Bento boxes are a fun way to create a small single portion meal, very common in Japanese cuisine. Kyaraben refers to a specific style of bento that has been elaborately arranged to depict popular characters from anime, comic books or video games characters.
Although time consuming, this bento box was extremely fun to make and considering my son's addiction to angry birds, well worth the effort to see the look on his face when it was finally ready.
I used a variety of mixed veggies that our family enjoys, but you can use whatever suites you own taste.
Step 1: Ingredients & Prep
sushi Rice - 1 cup - cooked & cooled until able to handle
beet Powder- 1 teaspoon
wasabi Powder- 1/2 teaspoon
1 head butter lettuce
peas- 1/2 cup blanched
half ear of corn- blanched
bunch of carrots
french breakfast radishes
bunch of asparagus- blanched
lemon cucumber- or any variety of cucumber
1 thin slice Monterrey Jack cheese or other white cheese
nori - seaweed used to wrap sushi
small rectangular container
bowl of water
* some ingredients not listed as pic as they were added as finishing touches
Blanching- briefly place ingredients that require blanching into boiling water for a few minutes and then place them into an ice water bath to shock them. *This will preserve their color and crunchy texture.
Step 2: Make the Pig
1. Mix 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder with 1 teaspoon of water and stir to form a paste. Add more water & powder as necessary until a consistent texture is achieved.
2. Once your rice has cooled slightly and you are able to handle it, dip your hands into bowl of water so rice won't stick to your hands and scoop up 1/2 cup rice.
3. Place rice in bowl with wasabi mixture and stir until rice turns a nice green color.
Next, make the pig:
4. Dip your hands in water again and form rice ball into oval shape resembling pig. Place two toothpicks into the top of the pig where you want to place the ears. After you have inserted the toothpicks, gently press one piece of edamame onto top of each toothpick.
5. Using a piece of nori, cut out desired shape for eyebrows. Gently place on pig. Using a small paring knife or hole puncher, cut out two small circles for the background of the eyes. Place on pig. Then cut out small circles from nori to use as pupils and place on pig.
6. Cut the end off of a lemon cucumber and using a pairing knife,carve to form the snout of the pig. Place a little of the wasabi mixture over the cucumber snout and mold together to form a 3D effect. Using a pairing knife, cut out small crescent shaped mouth from a small piece of butter lettuce.
If you find the nori drying out a little, just dab a little water onto your fingertips and gently touch areas of nori to moisturize.
Step 3: Make the Red Angry Bird
1. Scoop up between 1/2- 1 cup of the rice and add to bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of beet powder. Gently stir to combine until the rice is a deep reddish-pink.
You can choose to mold the shape of the bird by hand, or use a sushi mold. I tried to hand mold the bird at first, but it kept taking the shape of an Easter egg so I used a triangular sushi mold to achieve a more uniform shape and then hand molded it to achieve the look of the angry bird.
2.Stick more than half of the beet-colored rice into the top end of the sushi mold and then add white rice to the bottom portion of the mold. Be sure to dip your hands in rice each time before you handle the rice to prevent rice sticking to your hands.
3. To create the dark circular background for the eyes of the angry bird, punch out two pieces of nori using e a hole puncher. I didn't have one handy, so I used a dough scraper that had a small circle on it and then carved around it to achieve the shape I wanted. Cut out the pupils for the eyes the same way.
4 To create the white portion for the eyes, place a piece of white cheese on the cutting board and use the circle from the dough scraper to carve out to uniform circles. They will be a bit to big, but you can use a small pairing knife to carve around the circles until you get desired size.
4. Using a piece of nori and a pair of scissors, cut out desired shape for eyebrows. Using a pair of tweezers or your fingers, gently place on bird.
5. Using a piece of American cheese, cut out the shape for the beak of the bird and cut out a little slit for the opening. Stick a small triangular piece of nori between the slit to accentuate the detail.
6. Using a fruit roll up, cut out a small shape similar to a heart. Next, take another piece of the roll up and insert it on a toothpick. Mold the heart shape onto piece of fruit roll up and insert into the top of the bird's head for the feathers.
7. After angry bird is placed into bento, insert three carrot matchsticks into left side for the tail feathers.
Step 4: Create the Angry Birds Bento
1. Place small rectangular container onto flat surface and generously place four pieces of butter lettuce inside, so no empty space remains.
2. Next, place two small white ceramic dishes into bento box.Cover ceramic dishes with a piece of butter lettuce. Place angry bird in one of the ceramic dishes and then place pig into the other dish. This will give your bento the 3D effect.
3.Finally, place your veggies and other ingredients into the bento box around the bird and pig, filling up the empty space. I used a variety of veggies and fish sticks, but you can use what ever ingredients suite your own taste.