Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crab Friends Bento

Crab Friends Bento, originally uploaded by sherimiya ♥.
For MisterMan today I made ma po tofu, but with a number of changes from the traditional recipe.

I used ground turkey, and I added chopped baby bok choy because I think it adds better color and nutrition. In addition, I had to omit most of the chili sauce due to the low tolerance level of the kids. However, I did add some! This is a big step, considering they used to cry whenever they tasted a chili pepper in months past. And finally, I don't make mine with lots of goopy sauce; it's actually kind of dry. We prefer it like this :)
All I do for my ma po is brown the meat, add some black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce, and cook a bit. Then add chopped fermented mustard greens, fresh chopped bok choy and stir to wilt. Then add in the cubed tofu. I used firm tofu just because the kids like it like that. I add some water for a little sauce, and thicken with cornstarch. You see, it's not like genuine ma po tofu, but it's close enough that I'm gonna call it that!

I gave him rice, so I could make two carrot crabs to display. I just got some new cutter toys, and wanted to try them out! They really make cute details a lot easier!

Finally, I made crinkle cut cucumber baran, a peapod flower, some romanesco and a cherry tomato. I put the fruits in a separate container so they wouldn't get sauce on them. He has a cute tiny mini mandarin, sliced kiwi and some cherries.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this is a new bento box from Marukai in Hawaii! It's stainless steel, with a tight-fitting plastic lid. I have these in lots of shapes and sizes, but this is the first time I've seen it in a flat square shape. It's shallow, so I can't fit large things in here, but it means that you can see everything pretty clearly in the shot. It's kind of cool :)


  1. Neat boxes and I love your twist on the mapo tofu! How big is the mini mandarin, about 2 inches across? Very cute!

  2. Thanks Susan! Yeah, it's just about that small... it is adorable!

  3. i love these new boxes... wish marukai would open a store on the east cost, mwahaha. great idea to make mapo tofu a little dryer... the goopiness sometimes bothers me (not least because i think it's a product of too much cornstarch, which has almost zero nutritional value). glad to hear your boy is working his way up to spicy... he'll get there!

    and hey, would love more info on the cool new cutting tool you mentioned!

  4. Adorable bento Sheri! Cute crabs, yummy mapo tofu, pretty peapod flower ... what else that I should mentioned? Too many awesome things in your box (^.^)

  5. Hi megan, thanks! I like Marukai - they often have interesting things but sometimes their prices are a bit steep. Yeah, the goopiness! Most folks think that's what makes the dish... but after making it like this for so long, the goopy dish just doesn't taste right to me :)
    I'm gonna add more and more chili peppers to their food as time goes on, and see what happens!! (bad mom?)
    As for the cutting tool, I'll have to do a post about them! If you were following my tweets, you would probably be sick of hearing about it >_<

    Hi Lia! Thanks for your kind words; you're so sweet to say so!! :) :)

  6. By the looks of that cute little heart...it appears that one of the crabs is making a pass at the other crab. More than friends???

    Cute as ever Sheri. I too like your new boxes! Perfect size for kids or side car for adults. I also enjoy how you do a "dry" mapo.. is it similar to your "dry" curry technique?

    Someday I'm going to get some romanesco, it's looks so lovely in your bentos that I want to try it too.

  7. Thanks Debra...
    You caught 'em; crabby love - can't deny it!
    About the "dry" technique, I believe the durai kare is a REAL recipe so I don't think I messed that one up! But the dry mapo...I really do think it tastes good with just a little sauce, not so much that it looks sort of soupy.Plus, it's better for bento this way as well.
    I am surprised your market doesn't carry romanesco? I bet you will be able to find it somewhere, one of these days. Seattle is pretty hip that way :)

  8. Yummy obento and cute crabs! :D And I love how you used the cucumber as a food baran, too <3

  9. What a lovely bento^^ It looks like the crabs love each other (because of the heart). The ma po tofu looks so delicious! Great bento in a great new box ;)

  10. aw, this is super cute sheri, makes me want to make some cute crabs too.

  11. the crabs are adorable! recipe looks/sounds yummy. love how you used the cucumber to divide!

  12. I love the little crabs they are so cute! And using cucumber as the baran is brilliant!

    I've given you an award that you can pick up at my blog


  13. So creative, fresh and adorable! Everything about this bento is wonderful, Sheri!

  14. Thank you Token! Cucumber is the best quick baran :)

    Lil'chan, thank you! Can't put just one crab, so had to give him a darling :) I'm always so happy with new bento boxes, isn't it always that way?

    javapot, thanks! I'd like to see your cute crabs soon :)

    Thanks a lot amanda!

    Jenn, thank you! And so sweet of you to give me an award. Really appreciate it :)

    Hi bentobird! Many thanks for your sweet and kind compliments, as usual! This bento was lots of fun to make :)

  15. You are just about the best mom on earth! This is so cute!!

  16. Thank you so much, that's so kind of you!!