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Beef Sukiyaki Bento (341)

Lately I’ve felt like a chicken running around with both her hands and feet cut off. I have a billion things to do and not enough brain power to do it all. Then suddenly in the middle of something I’ll get super tired and end up being woken up on the couch by Mr. Pikko at midnight. Curses upon my body for needing so much sleep! Doesn’t it know I have two books, a blog, two kids, a very bad need to exercise (yeah right), and six episodes of Dollhouse to watch!?!


Today’s lunch has no bentorial because all I did was plop things into the cute little sectioned boxes of this new bento box that I found at Marukai Marketplace on Dillingham. I don’t remember what it cost, but it wasn’t no $1.99 box like at the 99 Cent Store, that’s for sure.

I bought this box because it had the look of the kind of bento boxes you see in restaurants, but yet not because all the compartments come out. Plus, it’s pink! Oo la la! I put some rice into the top left and pressed a little ume into the middle. On the top left I have some leftover beef sukiyaki from Grandma J’s house last night with some fresh green onions cut onto the top for color and garnish. On the bottom right I have a little salad with two grape tomatoes and some Pietro’s salad dressing in the carrot.

As for the white stuff on the bottom left… I’ve managed to find another food that I can mess up just as much as eggs: haupia. For those unfamiliar with haupia, it’s a Hawaiian coconut dessert made from very simple ingredients. Made from coconut milk, water, sugar, and cornstarch, it’s something that I’m sure anyone around the world with canned coconut milk or even shredded coconut can make. Haupia is supposed to be firm, kind of like a pasty, sweet coconut Jell-O. In short, it rocks. If I see haupia at a buffet, it’s over. Before I know it, I’m eating like 4 or 5 squares.

Anyway, I’ve made it from the ready-made Noh packages and I’ve made it from scratch as well. I’ve tried to make haupia maybe 4 times and every time I’ve tried, it NEVER hardens like it’s supposed to after cooling. The other night I thought that maybe it’s cause I don’t cook it for nearly as long as I should, so I ended up cooking it on low heat for like 4 hours. FOUR HOURS! It still came out with a pudding texture. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. Maybe I’m using the wrong recipe. This one was supposed to be the topping for a sweet potato cheesecake, but it’s still way too sloopy to be a topping.

I guess I should add that one of the four hours was lost because I discovered my stove was malfunctioning and actually had no heat coming out of the burner while I stirred it around like an idiot, wondering why it still looked so liquidy. *sob*

At the very least though, it still tastes like haupia, so I put it in as a dessert.


Here’s an aerial shot. As you can see I put two sliced strawberries on the top. Let me tell you, those darn things need the pudding. They’re so freaking sour. Maybe I can take the last of the miracle frooties just to finish them off because man, even for a tart fan like me, they’re just bad.

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  • Danielle

    Mmm, haupia. I had it for the first time on my honeymoon last August, and it was soo good. I didn’t realize it was something I could try making myself. *goes to find recipe* 🙂

  • Jennifer

    So cute!
    What happened to the 99 cent store anyway? One of my friends was just on Oahu and she said that it moved but no one knows where to.

  • They’re going to be moving it to the Marketplace store nearby, but they shut it down early for some reason. They’ll re-open in a few weeks. Or so I’m told, anyway.

  • Susan D.

    Any chances you’ll buy and sell this bento box? I really like it!

  • Aimee S.

    Pikko, I need a box like this! Can I buy one from you??

  • Molly

    I so covet that bento box now, but when I asked the Ward Marukai staff when the (formerly) 99 (cent) store was going to re-open they said they had no idea! But how long could it really take? All they have to do is throw up some shelves and stock them.

  • I got that at the Marukai Dillingham though, not the 99 Cent store. But yeah, I don’t get why they closed down so early if they weren’t even ready. WTH? Don’t they realize that there are bento addicts in town that need their shopping fix?!?

  • blubearypye

    I went yesterday to Marukai in Ward and asked the customer service desk about the 99 Cent Store. They told me they will reopen it at the end of April. The person at the counter didn’t sound really certain though…

    At least we are now able to order from Ichiban Kan. My order just came in. It took a few weeks to come. Also, they charged me 9.80 for shipping, but it says on my box 2.89.

  • Shaun H

    haupia is all about stir stir stir and stir. Keep it on heat until you drag a fork through it and it starts to form valleys where the fork is. Throw it into a pan and refrigerate. I’m at altitude and it’s dry here, so I’m not sure if that plays into it at all. Keep stirring…and stir some more when you think you are done. My own two cents from making haupia for the haoles.

  • Shaun H

    forgot to mention…doll house rocks and you are only like what…two episodes in? you will be so happy with what you watch.

  • Here is a similar box for everyone who is interested…except its not pink and its two-tiers.

  • I can finally do something with that can of coconut milk in my cupboard! I learned I do NOT like coconut flavor in my chicken soup, which is how they serve it at our local Thai restaurants. So this will be made either tonight or tomorrow. Thanks soooooo much!

  • Well, we tried the haupia last night. There was a portion in the middle of the pan that set up and could be cut into squares. Then all the rest was like a soft pudding. I have no idea why it didn’t work for you or me except that it just wasn’t cooked enough (as Shaun H said). As for the flavor, it was so different from what we usually eat that to us, it was just “so so.” But I’m really grateful that I tried something outside of my comfort zone. Thanks for sharing it with this haole. I posted about it on my blog and linked to yours.

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  • Old post, I know – but normally I add agar agar to my haupia.