Onigiri and Strawberry Salad Bento

The weekday mornings are always busy for me as I have to pack three lunches and prepare breakfast all at the same time. It is a little easier in the summer months when the boys are home and I only need to concentrate on one lunch for Ro-Ri San. I am not so much into kyaraben (character bento) but I do enjoy making the bentos look appealing with colors and shapes. This can be easily achieved with all the the wonderful and colorful fruits and produce available at this time of the year. Packing a bento to school and work is also a great way to eat healthy and do portion control outside of home.

Onigiri(s) are very popular in Japan and are found even in the convenience stores. These rice balls or cakes are very tasty, usually with a filling of umeboshi (pickled plum), tsukemono (pickled vegetables), salted salmon, or various meat tidbits. There are also rice cakes with just furikake (rice sprinkles or seasoning). Onigiri is very portable and makes a great addition to the obento.

For a quick and easy onigiri, I mixed cooked short grain rice with packaged rice sprinkles. Shape the onigiri using plastic molds and decorate with strips of nori (toasted seaweed sheets). Leftover onigiri can be wrapped in plastic and kept frozen for 2 to 3 weeks. When required, place in a dish and heat in the microwave on high for one minute. Flip the rice cakes and heat for another minute. This is most convenient for packing bentos in the mornings. For pictures of the rice molds, check out my post on Onigiri with Jyuntoro.

Furikake can be found at places like Daiso and some Asian grocery stores. I bought this from Daiso in Yokohama on my recent trip there.

This is a stained, double tiered Hinoki cypress bento. It is a thing of beauty. I used an elastic band, to keep the bento together. The spring mix salad with sliced strawberries is at the bottom tier.

I was delighted to find these Hinoki cypress bentos on my recent vacation to Japan. I bought an unstained one from this store in Narai-juku. You can see it at the bottom right corner of this picture. The other (shown in today’s post) was purchased from a store just across the street from this store. Please do check out Food Adventures in Japan for more pictures on my trip.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!

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  1. anncoo says

    Hello Biren, love the way you present the onigiri and I also love the color of the Hinoki cypress bentos. About the Furikake, just let know you need any of these, I can get it for you because there are many Daiso outlets here.

  2. rotinrice says

    Hi Ann, you are a sweetheart to offer to get me the furikake. I did buy quite a bit but will let you know when I run out :)

    I really like my hinoki bentos :) :)

  3. lequan@luvtoeat says

    Hi Biren, I think I should be paying you for all these Japanese lessons…teehee. I didn't even know there was an actual word for character bento, now I do. I've seen some pretty impressive kyaraben and boy are they CUTE! I love your onigiris, and I know my kiddies would love something like that too. Opening up a bento is like opening up a surprise. If someone made these for my lunch, I think I would enjoy lunch a lot more. You're such a devoted Mom and wife, kudos to you Biren!

  4. rotinrice says

    Thanks LeQuan! I am glad to hear that you are picking up some Japanese words from my posts :)

    Onigiris are really fun to make using those molds. I have made gifts of them to moms with little girls and they are always well received. It is a fun activity for mom and daughter. Sometimes I pack a lunch for myself just for the fun of it. It is nice to open up a box with a well packed lunch.

  5. Stella says

    Hey Biren, I love bento box lunch! And you're right about the visual appeal factor for a bento-different colors and shapes arranged nicely are a large part of what makes them so wonderful. Well, that and they are usually delicious too.
    I wish I could have had this for lunch today. I bet my Cauldron Boy would have liked it much better than what we had too (smile)!

  6. Julie M. says

    That's a beautiful bento lunch you've put together! I've been wanting to try putting one together for a while now. I think you've inspired me to plunge ahead.

  7. jillyann says

    Beautiful Biren! I am endlessly fascinated by bento lunches. I follow a few blogs that are dedicated to bento…love them. This box is gorgeous…almost to pretty to use!

  8. sweetlife says

    beautiful bentosi love the color and can imagine what joy it is to open this up for your lunch, how fun


  9. Joanne says

    My kids are totally taking bentos for lunch. Just so I can have fun making all of the food look pretty! This all looks so good.


    I go CRAZY over bento boxes! It almost doesn't matter what's inside. Although your lunch looks perfectly scrumptious!

  11. Mary says

    I am amazed that you find the time to do such lovely bento. The men in your family are most fortunate. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  12. Reeni says

    What a beautiful bento! And your family is so lucky to have you packing those fantastic lunches for them. Onigiri is something new for me – I bet they're delicious!

  13. Judy / BebeLoveOkazu says

    Hi Biren, Your bento box is beautiful and your taste is impeccable! I would have chosen a similar box. :) I've been yearning to return to Japan for a visit and I'm so jealous you were able to enjoy good Japanese food! My mom used to make bento for me and love a good bento for lunch. Yours looks delicious.

  14. Kristi Rimkus says

    Who wouldn't love this colorful, healthy meal for lunch. I always learn something new when I visit your blog. :)

  15. denise fletcher says

    My kids and I all love onigiri – it hardly matters what's inside! I am really starting to envy your collection of kitchen and tableware *sigh*

  16. MaryMoh says

    Just so wonder to learn more about Japan, especially the food. I love hat last picture. My gosh…if I am there, I think my hubby had to pull me out…haha. I think I would want to buy all the kitchen gadgets 😀 They are so beautiful!

  17. rotinrice says

    Mary, I am like a kid in a candy store when I go to places like these and there are so many of them in Japan. I have a hard time deciding what to get as I have limited luggage space. There are so many gorgeous things to look at and to buy…sigh*

  18. Megan says

    Hi Biren… I feel so lost.. I didn't even know you went to Japan, now I have to go check out your trip photos! Anyhoo… I am usually a day late and a dollar short! As always you have created something wonderful! xoxoxo megan

  19. IJust LoveMyApron says

    Biren, sorry I was last thursday and the weekend so I lost keeping track of my fav blogs!
    This bento set is so cute and looks so tasty! I love bento lunch box. I used to pack for myself as it reminded me of Japan. I love that furikake! It makes rice taste even more tasty.

  20. rotinrice says

    Tanantha, so sweet of you to catch up on my posts :)

    I love bentos too and furikake is a quick and easy fix for tasty rice.

  21. Magic of Spice says

    That bento box is stunning (the box too)…The way you have put this lunch together is just beautiful :)

  22. says

    Hi Biren,

    May I ask how should I use furikake to flavour the rice? I can get the furikake at Daisho, unfortunately I don’t know how to use it. Hope you can share. Thank you.

    • Biren says

      I just shake it on the rice and gently mix it in with a spatula in the case of flavoring the rice for making rice cakes. Often times, I just simply sprinkle it on a bowl of rice. This is especially good for ochazuke. :)

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