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Mochiko Chicken Bento (315)

This week is the last week to enter my Furikake Frenzy drawing! I’ve only gotten 4 entries in it (sniffle, sob, whine) so chances are still great that you can win something. Be sure to check out how great the 4 entries look though. One bentoer even made her own furikake! Anyway, I’ll have to re-think how to do this as I’d like to do another round. Stay tuned!

Also, thanks to a referral by Susan Yuen, I’ll be teaching a two hour bento class here in Honolulu on April 4th and another after that which is still to be arranged. Once registration is open, I’ll be sure to link it so you guys can check it out. I’m really excited about it. ^_^

I really liked how the Mochiko Chicken from yesterday turned out, so I decided to eat it again today.

I bought a bunch of food cutters from Ichibankan and Marukai and while looking at them the other day I had an idea for a teddy bear. She’s made out of fish sausage and her body is actually an upside down rabbit head with a little indentation to fit the bear head into.

The chicken is probably something I should use up fast. I tend to forget about things in the freezer and by the time I take them out again, they usually have a thick layer of frost all over them.

The first thing I did was to line the box with some green leaf lettuce. Next, I added a flower shaped onigiri. I had to use one of my bigger molds to ensure that the bear had enough space to rest on. In step three, I added three pieces of chicken. By the time I got to step four, I realized I had to cut one of the bigger pieces in half to make enough room for my veggies. That worked out really well, I simply placed the cut side down. I used two stalks of garlic asparagus sliced at varying lengths for the best visual.

Next, I added cut baby carrot sticks. I cut the rounded ends off first and then cut the carrots into quarters. Last of all, I made the teddy bear. I used three cutters: one bear hear, one rabbit head, and one arm. The arms I cut out and then cut short again with the same cutter because the arms were way too long. I used one of my nori punches to get the mouth and eyes.

Here’s a better view of the bear, though her left arm is coming off, ahhhh! The fish sausage wasn’t thick enough for the rabbit head, so I had to match up a straight edge with the missing piece and cut that part out and tack it on. It was sticky enough to stay on by itself. You can just see the line on her right foot. After I take the hot food out to reheat, I’ll rip up the lettuce lining and eat a small mini salad in the box with the veggies.

The mochiko chicken recipe is one that was given to me by my friend Mike. I made half this amount for my own.

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
4 tbsp Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour
4 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp shoyu
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2tsp salt
2 cloves garlic (grated)
1/2 tsp MSG (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy-duty ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.
2. In a large, heavy pot, add about 1″ of oil and heat.
3. Fry chicken in oil, turning pieces over often to prevent the sugar from burning.

In my fruits layer I have kumquats, a mini Babybel cheese, a lady apple resting on her side, and some sliced mango. The box wouldn’t close with the lady apple like that, so I ended up biting off and eating one side before putting it back in. It closed relatively fine after that.

I’ve had people ask how the heck I close my bento boxes when they’re stuffed so full. Ideally you’ll have a bento box that has a bit of room in the cover so that your food has space to breathe when you put the cover on but if it doesn’t, then usually I just gently squish things down and secure the box with a strap. Layering veggies at a slant helps a lot for getting it to lay down when nudged.

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