neko-manma

umaimon
Bento-ing from: Orange County › California › USA
Joined: 24 Jun 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 21 weeks ago.

(From the forum - a sign of the times?)

Hi guys!

I recently learned that there's a new food fad in Japan called "Neko-manma", which consists of rice mixed and matched with various toppings.
"Neko-manma", which literally translates into kitty food, refers to leftovers like rice mixed with miso soup or whatever was from the night before. It was probably named because people in the old days would give that to pets.
But the present-day neko-manma completely shatters preconceived notions. Some of these topping combos are unexpected, like potato chips and mayo (boy do Japanese people love mayonnaise!), others are not that out of the blue, for example, oden and the soup from it poured onto the rice, or natto and okra and egg. Books dedicated to neko-manma (the one I just saw was http://news.walkerplus.com/2009/0223/3/photo16.html) are popping up and selling like hotcakes because they are very cheap (you don't need many ingredients, and you can use leftovers too...the link above's main catchphrase is "One Meal for 30yen"), easy to make at home (you just need to pour everything on top of a bowl of rice, and you don't really need to cook much), and easy to clean and eco-friendly too (you only need one rice bowl).

Anyway, I have been sort of practicing neko-manma since I was a kid myself. (I'm a Japanese born and raised in Southern California where there is a wide selection in Japanese markets) so I decided to jump in on the fad and try it again...it was awesome: shirasu (tiny baby sardines) with butter and soy sauce on rice. http://umaimon.tumblr.com/post/120248903/shirasu-and-butter-on-rice-with...

Please write if you've heard of this before, if you're willing to try it out, or if you also have your own neko-manma story to share! I'm excited to hear back.

-Alissa (from http://umaimon.tumblr.com)

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maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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Re: neko-manma

Lol, neko manma.

In olden days (nowadays pets in Japan are pampered to death and get fed all kinds of gourmet pet foods) dogs and cats were just fed leftovers and scraps. So neko (cats) got a treat of rice with fish heads and scraps and so on on top. That is neko manma.

My grandparents didnt have cats, but they had a very sweet Akita-ken mix dog, who was fed leftover rice mixed with miso soup and whatever meat, fish was available. He loved it as I recall. Now, I used to love pouring my miso soup on top of my rice, but if I did that in front of my late grandfather...oh boy! He would get quite upset that I was eating 'inu no esa' (dog's dinner).

Anyway, a favorite neko-manma type of snack for me is rice topped with a big handful of katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and a little butter. Put it in the microwave and nuke until it's hot and the butter has melted. Drizzle on a bit of soy sauce and mix well. Whenever I have it I can hear my mom yelling at me "nasakenai! nani tabetenno!" (I'm ashamed of you! What the heck are you eating!) Now that she's actually here in person, I don't dare to make it ^_^;

____________________________________

The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

anon2.
Re: neko-manma

Perhaps a slightly different twist, but my mother used to bury chocolate chips in her rice and pour milk over it, then nuke it in the microwave for a minute on high. Was definitely tasty, and it did get me going in the mornings when I really didn't want breakfast.

My favourite neko manma-like bowl is made with chopped up green onions, drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil, and then a bit of canned salmon. Mixed together and nuked on high for one minute - dinner is served! And it's so very cheap and tasty. I also occasionally add in a handful of frozen peas for a "complete" meal. (Yes, I am in college.)

I've found that most any left over stew poured on top of rice is tasty - save for borscht. I tried that once, and it turned out rather...blandly, truth be told.

Faye
Re: neko-manma

I'm not from Japan, but I am Asian, and I've also been making something similar to "neko manma" since I was a kid when my parents spent all day working. It's kind of funny to see that it's become a "food fad," but it's good that people aren't labeling it as mere table scraps, considering the economy (and it's delicious!).

I like pouring all sorts of soups/stews on top of my rice, as well as the leftover sauces from dishes cooked the previous day ^^. I also remember my relatives who are Japanese mentioning not to pour miso on rice when I was in Japan, but couldn't resist when I came back home XD. In fact I'm craving some of that right now as I haven't had breakfast yet!

bethama
Bento-ing from: Nagoya › Japan
Joined: 21 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

I've tried this a few times when I boil chickpeas! Chopped onion, garlic, and chickpeas, sauteed quickly and poured over brown rice. It's incredibly yummy.

eanglin
Re: neko-manma

I read the definition of Neko-manma and immediately thoght 'Oh, instead of doggie bags, they have kitty bags!'

It does surprise me that this is innovative or shocking- I suppose I eat too much Indian derived foods and currys poured on top of plain and seasoned rice- In fact I've been playing with doing the opposite of Neko-manma and taking leftover curries and kima and sticking them in onigiri.

My favorite so far is Kima Onigiri. I take 'yellow' rice made with brown rice (Seasoned with turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon.) make a rice ball out of it and fill it with Kima- a savory spicy moist meat dish of ground beef, spices, onions, tomatoes and green peas.) These are especially good served with mango chutney. Let me know if you want the recipe- Its fun to serve this 'right side up' for dinner then turn the leftovers 'inside out' for lunch the next day.

Kari
Re: neko-manma

Oh this brings me memories - it was one morning when I was having a traditional Japanese breakfast with my dad and grandparents (this was in Japan), and being lazy to eat my rice with condiments and slump my soup seperately, I mixed them together in my ricebowl. My father looked at me, laughed, and said "Oh, you're eating Neko-manma". I didn't understand at first, so after an explanation, I understood, and had a satisfying breakfast.

I never thought of it as a "way" to save money though - In Singapore, it's quite common to eat rice with certain stews and soups, and I've always done it here.

anon.
Re: neko-manma

I didn't know it had a name... We always ate like this. My favorite topping is canned spinach and soy sauce. Another is leftover chili or stew. Yum.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

Who knew I was being fashionable and not lazy/cheap all those years. I definably do pour soup over my rice a lot and rummage through the fridge for things to have with left over rice.

Something that would probably be along the same lines is a salad my godmother used to make with left overs at her restaurant. Reheated Spanish rice tossed in a container with lettuce, 5 bean salad, broken tortilla chips, ranch dressing and some vinaigrette (plus or minus some ingredients depending on what was left over).

kips
Re: neko-manma

Oh, I didn't know I could call it neko-manma-- in fact, I guess I can't because you couldn't feed this to a cat... But I love hot rice mixed with sweetened condensed milk... sometimes with chopped dried fruits, or cinnamon. Sometimes made out of Korean-style mixed rice, which has beans cooked in it.

Lorena
Bento-ing from: San Diego › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 45 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

We did this all the time with whatever leftovers my Filipina grandmother had in the fridge (like chicken and pork adobo, or chicken and opo soup), or even when she made us breakfast -- Vienna sausages, eggs and rice with ketchup, all mixed up! Now that I'm a vegetarian, I kind of cringe at it. Of course, many Filipino dishes, especially stews, are served on top of rice anyway.

But, one of my fav ways to eat leftover steamed veggies is over (oftentimes leftover) rice and microwaved with a healthy tablespoon of dynamite-style mayo (just low-fat mayo mixed with Sriracha sauce) on top. Once it's warm, I'll then add a drizzle of teriyaki sauce and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Yum!

hapa bento
Re: neko-manma

Yum! Raised in Hawaii, we ate almost everything over rice even spaghetti on occasion. All left over sauces gravies and soups were kept to be later poured over rice and reheated. One of our favorite breakfasts was steaming hot rice with a raw egg mixed in with some miso soup poured over it. Or ketchup and spam!

Nowadays... I still use my rice bowl as a base for a quick meal. Sesame seeds with baby sardines and kochojang sauce. Soysauce and peas. Chopped spinach and natto. The list is endless.

hapa bento
Re: neko-manma

Yum! Raised in Hawaii, we ate almost everything over rice even spaghetti on occasion. All left over sauces gravies and soups were kept to be later poured over rice and reheated. One of our favorite breakfasts was steaming hot rice with a raw egg mixed in with some miso soup poured over it. Or ketchup and spam!

Nowadays... I still use my rice bowl as a base for a quick meal. Sesame seeds with baby sardines and kochojang sauce. Soysauce and peas. Chopped spinach and natto. The list is endless.

foodnerd
Re: neko-manma

we eat a LOT of rice in this house. but one of the best things in the world is hot rice with a fried egg and sriracha. it can be made in about 3 minutes with leftover rice, and the ingredients are always in the house and pretty much never go bad. we often have this when we come home from a trip and didn't leave any food in the house... yum.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 37 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

The English/Irish/Antipodean version of this would have to be leftover potatoes fried up with whatever. Leftover potatoes fried in butter until crispy are delicious all by themselves, but are great with a fried egg, or with leftover gravy and other stuff. They have to be leftovers too - something about being a bit old makes them nicer. Unfortunately they're also very fattening.

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Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

umaimon
Bento-ing from: Orange County › California › USA
Joined: 24 Jun 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 21 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

Oh yeah-- I agree about being scolded by older people for this (if you're Japanese). My mom thought it wasn't that elegant, but my dad was totally chill because he ate like that himself. haha

These all sound delicious!
The sweet neko-manmas like chocolate and milk sound pretty awesome. I'd like to try that sometime. It makes me think of rice pudding.

Come to think of it, neko-manma reminds me also of risotto. Or another Japanese food-- ochazuke (rice topped with something salty like pickled plum or a salted salmon, with green tea poured all over it)...which is not considered inelegant as neko-manma (probly because it's not leftovers). Perhaps neko-manma as a people-food evolved as the ghetto version of ochazuke? lol. Either way, YUMMINESS.

-Alissa

Brit-chan
Bento-ing from: Lafayette › Louisiana › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 13 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

Hmm... I can't think of anything I've ever done because here in Louisiana (in the southern US for out of country peeps) we always put stuff over rice! Gumbo is poured on top of rice, red beans and rice, white beans and rice, all varieties of stews over rice. Even just making gravy from a roasted chicken and putting that over rice with the chicken...

It's always been a way of eating here for me, so I don't see it as anything special. Though I guess these foods aren't exactly leftovers so maybe it's lil different. But I like the name for it! It's cute. ^^;

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Yum yum bento yum yum!

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 2 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

this is actually a spanish leftover food :) We cook it when we cook too much cocido :) (chickpeas stew)

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My bento blog: http://justbento.com/blog/1305
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Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 2 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

I thought ochazuke was an absolutely inelegant food. My japanese teacher told me so once O_oU

mooncake
Bento-ing from: › Ohio › USA
Joined: 17 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 21 weeks ago.
Re: neko-manma

Wow, I throw leftover everything on a bowl of rice if I'm in a hurry. Meat, veggies, sometimes beef stew. Last week I mixed leftover roasted pork shoulder with an improvised sauce and green onions and put that over rice (makes a good rice ball filling, too). It's kind of a comfort food thing, because it's all in one bowl and unfussy.

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