Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese New Year Special: Year of the Horse Bento

新年快樂!馬年大吉。Happy Lunar Year, y'all~
2014 is the Year of the Horse, and what better way to celebrate your first lunch of the new year than with a cute and delicious horse-themed bento! 

Here's how to make the star of the show, the horse-shaped onigiri…

Ingredients: Horse Shaped Onigiri
Hot rice seasoned with soy sauce (for the brown color of the horse)
Sliced white cheese (I used a mild cheddar)
Seaweed (nori)
Tuna salad (ours was made of tuna, Japanese mayonnaise, and Sriracha)
Not depicted: mushrooms
1. To form the horse-shaped onigiri, black a spoonful of the hot rice onto a sheet of plastic wrap , spreading it out in a thin layer. Then add a scoop of tuna salad or your favorite onigiri filling in the center of the rice.
(Tip: Do not add too much filling otherwise the rice ball will overflow!)
2. Now carefully wrap the rice around your filling by bundling the plastic wrap and forming a slightly oval ball of rice.
3. Cut out some rounded rectangles from the cheese for the muzzle of the horse. The cheese can also be used to create the blaze on the forehead of the horse. For the mane, eyes, nostrils, and bridle of your horse, cut out pieces of seaweed. We also added sliced halves of mushrooms for the ears!
Serve with your favorite sides—we made mini kebabs with cherry tomatoes and baby carrots.

And because we were afraid our horses might feel lonely, we also made some little Spam piggies.

Ingredients: Spam Piggies
Seaweed (nori)

1. Cut the spam into medium thin slices.
2. Cut the slices into squares. Round out each corner.
3. With the leftover spam cut out small trapezoid pieces for the ears.
4. Place a slice of sausage onto each square.
5. With scissors cut out the nori into small circles for the eyes and nostrils.

Extra! Carrot Bundle
(because what horse doesn't like a good bundle of carrots)
Pierce the top of a mini carrot with a knife. Press into the hole of the carrot gently and firmly with a toothpick. Do not cut through the entire carrot! Take a 1-2 inch piece of green onion and fray the end with scissors up to the halfway point. Cut the unfrayed end into a long 'v' shape. Roll the green onion into a thin stalk and insert into the hole.

And here's our bonus bento for people looking to stick to their New Year's resolutions. ;D

Ingredients: Salad & Dessert Bento
Yogurt Stars (From Trader Joe's)
Apple slices
Lemon juice
Cherry tomatoes
Optional: salad dressing

1. For the salad, combine the cherry tomatoes and cabbage and serve with your favorite salad dressing.
2. Add some lemon juice to your apples to prevent browning and place this in your bento as well.
3. To make our bento extra cute, we found these yogurt covered vanilla cookies—perfect for the sweet tooth in us all!

With that, we hope you have an amazing, kawaii-filled New Year~ 

Writer: Princess & Potato
Photographer: Potato
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