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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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  • I’ll probably be enetering the contest thise week(maybe more than once). I recently got new supplies in the mail from jbox, and I can’t wait to use them ~ XD

  • i was going to enter, i tried to make onigiri for the first time last night and they were disasterous!! haha! of course i was an idiot and tried to do them without a mold or even saran wrap. i thought i had some at home and then got home from the store and realized i didn’t. but lucky for me a friend is in town from Japan for a few weeks and she said she’d teach me 😀

  • When you’re first starting out, triangles are the easiest shapes to do with your hands. Have her teach you that!

  • javapot

    Another great bento. Btw, I really like the easy step by step guide.

  • elizabeth

    whats the fish sausage taste like? I’ve seen it in the stores along with fish cake, but I’m hesitant to buy it in case it taste nasty. I’m assuming its like a lunch meat that you don’t have to cook?

  • Molly

    A couple of onigiri making hints for Yiddle: Wet your hands, then sprinkle both of them with a lot of salt (I mean a lot, it makes the onigiri taste good as opposed to bland), then scoop up a manageable amount of rice (room temperature or warm), then lightly compress while “tossing” it between your closely held hands. You can re-wet your hands, sprinkling more salt on them, and add more rice as you go along to get the size you want. To shape it, try cupping your top hand in a triangle shape and pressing & squeezing down while the rice rests on your bottom hand and repeating and also shaping with both your thumb and the flat of your hand to a nice triangular shape. Finish with a piece of nori so your hard work doesn’t fall apart. The salt and the shaping techniques are stuff I picked up from watching my Dad who doesn’t cook but can make the most perfectly shaped onigiri ever. Your Japanese friend might do it a little differently, especially the lots and lots of salt part. 😉

  • I’m not a total fan of fish sausage yet. I’ll eat it, but I don’t really enjoy it immensely. If I had to describe it, I’d say it tastes like salty kamaboko. Kamaboko is nice because it has a light sweet taste, but the sausage is kind of like a salty fishy hot dog, only much softer in texture.

  • first time here .. and really like your blog. will definately come back in no time

  • mcogdill

    Looks good. My oldest has a MAJOR, potentially fatal allergy to garlic. Think it will be OK to omit garlic? Mochiko flour in NC–can I find that. Not sure. Am from Hawaii but not sure when my parents will come to bring me some! 🙂

    LOVE your site as I said to you on Twitter.

  • Thanks Siechoo!

    Mcogdill: I actually forgot the garlic but didn’t realize it until I’d fried several pieces. They still tasted good!

    You can get mochiko flour on Amazon.

  • mcogdill

    Ripley’s Believe it or Not: There is a Japanese grocery store in Charlotte. It’s a hole-in-the-wall but it’s there. It’s a bit far for me, but the only place to get rice unless you want to pay a million dollars at the regular grocery store. My 12 yo is getting sick of the same old sandwiches every day for school due to his food allergies. He’d love this Bento. Don’t know if he’ll eat plain carrots though.

  • mcogdill

    Hey Q: my allergy kid CANNOT eat ANY of those flavor packets. I can make like ramen with just instant dashi broth with soy. What could I use to flavor noodles in this ume noodles if I cannot use those flavor packets? Ideas? Thanks!

  • How does one eat the kumquats I’ve usually seen them used decoratively and when i tried to bite into one it was bitter and full of pits. What should I look for when purchasing?

  • Will you post a picture of the storage spaces in your house one day?
    I am just insanely curious to see how you manage to keep all the boxes and stuff related to bentoing, and knowing you (from your blog), am sure even the store looks cute.

  • @Dina I just pop them in my mouth and eat them, but someone else told me to slice them in half lengthwise, take out the sees, dip in sugar, then eat whole.

    @Medusa I think I posted one before, but I’ll be sure to get an updated photo and post it soon. 🙂

  • Again a medley of delicious edible art! Great job.