Another cool Japanese thing I totally adore is the proliferation of kyaraben. Kyaraben or character bento are packed lunches that feature popular anime, manga, or even pop idols. It’s definitely not something you just throw around but requires planning so it’s rare that I make attempts to make one. Stil, it’s been some time since I last made a cutesy bento, so yesterday, I decided to go and prepare something cheery and kyaraben-like to start the week off right.
Cute and cheery? How can I go wrong with Pandas? Featured in this bento is Panda-chan, a generic cute panda onigiri. She’s filled with shredded kani or imitation crabstick, diced mangoes and some kewpie mayonnaise. Her trimmings are made from a sheet of nori, cut with a pair of kitchen shears.
To go with her (it’s so hard, referring to your food as individuals), I prepared some feta cheese stuffed meatballs. Normally, I would make bifteki but I ran out of the sour cream that I use for my mock bifteki. So instead, I simply seasoned some ground beef with salt, pepper and thyme, then rolled the beef around some feta cheese cubes. Afterwards, I pan-fried the meatballs until crisp. Quite satisfactory, really, for something done on the fly.
Other than that, I defrosted one (yes! Just one!) frozen Shiso Gyoza in the microwave then fried one side, like you usually do with gyoza. I also threw in a container of soy sauce in the strawberry-shaped sauce container and some mango and kiwi cubes on the side.
From our Tip Jar:
How are those teeny tiny sauce containers filled? Some of them come with a small pipette you can use for filling them with sauce. Others use the pinch and suck method—that is, you pinch the bottle to displace air, then stick the hole in a dish of sauce so that it sucks the sauce in. If you don’t have a pipette though, and have difficulty with the pinch and suck, a good way to fill is to use a clean, needle-free syringe. Sterilized, fresh syringes without any attached needles are available at your drugstore and they’re perfect for filling sauce containers quickly and cleanly. Just pull the plunger to fill with sauce, then transfer to the sauce container. Quick and hassle-free.