Friday, July 31, 2009

Here's my weekend loot from Japan Home Center. A faux lacquer 2-tier bento and a slim black striped bento. I'll show you the insides one of these days. Of course, they're P88 each. The leaf bento belts are from Saizen. The slim bento didn't have chopsticks in them. The first yellow bento I bought from Japan Home Center included chopsticks. Maybe they removed the chopsticks from this one?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I am not a purist when it comes to food or cooking. I'm also not a bento expert. If you've been regularly checking up on my posts you will know that I cook whatever I like, however I want it to be cooked. Having a full time office job gives me very little time to prepare our baon (or bentos) in the morning. I am trying to avoid using the microwave in the office except for reheating soups. My food ends up dry and tough when reheated in the microwave.

This bento uses all packed/frozen things. The fish I used was frozen cream dory fillet. I fried this in a little oil until brown. Those are frozen mixed veggies. The sweet and sour sauce is Del Monte's sweet and sour mix. The only fresh thing there is the onion. To cook, saute onions and mixed veggies in oil then pour prepared sauce. Let simmer. When the sauce is a bit thick, just add the fish fillets or you can pour the sauce on top of the fillets.

I wanted the rice to absorb the sauce that's why I didn't put any partition. Total prep and cooking time? Less than 10 minutes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I've been experimenting with ways to cook this butterflied fish. This one has been cooked in sesame oil, light soy sauce, mirin and sake. First, I fried the fish for just a short time then poured the sauce. Tucked in the little corner are buttered beans and carrots. Under the fish is an onigiri topped with sesame seeds and taking up most of my bento space is the salad. I was the only one who had baon that day as MB was out doing some errands. That explains the salad surplus.

Note regarding the fish: I think the best way to cook this fish is tempura style. It has tiny bones that don't get cooked through when just frying. When it's cooked tempura style, you don't notice the bones at all. Still, it's a bargain at P130 a tray. I saw one tray at SM last Sunday and it costs P225. Yahoo!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yes, I know the combination is weird but sometimes my taste in food is really weird. For example, I like eating leftover pasta with fried rice. I share this pasta + rice combo love with my friend Ana. When I eat chips, I have to eat some form of chocolate. Not just potato chips (like Royce) but all forms of junk food. I can list more but that might gross you out already so on with this meal.

This is the fastest curry recipe out there as it uses roux! That's the equivalent of our broth cubes. I bought the Golden Curry brand from Hatchin and this is just medium heat. You can choose the spiciness of the curry indicated in the box. I sauteed some garlic and onions and cooked the chicken wings. Added some carrots and potatoes and waited for the vegetables to cook a little then added some water. I intended to make the curry's sauce thin. I can't take too much curry. For it to be this light, I only used 2 cubes from a 4-cube pack. Then season with salt and pepper or just plain salt if you think that the spices are already enough.

On the side is just a lettuce-tomato salad with thousand island dressing. I had the salad for dessert...weird...

Friday, July 24, 2009

I was able to buy a pack of udon at Hatchin for only 38 pesos! Yes, I'm that ecstatic because it is very rare that I see products in a Japanese store that are cheap. These are actually a bunch of leftovers too.

For the broth, I just made a basic Japanese broth using dashi, mirin and sake. Season with a little light soy sauce. You can cook the noodles separately or in the broth like I did. I guess it depends on the package instructions. I also added some wombok, chikuwa and naruto kamaboko plus a boiled egg. I just love boiled eggs in noodles! For the meat, I added shrimps and chicken. Another perfect supper for a rainy evening.

This is basically another leftover baon (or bento). I only had a carrot and some beans in the fridge plus a tray of these butterflied fish from Hatchin. The veggies are just the regular gisa or saute with garlic and onions. The fish is cooked in a mixture of sake, mirin and light soy sauce. For the rice, I just sprinkled it with sesame seeds and voila! You now have a filling lunch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another quick Asian dinner for you. That's just basic calamari and sauteed bean sprouts. For the Szechuan Eggplant, you will need eggplants and ground chicken. According to Mao, of Cooking Masterboy (hehe), Szechuan cooking is supposed to be hot, hot, hot. I don't have Szechuan peppers and so I used our very own siling labuyo.

Brown ground chicken in a pan. Add sliced eggplants. I chopped them up into quarters. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix about half a tablespoon miso paste with water. Pour over the eggplants. Stir in honey and chillies. Add some soy sauce. Sprinkle with green onions. Simmer until done. All this took about 30 minutes to prepare.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A few weeks ago, MB developed an addiction for bibimbap. That's what he would always order every time we went out. So I've decided to make a mock bibimbap. I say mock because one, I don't have hot pepper paste and two, I didn't have ground beef at the time I made this. I just made do with whatever leftover vegetables we had in the fridge.

To start, I cooked the sukiyaki cut beef in a separate pan. I then sauteed some onions in sesame oil. Added some bean sprouts and carrots to the pan and allowed this to cook. I then poured the sauce which is a mixture of light soy sauce, hoisin sauce and chili-garlic sauce. Top with leeks. Serve over hot rice with fried egg. I don't eat egg whites thus the photo.

Was it any good? Migraine Boy finished his overflowing bowl.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I don't know how to make torta. There, I said it. I just never enjoyed the dish growing up and so I didn't bother to learn how. But Migraine Boy likes torta and so I asked him to cook one and maybe, just maybe, I'll enjoy it this time. I did!

He made torta with ground chicken for the stuffing. I made the beef and veggie stir fry. Just saute some onions in sesame oil. Add some sliced green peppers. Next are the carrots and togue. Season with sake, light soy sauce and mirin. Let cook for a while then add the cooked beef sukiyaki slices.

I had torta again a week later for baon and didn't like it. Teehee.. I guess some things never change.

Monday, July 20, 2009

So here are the prizes up for grabs!
  • 1 black bento
  • 1 pink bento
  • 1 set of chopsticks
  • 1 rice paddle
  • 2 leaf bento belts
  • 17 animal picks (comes in a pouch)
  • 20 vegetable picks (comes in a pouch)
  • 1 set of cookie cutters
To join, just answer this question: What is your favorite baon (packed lunch) featured in this blog and why? Leave a comment with your answer, your name and your email address. The answer that I like best, wins. This contest is valid until July 31, 2009 only.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This is another easy baon. That's chicken adobo flakes in the small container. My first attempt at adobo flakes was not that satisfying. The meat burned. Hehe. I'm really bad at following recipes. For this second attempt, I just followed my usual way of cooking adobo.

As usual, I boiled the chicken. In another pan, fry some garlic in oil then add the boiled chicken. Cook until brown. Pour some vinegar and soy sauce. Add half a cup of water. Add about two shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Add some bay leaves and peppercorns. Boil until liquid is reduced to half.

Transfer to plate. Tear the meat. In the same pan, pour some more oil and fry the chicken meat. Pour the sauce a little at a time. Fry to desired crunchiness.

I packed this with garlic fried rice and a bear egg. MB's was a bunny egg smothered in sauce. That was a very satisfying lunch indeed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This is the perfect rainy day lunch. We had this one Sunday afternoon when I was not feeling well and the weather was crazy.

To prepare the meatballs, mince garlic and spring onions. Mix with ground chicken and add chili garlic paste, about half a teaspoon sesame oil and one egg. Form into balls.

For the soup, saute some garlic in a little oil. Add shiitake and chopped carrots. Pour broth. Add sliced wombok. Drop chicken meatballs one by one. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Remove cooked meatballs and vegetables. Drop sotanghon noodles in the broth and allow to cook. Return meatballs and vegetables to pot and mix. Serve hot as is or with rice.

I also served some cheesy lotus root chips. Just fry renkon and sprinkle with cheese powder. MB loved this!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I just found out today that my blog has reached its 240th view. As this blog's title is 240, we will celebrate with a contest! I will be posting the stuff up for grabs next week plus the contest question. Stay tuned!

My brain is in Japan today. I'm exhausted. I had one of those shopping trips in which I didn't have fun. I was too tired last night to even enjoy shopping for a phone for Migraine Boy and a BP monitor for his mom. We got home at 9 pm. I know that's still early for most of you but me, no. There are times when I'm already asleep by 9 and most of time, I'm already in bed around that time. So forgive this post today as it will be very simple.

Saute some onions in sesame oil. Add chopped shiitake and lotus root. Pour a mixture of oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin and sake. When vegetables are almost done, add chopped wombok pechay. On the sides are fried talakitok (trevally) and miso soup with tofu that I love, love, love.

I'll see you tomorrow when my brain has landed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Part 4 of the Japanese Dinners. This is kisu furai. It's fish covered with panko (Japanse breadcrumbs). I bought this at Hatchin for P18 each. You just fry 'em up and serve with tempura sauce. That's steamed broccoli with soy + lemon sauce. This is served with rice topped with sesame seeds and miso soup.

To make miso soup, just heat some dashi on low heat. I used about 2 cups. Then take a little of the liquid and put in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of miso paste then dissolve. Pour miso mixture into the dashi pot then mix. Don't let the soup boil. Turn off the heat and add tofu cubes and sliced leeks. Serve hot.

For dessert we had that chocolate chip and almond cookie on the side which we also got from Hatchin for P20. I know it's expensive but it was worth it. The cookie was filled with chips and lots of crushed almonds. You can taste all that goodness in every bite. I think everything took only 20 minutes to prepare. Easy and tasty!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Japanese spread continues. I made chicken karaage for dinner. I used chicken breast fillet as that was the only meat available in the fridge. In Tokyo Tokyo or Yoshinoya, they use chicken wings.

Marinate the chicken in light soy sauce, sake and ginger for about 30 minutes. Don't take too long as the salt will toughen up the chicken, or so I was told.

After marinating, dredge chicken pieces in flour and fry in hot oil. Drain on paper towels.

For the soup, I used a very basic Japanese soup that uses dashi, mirin, light soy sauce and sake. Just mix the sauces together and boil. Add veggies of your choice, in my case, snap peas and cabbage slices and leeks.

On the side is singkamas or jicama drizzled with vinegar + salt + sugar dressing. Serve with rice topped with sesame seeds. Chicken karaage is normally served with lemon. I ate this as is and it was wonderful.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I tried the homemade barbecue sauce on fish. Well, it worked! Just cook slices of fish fillet, I used cream dory, in the sauce then sprinkle with spring onions.

For the soup, I used bow tie noodles. They're not pasta. They're Vietnamese noodles, much softer and cooks faster than regular bow tie pasta. Just saute some garlic, onions and celery in a little oil. Cook chicken chunks until brown then pour stock. Add the cooked noodles when the soup is almost done.

For the renkon, I just sauteed some garlic and ginger in sesame oil then added the renkon slices. In a bowl mix oyster sauce, light soy sauce and mirin. Pour the sauce on the renkon, making sure that all pieces are coated with the sauce. Top with sliced leeks.

This is another quick (and colorful ) dinner spread. It only took 30 minutes to prepare everything. Cooking Japanese inspired meals gives me a lot of eye candy and flavors in one meal. You should try it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Japan, yakisoba is considered as junk food. We munch on chips, they munch on noodles. Normally, yakisoba requires a ready made yakisoba sauce which I don't have. Actually, I've never seen one in the Japanese groceries that I frequent. Or maybe I'm just not asking. Anyway, here's my version.

Cook noodles according to package directions. I used Vietnamese noodles. In a bowl, mix together oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin, sake and honey. Set aside. Fry beef in a pan. Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same pan, heat some sesame oil. Saute some ginger and onions. Add some green pepper strips. Add julienned carrots and bean sprouts. Just a handful of bean sprouts will do. Add sliced cabbage. Pour the sauce. Add the noodles which have been drained and sprinkled with sesame oil. Mix and heat for about a minute. Serve hot.

That's some leftover corn eggdrop soup in the picture. Those pretty little things are renkon chips or lotus root. I bought them at the Korean grocery near our office. They come cut up and frozen. I've never seen fresh lotus root here though. Just thaw the renkon and fry in hot oil like you would french fries. Be careful as they cook fast. I didn't know that that's why some chips got burned. The taste? Much like fries! Just starchier. But they're really good. Migraine Boy didn't like them so much so what I did last Sunday was to coat them with powdered cheese. He loved them! I'll be experimenting with other flavors soon but for now I'll stick withthe powdered cheese while it still works its magic. Sneaky...

Yakisoba on FoodistaYakisoba

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ground chicken is becoming a staple in my freezer. It's easy to prepare, cooks fast and very versatile. I'm hating ground beef nowadays because of the series of episodes of very oily beef so ground chicken is a refreshing alternative. Oh, and did I mention cheap?

I cooked the chicken rolls the night before. You will need ground chicken, garlic, egg, chili, salt and ground pepper. Just mix all ingredients in a bowl, form into rolls or meatballs or patties then fry in butter. Remember that chicken cooks fast so be alert. As always, when preparing chicken, make sure to wash the chicken properly (as well as your hands) and avoid cross contamination. When you use the chopping board to cut chicken, make sure to wash it first before cutting vegetables or other meats. Better yet, have separate cutting board for meats, fruits and veggies. The coded silicone ones are on my wishlist...

I also packed some buttered haricot verts and baby corn. That's homemade barbecue sauce on the left. To make, chop some garlic and onions and put in a blender. Add some red wine, brown sugar, honey, catsup, soy sauce, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce and water. Pulse about 3 times then blend until the sauce is smooth. Cook for about 5 minutes on low heat. Refrigerate or freeze the remaining sauce to be used on chicken, fish or any other meat that you like.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shop for ukay finds without the hassle of going to a dusty ukay-ukay and buy affordable and fashionable finds to be delivered right to your doorstep! How convenient is that? Visit

Or, sell some of your clothes and accessories for only 10 pesos and free up some space in your closet. Plus, you get to earn extra cash to shop for new stuff to fill up your closet again! Isn't it wonderful to be a girl?


Friday, July 3, 2009

The fish from the previous dinner was so good that I wondered if it would taste the same when used with shrimps. OMG.. It was better! The natural sweetness of the shrimp was enhanced by the mirin + sake + dashi combo. Just mix these 3 ingredients in a bowl. Let simmer in a pan then add the shrimps. Top with sliced leeks.

I also boiled some eggs and placed them in my egg mold. Here's the bear egg...

and here's the bunny egg which went into my lunchbox. I just sprinkled some furikake on the rice to go with the Japanese theme.

MB apologizes for the terrible pictures. He forgot to turn on the flash. He probably was still very sleepy that time. Don't worry, he was severely punished for his mistake. = )

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'm loving Japanese inspired meals nowadays. They're easy to prepare, light, nutritious and delicious! For my first Japanese inspired dinner I cooked cream dory fillets in the classic Japanese sauce/soup - dashi, mirin, sake. I served this with Asian salad and corn egg drop soup.

Mix mirin, dashi and sake in a bowl. You can also add a little light soy sauce but be careful as the dashi you may be using might already be salty. Dump the mixture in a pan and allow to boil. Add the fish and cook until desired doneness. Top with sliced leeks.

Asian Salad
Tear lettuce into bite size portions. Julienne carrots. In a bowl mix water, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, pepper, chopped garlic and Spanish paprika. Adjust seasonings according to taste. Mix well. Let this sit while preparing the other dishes.

Egg drop soup
Take some broth, season with salt and pepper. Add chopped baby corn and allow to boil. When boiling, pour beaten egg in a thin stream, mixing the soup with a fork as you pour the egg.

After all the dishes are prepared, pour the dressing over your salad using a spoon. Don't include the ginger and chopped garlic.

Having a meal like this controls my rice intake. I only finish the rice in the bowl and don't go for seconds. Because I use chopsticks to eat, I tend to eat slowly making me aware when I'm already full. This is good for people who are on a diet or want to lessen their food intake.

Please also note that in the picture, I put the chopsticks on top of the bowl. This is a no-no in Japanese culture. I didn't know this until after a few days when I researched chopstick etiquette. Make sure that you place the chopsticks on a chopstick rest which I forgot to buy on my trip last night to Hatchin.



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