Top: Indian butter chicken; aromatic brown basmati rice with tomato flower, wok-fried broccolini
Bottom: chocolate truffle kitten, fresh honeyed fruit (mission figs, raspberries, strawberries, and kiwi)


1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice (I like Lundberg Farms)
2 cups water
1 tbsp butter
1 stick cinnamon
3 cardamom pods



  1. Place rice into rice cooker bowl and add the 2 cups of water. Note the water level in the pot. Then gently swish the rice with your hand to clean it and drain. Swish again with fresh water and drain.
  2. Place drained rice into the rice cooker pot and add fresh water up to the level you noted in the previous step. Dry the outside of the pot and place it in the rice cooker. Add the butter, cinnamon, and cardamom pods. Close the lid of the cooker, set to the rice cooker to the brown rice cycle and hit thestart button.
  3. Once the cooking cycle is complete, let the rice sit for 10 minutes. Then open the lid, remove the cinnamon and cardamom pods, then fluff with a rice paddle.
  4. (This recipe also can be prepared on the stove using the same rice to water ratio.)

*Use gluten-free products.







Top: pork shu mai, steamed edamame and red bell pepper, grape tomato garnish
Bottom: shrimp tempura over aromatic garlicky brown rice


2 rice cooker cups short-grain brown rice (medium- or long-grain would work well too)
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
chicken broth
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced



  1. Rinse rice and drain. Repeat.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden. Remove from heat..
  3. Add the rice and garlic mixture to the rice cooker pot. Add water to the line marking “1 cup.” Then add chicken broth until the water level reaches the line for “2 cups.”
  4. Set the rice cooker on the brown rice cycle and hit start.
  5. Once the rice cooker cycle is completed, let the rice steam for an additional 10 minutes. Then fluff with a rice paddle and fold in the scallions.







Left: Indian-style chicken donburi over rice
Upper right: Italian plum, mandarin oranges
Lower right: cucumber tulips, carrot flowers


1-1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
1/2 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and minced
3/4 pound of ground chicken
1/4 pound fresh peas (frozen is ok too)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper



  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaf. Stir-fry for 15 seconds.
  2. Add onion and stir-fry until the onion begins to brown, then add the garlic and ginger and stir to incorporate it into the onion.
  3. Add the chicken and stir-fry, using a spatula to break up the chicken into small chunks.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir-fry, mixing everything well, until everything is heated through, about 3-4 minutes.

P.S. Don’t eat the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, or cardamom pods!

* Use gluten-free products






Upper left: chicken katsu
Upper right: veggie slaw (red, orange, and yellow bell peppers mixed with purple cabbage and a dash of ginger-lime dressing)
Lower left: wok-fried broccoli with borsari salt, rice with furikake, carrot butterflies
Lower right: tonkatsu sauce, mini-creampuffs, Ghirardelli chocolate square


1 package chicken breast tenderloins (6-8)
garlic salt, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
canola oil for frying
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup tamari
1/8 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. Worcestershiresauce
cayenne pepper, to taste



  1. Place the egg, flour, and panko in three separate shallow bowls. Mix the garlic salt in with the flour to taste (I think I used about a heaping teaspoon).
  2. Rinse the chicken tenderloins and pat dry with a paper towel. Dredge a chicken piece in the flour mixture, then shake off excess. Dip it in the egg and let the excess drip off. Then roll the chicken in the panko, pressing the panko onto the chicken to help it adhere. When you remove it from the last bowl, shake the tenderloin a bit to get rid of the excess crumbs that otherwise will fall off into the oil and burn. Repeat with the remaining tenderloins.
  3. Heat about 1/4″ of oil in a frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the hot oil, and cook for 2-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness). Pieces should be golden brown and cooked all the way through. Drain on paper towels.

Combine sauce ingredients and mix well






Left: sliced cucumbers, stir-fried chicken, broccoli & grape tomatoes
Right: chicken & tofu rice
Not pictured: strawberries, orange segments, panda cake


2 cups uncooked rice
1/3 lb. chicken breast
1 aburage*
1 tbsp. hijiki**
1/3 cup shredded carrots
2-1/2 tbsp. reduced-sodium tamari
1 tbsp. sake
1/2 tbsp. mirin



  1. Wash and drain the rice.
  2. Dice the chicken into 1/2″ cubes. Rise the aburage in boiling water, pat out extra moisture, then julienne. Rinse hijiki then soak in hot water until it expands. If not pre-cut, cut the hijiki into short lengths.
  3. Place the rice in a rice cooker. Add the tamari, and mirin. Then add enough water to meet the 2-cup line specified by the manufacturer.
  4. Add the chicken, aburage, hijiki, and carrots to the rice, spreading out the ingredients so that they will cook evenly. Start the rice cooker.
  5. When finished, allow the rice to steam for a few more minutes. Open and stir gently, folding the ingredients into the rice.

*Use gluten-free products.






Top: carrot and tofu with sesame dressing (from batch made earlier in the week), jasmine rice
Bottom: grilled catfish with hoisin-peanut sauce (sauce on the side), sauteed baby bok choy
Totoro mini: 2 containers of hoisin-peanut sauce, ‘wontons’ of chopped roasted peanuts and scallions for garnish


– Catfish –
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. ground chili paste
1 tsp. canola oil
1 lb. skinless catfish fillets
– Sauce –
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (rice vinegar is ok too)
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely minced or pureed
1 tbsp. ground chili paste, or to taste
1 tbsp. chopped rasted peanuts
– Garnish –
2 scallions, thinly sliced
chopped roasted peanuts



  1. Marinade – combine the garlic, chili paste, and oil in a shallow dish. Add the catfish fillets and let marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler or grill to high heat.
  2. Sauce – Put hoisin sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, and onion into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Add a little water if too thick. Add chili paste and chopped peanuts.
  3. Grill or broil the catfish fillets until just done, 6-7 minutes on each side.
  4. To serve, place the fish on a plate or bed of rice and carefully spoon the hoisin-peanut sauce on top. Do not cover the fish completely. Sprinkle with the green onions and chopped peanuts.

* Leftover hoisin-peanut sauce also can be frozen for future use.

*Use gluten-free products.






Left: honey-ginger chicken, stir-fried broccolini, tofu nuggets (nuggets are non-GF)
Right: Chococat on a bed of rice (body cut from nori, accents in American cheese)


2 tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, sliced into wedges
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and julienned
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. low-sodium tamari
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. five-spice powder



  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and stir-fry until onion begins to soften and turn translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the honey, soy sauce, fish sauce and five-spice powder. Combine well and simmer for another 5 minutes, until chicken is nicely glazed with the sauce

* Use gluten-free products






Top: wok-fried broccoli, kung pao chicken with red bell peppers
Bottom: hoisin-chicken bun (not GF), rice with furikake (yasai fumi furikake to be exact)


2 tbsp reduced sodium tamari
2 tbsp sake
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp sugar
2-1/2 tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (or Worcestershire sauce if you’re not gluten-sensitive)
1-1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp ginger, peeled and chopped finely
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp prepared chile paste with garlic
2 tbsp cooking oil (I use a blend of canola and olive oil)
1 small can water chestnut pieces (~ 3/4 cup)
1 red bell pepper, quartered and sliced*
9 scallions, green tops plus 1-inch of white part, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1/3 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts



  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken, toss well to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. While chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce by combining the broth, sugar, tamari, sake, liquid aminos, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Stir well with a whisk or fork until the sugar and cornstarch have dissolved.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok (or large nonstick skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken mixture and stir-fry until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan.
  4. Heat remaining tbsp of oil in the same pan. Add the sliced green onions, ginger, garlic, and chile paste, and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the broth mixture and cook for another minute or until thick, stirring constantly.
  5. Throw in the cooked chicken, red bell pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, and peanuts. Cook until thoroughly heated, about 1-3 minutes. Voila!

* Feel free to add other vegetables in place of, or in addition to, red bell pepper. This recipe would work well with bamboo shoots, baby corn, carrots, snow peas, broccoli...

* Use gluten-free ingredients.



MUNKAYA'S OMURAISU (Omelet Filled with Fried Rice)



Clockwise from top: omuraisu, ketchup pig, sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and stir-fried Chinese broccoli


2 cups cooked rice
2 chicken tenderloins (can leave out or substitute another protein or veggies)
1 cup diced vegetables (I used almost 3/4 cup of onion, then filled up the rest of the cup measure with red and yellow bell peppers and thinly sliced green beans)
1 tsp. canola oil
Cooking spray
1/2 tbsp. sake
2 tbsp. ketchup, plus some for garnish
salt, to taste
2-3 eggs per omelet (the rice amount above is good for at least 2 good-sized omuraisu)



  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and stir-fry, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir-fry until opaque and cooked through.
  2. Add the rice and mix into the ingredients, breaking up any clumps. Add the ketchup and continue cooking, mixing until the ketchup is well-distributed. Add the sake and salt to taste. Once well-combined, take the rice off the heat.
  3. Break eggs into a small bowl, then beat about 10 times with a fork (for ultimate fluffiness).
  4. Lightly spray a frying pan (large enough to hold your omelet) with cooking spray, then pour in the eggs, tilting the pan to cover the bottom of the pan. You want a thin omelet, but strong enough not to break when it is wrapped around the rice.
  5. Once the eggs set, lower the heat, then add rice in a line down the middle and slightly to one side. Fold the “long” end over the rice, and then roll the omelt towards the “short” end. The ends of the omuraisu should be tucked underneath and look like your average omelet on top. Most omuraisu I have seen look like little football-shaped burritos, but I made mine more cylindrical to fit in the bento box better.
  6. If you’re eating your omuraisu right away, slide it onto a plate and top it with a nice big dollop of ketchup. If you’re bento-ing, then place it in the box, but save the ketchup topping for later.

*Use gluten-free products






Totoro bento: panda onigiri; brown bear onigiri; chicken thighs stuffed with spinach, feta, and pine nuts; red and yellow bell pepper strips.


4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, all visible fat removed
2/3 cup chopped spinach
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Pound the chicken thighs lightly to an even thickness and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add spinach and lemon juice. Saute until spinach wilts, then remove from heat.
  4. Squeeze any excess moisture from the spinach and add it to a mixing bowl. It is ok if the spinach is still moist — you just don’t want it sopping wet. Mix in the feta and pine nuts.
  5. Place a pounded chicken thigh with what would have been the skin side facing down. Add a mound of the spinach-feta mixture to the center of the chicken thigh and roll the chicken around it.
  6. Place the stuffed chicken thigh seam side down on a lightly sprayed (or greased or buttered) roasting pan. Repeat with the other chicken thighs. Brush melted butter on top of chicken thighs.
  7. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes per pound of chicken. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

* Use gluten-free products





Top: tomato-basil shrimp with onions, wok-fried haricot verts
Bottom: small avocado half stuffed with hummus and grape tomato, skewers of edamame, sliced orange bell pepper


– Chili-Garlic Oil –
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
– Shrimp –
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 large white onion, sliced into wedges
1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, each sliced into 4 wedges
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
juice from 1/6 of a lemon
1/2 tsp dried basil (a handful of fresh basil would be nice too I bet)
salt and pepper, to taste



  1. Pour the olive oil into a small sauce pan and heat it on medium low. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic. Cook over low heat for at least 10 minutes, until the garlic has softened considerably (but do not brown). Remove from heat and stir in the crushed red pepper.
  2. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 or 2 tbsp of the chili-garlic oil and the onions. Quickly toss the onion in the hot oil and garlic to coat, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and toss to cook evenly. When shrimp begin to turn pink, add the chicken broth and tomato paste and mix well.
  3. Once the tomato paste is incorporated and shrimp are almost cooked, add the cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until tomatoes begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

P.S. The chili-garlic oil can be reserved for another use. Last night I blanched broccoli rabe in salted water until tender, then tossed it in 1 tbsp of the oil and added the rest of the buttery-soft garlic as well. So yummy! I reserved the remainder of the oil for future stir-fries.

* Check that your ingredients are GF if you are gluten-sensitive.





Main bento: three-mushroom and tofu rice, stir-fried snowpeas, chicken katsu with tonkatsu sauce (non-GF), and persimmon wedges.
Snack bento: more persimmon, Asian pear chunks, and a mini choux-ala-creme (non-GF).


2 rice-cooker cups of uncooked rice
2 oz. cremini mushrooms
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 aburage
2 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. sake
1/2 tbsp. mirin salt



  1. Rinse the rice and drain.
  2. Clean the mushrooms and chop. Thinly slice the shiitake. Rinse the aburage with boiling water, then julienne.
  3. Put the rice in a rice cooker and add the tamari, sake, mirin, and salt. Then add the water to the 2-cup level.
  4. Lay the mushrooms and tofu on top of the rice. Then close the lid and start the rice cooker. When the rice is done, gently fold the mushrooms and tofu into the rice.

This is a great recipe for busy mornings, especially if you clean and precut the mushrooms and tofu the night before. I just poured everything in, turned on the rice maker and went about getting ready. It was done by the time (and probably before) I was ready for work. 🙂


*Use gluten-free products





Top left: vegetable fried rice
Bottom left: apple and horseradish-glazed salmon (recipe here), grape tomatoes, stir-fried broccoli
Dessert: blueberry-stuffed raspberries, strawberries
Snack: banana cookie Larabar
GF products used: San-J tamari, Beaverton Foods original cream style horseradish, Safeway apple jelly, Heinz ketchup, Larabar


3 cups cold cooked rice (I used jasmine rice)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sake
1 tbsp cooking oil (I use Smartblend, a mixture of canola, soy and olive oil)



  1. Heat oil in a heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  2. Add the rice and stir-fry, breaking up any clumps as you go.
  3. Add the ketchup, tamari, sugar, and sake, and continue to stir-fry, mixing the seasonings in with the rice until it is evenly colored, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the mixed vegetables and stir-fry until mixed into the rice and heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Push the rice to the sides of the pan and add the beaten egg into the center. Let the egg set for about 15 seconds, then mix it through the rice. Stir-fry the rice mixture until the egg is cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes.

*Use gluten-free products.




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