Photography KENNETH GOH

By business operations manager, Jean Chua

Serves 1
For the rice:
75g Japanese rice
22ml mineral water
½ tsp Japanese vinegar

For the meat glaze:
100ml canned chicken stock
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp Japanese soya sauce
1 tbsp ketchup

For the patty:
3 tsp olive oil
20g onions, chopped
¾ tsp breadcrumbs
½ tsp fresh milk
50g minced pork
Ground nutmeg, sugar, salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
2g sesame seeds

3 lettuce leaves
15g broccoli
1 sheet of seaweed
3 cherry tomatoes
2g carrots, sliced and cut using bento stencils

For the rice:
1 Soak the rice in water for 30min, then rinse off the water. Put the rice and mineral water into a rice cooker. Cook for 20min. Set aside to cool.
2 Add the Japanese vinegar to the rice and mix it in.
3 Roll 60g of rice into a ball and wrap cling film around it. Press the edges to form a triangular shape.
4 Roll 6g of rice into a ball, wrap it with cling film and press the edges to form a small triangular shape. Repeat to make one more small, triangular-shaped ball of rice.
5 Refrigerate the rice for an hour, then join the parts together to form a face and two ears.

For the meat glaze:
1 Mix the chicken stock with the mirin, Japanese soya sauce and ketchup in a bowl.

For the patty:
1 In a pan set over low heat, fry the chopped onions with olive oil until translucent and set aside.
2 In a mixing bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in milk and add the minced pork and cooked onions. Add the nutmeg, sugar, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Sculpt the mixture into a compact ball.
3 Pan-fry the patty with the olive oil on low heat until it turns golden brown, then pour the meat glaze over it.
4 Cook the patty on low heat for about 1min until the sauce thickens and becomes caramelised. Sprinkle sesame seeds on it.

To assemble the bento:
1 Line the base of the box with slices of lettuce.
2 Place the rice ball and meat patty inside.
3 Blanch the broccoli in hot water for a few seconds before leaving it in iced water.
4 Cut out 1cm-wide “eyes” and a “smile” from a sheet of seaweed with a pair of scissors and place them on the rice ball.
5 Place cherry tomatoes in a small bowl, arrange carrot slices on the broccoli and make sure the contents of the box are compactly arranged.

This article was originally published in Sunday Life!, May 31 2015.