Cheshire Cat (bottom left): Korokke for face, eyes and mouth from omelette and nori
  • Mad Hatter (top right): Head from soy sauce coloured rice ball, hair from lollo bionda lettuce, hat is my top hat tea
  • Playing cards: Saltine / Soda crackers with nori and red layer of kanikama (surimi crab sticks) stuck using a bit of mayo… Without the kanikama, the bento would be vegetarian.
  • White rose: Egg white

Happy Monday folks!



Despicable Me Bento



Last weekend I saw THE summer blockbuster of the year with the bf – and no, it’s not Man of Steel… it’s Despicable Me 2! I have been itching to make a Despicable Me bento since. So this week, I made a vegetarian bento dedicated to the cuteness of this feel-good animated flick, featuring Agnes (left) and two Minions. Agnes is made from rice ball coloured with soy sauce, and details from nori and egg white. The Minions are made from rice balls coloured with turmeric and details from nori and egg white. Also added a cookie to depict the Cookie Robot from the first film.

Have you seen the film? Did you like it? 🙂

Been wanting a Minion to do my bidding, so the bf has been working hard at winning one on the Minion Grabber. After what seemed like the 5th attempt (could be more), we still have no Minion. 😦


My Despicable Me bento was voted Bento of the Week! Thanks to all who viewed, Liked, commented, and voted. ^_^

Bento of the Week Winner


Omega 3 Bento + Recipes


Omega 3 Bento aka Brain Food Bento. I am in the midst of sitting for my professional exams (damn tough as well!) and thought my brain could use some brain boosting Omega 3 and good fats. I made a bento consisting of mirin-soy glazed salmon, wakame and cucumber sunomono salad, and mixed seed coated onigiri (rice balls). Initially wanted to arrange my food in a box but thought it looked pretty enough on a plate. 🙂

Below are recipes for the salmon and onigiri:

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Tofu Tuesday Recipe: Tofu Burger


Open faced tofu burger on a rice ‘bun’. Served with some greens, cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce (a little bit random, but I ran out of ketchup).

It’s no secret I love tofu. This versatile East Asian soy-based blob is so useful and tastes delicious in pretty much anything – soups, stews, stir fries, desserts, you name it. I bought three blocks of firm tofu last week and used one to make 4 tofu burgers – a great vegetarian alternative to fast food. This burger made an appearance in last week’s bento.

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Not-So-Fast Food Bento / Tofu Burger


Yesterday’s bento which I made to mimic a typical fast food meal. The only thing, it wasn’t fast at all, since I made my own tofu burger from scratch. The ‘buns’ are onigiri (rice ball) with mixed flax, poppy, and sesame seeds. The ‘cheese’ and ‘fries’ are omelette strips, and the ‘fries carton’ is assembled from tomato wedges. All served on a bed of lettuce and mixed leaves and finished with a portion of diced strawberries and blueberries.

You can find my tofu burger recipe here.

Winnie xx

Linking to:
BentoForKidletBento Blog NetworkBento Lunch


Wednesday Lunch Kyaraben / Bento: Domo-kun Yaki-Onigiri Bento


Domo or Dōmo-kun is NHK TV station’s mascot. He is a fuzzy brown monster-like creature with a permanent bewildered face, open mouth, and jagged teeth – the perfect combination of cute and scary. Domo is made from a soy-glazed yaki-onigiri (grilled rice ball), with nori for eyes, red bit of seafood stick for mouth, and teeth cut out from fried egg white. The backdrop is a salad of baby potato and mukimame (shelled edamame) on a bed of lettuce leaves. The sides are nori tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelette), steamed broccoli florets, cucumber half-moons, and cherry tomatoes. All vegetarian apart from the tiny bit of seafood stick (which can be substituted with red pepper).


Winnie xx