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Your Japanese Bento at Home 1 : Osaru Bento (For beginner)

What you'll find in this article

There are tons of original Bento tutorials on the Japanese web, with loads of good tips and details, just one click away. But they all share one BIG problem: they are written in Japanese! 
In this new series of post and articles, I am going to introduce you a collection of some very interesting and funny bento recipes as we found them on Japanese cooking Blogs. I will make sure to keep it simple yet complete enough, and include recipe with ingredients you can basically find in your local convenient store.
For our first article, i selected a great and easy to cook bento from Akinoichigo (autumn strawberry)'s site. She's a Japanese young mother living in Tokyo and has a growing interest in Bento cooking since the time she tried to introduce new flavors to her daughter. Children have now grown up but the passion for bento has remained and Akinoichigo keeps sharing good piece advices and tips about our recipes.
Now, let's have a look at today's bento!
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Kyara Bento knowledge at your fingertips

Photo by Akinoichigo, CC
Osaru Bento is a Kyara Bento. Kyara is a japanese word coming from "character", and Osaru (お猿 ) means "monkey", so yes you're right; it it's a little and cute monkey character. (^^ )/ Children will love it and you too as it's fast and easy to make. 
Here are the ingredients you will need for:
  • Japanese (or at least)Sticky and Fluffy Rice
  • One or two slices of Cheddar cheese 
  • One red sausage
  • Some cooking pasta
  • A sheet of Nori (Japanese Seaweed)
  • Carrot 
  • Salt and condiments

All the ingredients for this bento are easy to buy at your local store, except maybe nori but you can surely find it in any good asian grocery, and that's truly great!

For the side dishes, Akinoichigo used Broccoli, Cherry tomato, fried scallop, potatoe salada and Kinpira (a japanese speciality). You can of course add any food you want to decorate Osaru.

The Bento itself is packed in a round bento box (here are some exemples of our own).

The recipe itself, step by step

Let's get started and focus on the making of the onigiri head.

1 Mix the condiments and salt in the ricen then wrap it in a circle-shape thanks to plastic wrap film (Beware of the hot rice).

2 Cut the two edges of the red sausage and fix them to the onigiri: you know have the ears for your character.

3 Pack your side dishes and the onigiri in your box already.

4 With the help of toothpick, cut the face of Osaru (don't forget: it's a monkey!^^) from the Cheddar slice .

5 Put it on the onigiri you made before and cut hte nose out of the carrot with a knife or mold.

6 We're now just one step away from the completion, but it's the hardest one. Don't worry, i'm sure you will doing it just fine. Grap the nori and your favorite scissors (or molds), and cut the eyes and mouth of Osaru out of the sheet. It could be hard the first time you do it, but you will soon get used to it !  

  

Et voilà, your cute character is ready! You can of course customize it by adding some features or change them according to your own tastes. Bon appetit !

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