Tokyo-based YouTube user Ochikeron has been sharing easy-to-follow Japanese home cooking on her channel since 2011.
If you are not familiar with her, she was the one who created the three-ingredient cheesecake using eggs, white chocolate and cream cheese.
Additionally, Ochikeron created a five-ingredient chocolate lave cake out of chocolate, butter, egg, sugar and flour.
Besides these creative innovations, other highlight of her YouTube channels are her cute, cartoonish Japanese bento.
They look so intimidating to make but if you follow her instructions closely, they are actually easy to make.
Some of the essential tools to make your own bento box are tamagoyaki nabe (rectangular omelette pan), eyebrow scissors (used solely for food) and plastic wrap.
Here are 10 kawaii Japanese bento recipes from Ochikeron you can try to make at home:
1.Hello Kitty Bento Box
Do you know that you can find all kinds of rice molds for bento at most Japanese shops even in Malaysia? To make this bento box, get a Hello Kitty mold to make your life easier.
The main highlight of this recipe is its stuffed red peppers which Ochikeron decorated as apples in the bento box.
Another trick she taught in this recipe is on how to make a Kamaboko (fish cake) house. The roof is made of imitation crab meat or crab sticks while the house is made from Kamaboko. Attach the two pieces together to make your house using a small piece of uncooked spaghetti pasta. The hard pasta will be soft after awhile so you can safely eat it.
2.My Melody Bento Box
Now how about making Hello Kitty’s best friend, My Melody? As for this bento box recipe, the main ingredient is Sauteed Shimeji Mushrooms and Peppers.
Meanwhile, the cutesy part of this bento box is what Ochikeron called ‘Fish Sausage Strawberries’.
It required immense amount of detailing to make these ‘strawberries’ out of fish sausage, edamame beans and black sesame seeds but it still looked doable.
Then, she also made ‘Usuyaki Tamago Egg Crepe Flowers’. It is basically thinly fried omelette rolled and cut to look like a flower.
3.Cinnamoroll Bento Lunch Box
If you want your egg rolls to look like oranges, the key thing to do here is to attach seeds cutouts cheddar cheese on your roll with mayonnaise. Who knew mayonnaise can be used like glue for your food?
Apart from mayonnaise, Ochikeron also used honey to attach the little details on her rice balls.
4.Pompompurin Bento Lunch Box
Here is another character from the Hello Kitty world. The rice balls which shaped up the yellow-coloured Pompompurin character is pretty easy to make. It is basically minced omelette mixed with rice and forming into the shapes of the character.
As for the main dish, you can always use your leftover from last night’s dinner.
5.Olaf Bento Lunch
This bento box recipe is pretty easy to make because Olaf is a snowman. There is no extra seasoning or cooking for your rice balls because it uses only the Japanese white rice.
But of course there are those extra steps in making the face and limbs of Olaf. Just like any other bento boxes, be creative and use whatever ingredients you have to make them.
6.Monsters University Bento
Here is another easy to make bento from Ochikeron. The only tricky part is to make your green and blue-coloured rice.
However, you can always head over to the nearest Japanese store to find rice sprinkles. Or you can always improvise and settle with white rice balls to make the Monsters University characters.
7.Doraemon Bento Lunch Box
To shape your rice balls, you really need to use plastic wraps. But what if you don’t have any plastic wrap to make your rice?
Here is a bento box recipe which does not require any plastic wrap. Essentially, cut the face of Doraemon using easily available ingredients such seaweed sheets, cheese and imitation crab stick.
8.Kero Kero Keroppi Bento
If you want to take the art of bento seriously, one of the must have ingredients in your pantry is Sakura Denbu. Basically, it is a mashed, seasoned codfish with red food colouring.
Mix your rice with Sakura Denbu to make pink-coloured rice balls while green laver to make green-coloured rice balls. With some cut-out eyes made from cheese, ham and seaweed sheets, there you have it! Your Kero Kero Keroppi characters in a bento.
9.Minions Bento Box
These minions from Despicable Me are so doable to make, all thanks to their yellow-coloured rectangular shaped.
Just cut your Japanese omelette and put in the details using seaweed sheet. Just like the Doraemon bento box, you don’t need to make rice balls for this bento.
10.Santa Clause Bento Box
For this Santa Clause Bento Box, the key point is to wrap the top of your rice balls to make the Santa’s head.
To sum up Ochikeron’s bento making tips, there are four ingredients she uses to make up the details of her characters. There are imitation crab stick, cheese, ham and seaweed sheets.
By using these ingredients and some skills with the eyebrow scissor, you can make your own bento characters.