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Chicken Karaage (293)

Don’t forget to enter my 200k Bento Contest! I’ve only received three entries so far. *sob* Perhaps in hindsight, the plethora of goodies I offered for the 100k Contest was more attractive of a prize than the 3 tier picnic box. I may consider changing the prizes around to encourage more people to enter.

I stopped by Don Quijote yesterday to buy asparagus and grape tomatoes. I remembered the asparagus, but forgot the tomatoes. Grr! I forget things like this all the time, so I started carrying a little notebook around to make lists for myself. Then I lost the notepad.

Today I am eating more of my Ajinomoto ready-made Chicken Karaage. I had mentioned yesterday that I was able to make a pretty omelet with my new cast iron frying panbut today things went a little differently. I tried to make some tamagoyaki for today’s lunch and although the finished product looks okay, the getting there was just as frustrating with all my other pans. I suspect my error was in spreading the oil around with a paper towel. The last layer of egg that I poured into the pan cooked fine when I didn’t spread the oil.

These are both of my finished layers. When I was at Don Quijote, I realized that there are a TON of Japanese foods that I simply have no idea about. There were all these items for sale and I tried looking at what was in them but really had no idea what you were supposed to do with them or even what some of them were. I mean, what do you do with pickled pink garlic bulbs? Do you just eat them?

That was just the beginning too. Everything was in romanji, but I still had no idea what they were. I must write down the names of things and ask Erika another time. I guess I haven’t paid much attention in Don Quijote before. Either that or they’ve begun bringing in a lot more Japan items. I felt like I was in Marukai.

Anyway, here is a close-up of the lunch:

One thing I did recognize was a package of nori cut specifically for onigiri like the one I have today. The price was ridiculous, something like $5.79 for a slim package of nori already cut to size for you! Uh… I have a scissors and a package of nori from Costco, thanks. Anyway, it made me want to eat a musubi that looked just like it, so that’s what I did. I put ume paste inside. On the right side of the musubi are some slices of chikuwa, which is baked fish cake roll. Next to that is the karaage, which I nuke for about 30 seconds to get the ice off.

Don Quijote was selling a brand of cucumber kim chee that I’d never seen before from a place called Ted’s. After taking a few bites last night, I definitely approve! The cukes were crisp, light, and seasoned just how I like it. I’ll definitely buy this brand again. I tucked a little ume in for color. Next to the cucumbers is a sliced stalk of okra. I don’t really care for raw okra because I don’t really care for the sticky texture, but the look of it is so irresistable to me. I can handle eating one stalk, so I put it in. Apparently it’s very healthy to eat it raw though, so maybe over time I can acquire the taste for it. Next to the okra is my tamagoyaki. I used about 1 cup of Egg Starters and added 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of soy sauce. I forgot to put green onions! Argh!

In the other layer I have baby carrot sticks and cubed, skinned Fuji apple.

These are bento boxes displayed near the entrance to Don Quijote Pearl City. They’re all Hakoya brand boxes and as you can see, are quite pricey. I have no idea why the smaller boxes are the same price as the larger ones on the left. There was another type of box I’d never seen before called a “Don-Don Lunch Box” which looked like it was meant to hold noodles or donburi. It was $15 though, so I didn’t buy it. It was spiffy looking but not THAT spiffy. Or rather, the one that I liked (the dark one) was already opened. Bah!

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  • I was going to enter! I just need to find the time to make a worthy enough bento πŸ˜€

    πŸ˜‰

  • I’m still planning my bento for the contest.. :p There’s still eight days left!

    Maybe you need a cuter notepad, something you’ll be more aware of. I tend to put my shopping lists on post-its, I always have one at the desk.

    How do you usually do your tamagoyaki? I usually pour in about tsp and mop most of it up with a paper towel. Each time before I start a new layer I give the pan a wipe with the towel. Cook on med-low or so heat, nothing higher than medium.

  • Oops, I meant to say “tsp of oil”.

    Forgot to add, the pickled garlic is tsukemono. I think you just eat it as is. They’re not bad.

  • I am a HUGE fan of your blog. I don’t make Bento boxes (or cook much for that matter), but I love reading about your Bento adventures and looking at the beautiful pictures.

    If I could find a girlfriend who made Bento Boxes like you did, I would die a happy man. πŸ™‚

    Keep up the great work!

  • I bought the pickled pink garlic! It was so pretty I couldn’t resist. Then about a year later I threw it away. Let me know if you find a use for it!

  • I used to have pan issues, too. The key is to remember to let the pan heat thoroughly before adding the oil. I usually turn the burner on (medium), then do some other prep for a few minutes before adding anything to the pan. Depending on your stove, it could take 5+ minutes to heat the cast iron properly. But since cast iron retains heat so well, you want to make sure that you don’t crank the burner up high and then try to turn it down right before you dump things in the pan. That’s another sure way to ruin your food =) You know the pan is ready if you place your palm about an inch from the hot pan and can only keep it there for a second or two.

  • LOL Okay, thank you all for the assurances. I will hold the freaking out until next week.

    @Kitty I think my mistake was in mopping, it thinned out the oil by a lot.

    @Jenton Thanks so much!! I’m glad you like my bentos. ^_^

    @Lisa Did you try eating the garlic?

    @Charity I actually checked to make sure the pan was hot by putting a drop of egg, but I’ll try it your way with the hand over the pan!

  • Yvo

    Calm down! I’m entering. But you didn’t say what kind of bento we SHOULD enter – is it for prettiness, yumminess, or random appeal? πŸ˜‰
    I loooove kara age… too bad the Ajinomoto (which is yummy!) is so exp. It’s like $5 for a bag of 20 chicken pieces!
    Oh, and the pre-cut nori – I buy pre-cut nori in strips, in a plastic jar thing. It’s usually $2-3 at Japanese stores here. Not sure why yours are so expensive.

  • Oh my gosh, what sort of Don Don Lunch Box was it? I’ve desperately wanted one like the one that Biggie had on LunchInABox.net ( http://lunchinabox.net/2008/02/18/how-to-use-a-donburi-bento-box ) – brown with those flowers on it.

    It seems to be un-gettable anywhere now. If you see one, would you be willing to pick one up and get sent a payment for the box and shipping? It would have to be something not super-high in cost (maybe under $30 as a total), but maybe you could help me?