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Week 18 of 52: Chicken Paprika

I have been trying to find alternatives to Shake-n-Bake, as I’ve done here. It hasn’t been very successful so far, and I haven’t had the chance to try some variations on that recipe I did before. Lucky for me, there was a likely candidate in a cookbook I borrowed from my in-laws: The Recipes I Love by Norma Olizon Chikiamco.

The basic idea of her Chicken Paprika is similar to Shake-n-Bake: coat chicken pieces in a powder mix then bake in the oven until done. The main difference that I found very interesting is using a baking dish lined with melted butter as opposed to using a cookie sheet.

Chicken paprika - Fresh out of the oven

The powder mix is just flour, salt, and ground paprika. Her recipe called for using a bowl to coat the chicken, but I think this will work pretty well if we put the powder mix into a plastic bag and coating the chicken through shaking.

I used chicken drumsticks, and brought it as baon. It tasted great! I may have found a great substitute for Shake-n-Bake, although this did not come out crunchy. Think of KFC classic chicken, and it would not be far from the texture that came out of this chicken paprika. As for the taste, I can stand a bit more paprika for extra kick, but this tasted well enough for a non-spicy dish. I’m thinking of substituting some of the flour with panko breadcrumbs to add crunchiness to the chicken.



Posted by on May 11, 2011 in 52-Week Challenge 2011


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Week 8 of 52: Kamameshi rice

I’ve recently received my copy of The Just Bento Cookbook that I ordered from Amazon, and I was ecstatic to try out the recipes that are not on the site. The first thing that caught my eye was the Mixed Vegetable Rice, primarily because it had vegetables and it seemed like a safe place to try out the shiitake mushrooms I bought recently.

Here’s my pathetic attempt to take a self picture with The Book.

To summarize the recipe: Shredded carrots, thinly sliced dried shiitake mushrooms (soak in water beforehand), and couple of tablespoons each of sake and soy sauce. Put them all in the rice cooker along with the rinsed rice. The secret is in using the soaking liquid from the mushrooms for cooking the rice.

The first time I tried this, I used fresh shiitake mushrooms and just used plain water for cooking the rice. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of flavor. Which is why I was very surprised when my husband commented that the rice strongly reminded him of the expensive rice he and his family used to eat at this restaurant called New Kamameshi House. It was that good! He was really impressed that he immediately requested me to cook up a big batch for the inlaws. Nothing could have been a bigger compliment.

Here’s a picture of the first batch.

The second batch (for the said inlaws) was three times the original recipe (but using the prescribed dried shiitake and soaking liquid), and it almost overflowed out of the rice cooker. At least now I know just how much kamameshi rice it can hold. It was a hit!

What I liked about this recipe is the absolute ease of preparation, especially if you have a shredder or grater. It also does very well in bentos (seeing as it came from a bento book!), paired with meat. Here you see one of a typical week’s baon: a layer of kamameshi rice, meatballs, and some of my home made pickles. The meatballs come with sauce which isn’t pictured here; I use either teriyaki sauce or sweet and sour sauce which I also got from The Book.

Postscript: I realize this is delayed as Week 8 was last week. Let me just assure my loyal readers that this dish was prepared last week; it’s just the blog post that’s delayed. I’ve been having challenges with photos recently, and I don’t want to write about any recipe/baon without accompanying pictures. I’ll be picking up the pace of writing, so watch out for more articles!


Posted by on February 28, 2011 in 52-Week Challenge 2011


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Week 1 of 52: Roast Chicken

This is Week 1 of my 52-Week Challenge for 2011, where I try a brand new recipe every week.

I’ve fallen in love with my oven. With all the baking I’ve been doing recently, I decided to try making viands with it instead. This recipe for Honey Soy Chicken Wings from Appetite for China seemed like a safe place to start. I didn’t have chicken wings though, only three boneless chicken thighs. I thought, hey why not try it anyway?

The method turned out to be pretty simple. Just marinade the chicken in the mix, covered, and leave in the fridge for just 10 minutes.  Roast in the 375F preheated oven for around 25 minutes, and you’re done! This method is perfect for bento creators, since you only need a lead time of around 40 minutes to prepare. And you can do the rest of the bento within the 25-minute baking time. Of course, you can do the roasting way ahead of time. The chicken keeps well in the fridge for probably up to a week.

Here’s the short list of marinade ingredients I used:

Marinade for roast chicken

  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • pinch salt

This marinade is supposed to be enough for 1 pound of chicken wings, so it was more than enough for the three large boneless thighs that I had. I cut the thighs in half each so it’d have more surface area exposed to the marinade (similar to wings). After roasting, this is what it looked like:

Gorgeous! The skin is nicely browned, although the pieces shrunk a little from the roasting. I cut these into small strips for easy eating, and packed two half-thighs into that nice little Hakoya box I got from my MIL. I added some smoked cheese halfmoons as a side.

How did it taste? Perfect! Just perfect. I can taste all parts of the marinade in there, and therefore it needed no additional sauce. It works beautifully in a bento too, no issues with being room temperature. Next time, I’ll try it with actual chicken wings (although it’ll be hard to eat in a bento), and maybe put in that optional cayenne pepper for a little kick. And I’ll remember to put sesame seeds as garnish too!


Posted by on January 5, 2011 in 52-Week Challenge 2011


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Cookies and chicken

Success!! I’ve baked my first attempt of chocolate cookies and it was a success! I absolutely love cookies and these cookies came out exactly the way I want it: crunchy and crispy on the outside and chewy and melty on the inside. My recipe comes from Home Cooking Rocks.

There will definitely be more repetitions of this recipe in my kitchen!

In other news, I’ve finally tried the correct recipe for the chicken and peppers dish I had before, except this time I didn’t include peppers because I ran out. For some reason, the presence of the sesame oil made the chicken look like it’s not cooked. It tasted wonderful though. Here’s the bento it came in. Notice it comes with a new kind of furikake. It’s an egg-and-nori type I bought from Landmark Supermarket at Trinoma.


Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Bento # 12 C is for Chicken and Peppers

It’s been almost two weeks since my last post. Been sort of busy again and have not been able to wake up early to prepare baon.

Anyway here’s a quick one that can be prepared with just a rice cooker. You won’t even need a steamer tray for this.

First, cut up a couple or so of chicken breasts into bite size pieces, and two small bell peppers into small strips. Place them in a sheet of foil paper. No need to pre-marinate the chicken before hand.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper and mix well using hands. Try to coat the chicken pieces well with salt and pepper for more taste. Form the foil paper into a small pouch and make sure it will not leak.

Place the foil pouch onto a prepared and washed rice with the appropriate amount of water. Set the rice cooker to “cook” and leave until the rice is done. Once the rice is done, the chicken and peppers in the foil pouch will be ready as well.

I’ve packed this into a bento, so you can see the finished product. I have peaches and rice on the first level, and all the contents of the foil pouch on the second level. The furikake is sprinkled in the shape of a C.

As again this recipe is from JustBento. Actually at the time I made this chicken and pepper dish, I was missing my cookbook (on which I copied the JustBento recipe). A very big deviation is forgetting to put the sesame oil and soy sauce into the foil pouch before cooking. Even so, the chicken came out moist and flavorful, and I wouldn’t mind preparing it again with just pepper and salt.

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Posted by on October 19, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Easy Chicken Adobo For One

It’s not very hard to make adobo, once one understands the underlying concept of it. I’ve been dithering for some time whether to attempt making adobo by myself. I’ve been consulting recipes off both the internet and my MIL’s cookbooks, trying to find something simple which I could attempt. But then I realized, it’s basically a very simplified version of the soy chicken I did before. It is a base mixture of soy sauce and vinegar in which the meat is allowed to simmer until it becomes tender and absorbed the flavors of the broth.

Before I share the recipe, a disclaimer: Please note that there are actually several variations to adobo, and each one is just as valid and delicious as the next. This version is the one I grew up with, a soupy and very sour adobo. And since I am specifically cooking for my own baon, I came up with a recipe for just a single serving.

Easy Chicken Adobo For One

Makes 1 serving

3-4 chicken thigh fillets, or small breast fillets

4-5 small garlic cloves

2 tbs soy sauce

3-4 tbs tbs vinegar

salt and pepper

some water

Smash the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife so you can take them out of their shells. Don’t chop them; just leave them still vaguely clove-shaped but broken in several places. Set aside in a small saucepan.

Roughly chop the fillets into half an inch to an inch cubes. Put them in the saucepan with the garlic.

Add 1 tbs soy sauce, 2 tbs vinegar, some salt and pepper, and around 2 tbs water into the saucepan. Bring to a boil, occasionally turning the chicken. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. At this point, add 1 tbs soy sauce and 1 tbs vinegar and another 1-2 tbs of water. Simmer for around 8-10 minutes, again occasionally stirring to evenly coat and cook the chicken. At the 8-minute mark, start tasting the sauce. Add more salt or soy sauce if the sauce is too sour, or water if the taste in general is too strong.

Here is a very simple bento with the adobo. It’s important here to choose a container that has a tight seal so the liquid will not spill out. Don’t flood the container with sauce. Around 1-2 tbs of the sauce should do it.

There you have it, a quick and painless adobo!

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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Bento # 10 Simple Starter Bento

My friend Randell suggested making an “easy-to-prepare-even-for-n00bs” bento, which I thought was a great idea and went immediately to making and photographing the preparation of a “starter” bento. My objective is to show how easy it is to prepare baon bento-style, without needing to purchase anything outside the standard appliances and utensils found in the kitchen nor to do anything beyond cooking rice with a rice cooker. This procedure prepares baon for one person.

Things you will need:

1. A rice cooker with steamer tray

NOTE: If your rice cooker does not have a steamer tray, you can use aluminum foil.

2. A sharp knife and a cutting board

3. Several small cups or bowls that are heat-resistant

4. A standard box for baon such as Lock n’ Lock or Tupperware, preferably one that can be tightly sealed

Food you will need:

Carbs: 1 cup of uncooked rice (Note: 1 cup of uncooked rice will probably yield way more rice than what you’d need for 1 serving. However, most rice cookers will have a minimum amount of rice to cook to avoid burning. Just put the remainder in a tightly sealed container and put it in the freezer.)

Protein: Any amount of hotdogs/sausages that you feel will be enough for 1 serving

Veggies: Any amount of “hard” veggies such as carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, onions, etc that you feel will be enough for 1 serving

Others: Enough water for cooking rice; Salt and pepper; Soy sauce


1. Wash the rice thoroughly. Drain and set aside in the rice cooker bowl.

2. Peel the veggies and wash thoroughly. Here you see that I used one small carrot and one small potato.

3. Cut the veggies into thin strips and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, and maybe half a teaspoon of soy sauce. Toss thoroughly to distribute the flavor. Place into the steamer tray.

4. Cut the hotdogs or sausages into short sections. Here I used two jumbo-sized cheese hotdogs, and cut them into 6 each. Place in another small bowl and put it into the steamer tray as well.

Here you see I have a third bowl that holds leftover rice. For more information about freezing rice, go here.

5. Put the necessary amount of water you need to cook your rice into the rice cooker bowl. I haven’t specified the exact amount here because it would depend on the type of rice you are cooking.

6. Place the steamer on the rice cooker bowl and cover. Set the rice cooker to “cook”. Wait until the rice is cooked or until the rice cooker setting turns automatically to “warm”. The veggies and the protein will also be done by the time the rice is done cooking. Turn off the rice cooker.

NOTE: If your rice cooker does not have a steamer tray, you can instead use aluminum foil packets to hold your veggies and protein (separately). Place the packets directly on the uncooked rice. Make sure that each packet is tightly sealed to avoid any juices from spilling into rice. See a sample foil packet here.

7. Remove the steamer tray carefully, and set aside.

8. Get a desired amount of cooked rice from the rice cooker and place it to one side of your bento box. Note here I’m using a standard 550ml rectangular Lock n’ Lock, with the inner compartments removed. The rice here takes up around 33-40% of the box.

9. Take the sliced hotdogs/sausages and place them next to the rice. Make sure to drain the hotdogs before packing them (they will have shed some liquid while steaming). This will take a second 33% of the box.

10. Finally, place the veggies in the remaining space in your box. You may elect to sprinkle a bit of the liquid that it shed while steaming back on the veggies, but I prefer not to because I wasn’t using any dividers. The liquid will probably soak the rice and the hotdogs and mix the flavors, which may or may not make your food taste bad. Without the liquid the veggies will be a bit crunchy, like what I did with mine.

And there you go, a painless bento that will take you under 30 minutes to prepare, cooking included.


Posted by on September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized


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