Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira


This is probably my favorite way to eat carrots - cut into matchstick size, stir fried in sesame oil until crisp-tender with some red pepper flakes, and finished with a scatter of sesame seeds. It’s crunchy, salty and spicy. It’s really tasty at room temperature, which makes it a great bento filler.

Recipe: Carrot kinpira

Note that I don’t add any sugar or mirin here, unlike most traditional kinpira recipes. I just let the natural sweetness of the carrots speak for itself.

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (about 1/8 tsp, or more if you want it spicier)
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds

Cut the carrots into matchstick size. (Cheat alert - you can use pre-shredded carrots meant for salad if you like, but then lessen the cooking time.)

Heat up a frying pan or wok with the sesame oil. Add the carrots and toss around until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes depending on how skinny the matchsticks are. Add the red pepper flakes and toss some more. Add soy sauce, toss toss. Add the sesame seeds near the end.

This does theoretically keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, though around here it never does.

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Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

I tried this the other day using a carrot that's been sitting in the fridge for awhile. It was absolutely delicious. I put the leftovers in the fridge and ate it today, and it was just as good. I'm definitely going to make this again and use it a lot for my bentos. I didn't have any sesame seeds though, so I threw in some sliced almonds that had been sitting in the freezer for some time, and they were surprising good in it.

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

I tried this recipe today, its very good it was still very tasty... Sadly I forgot to check the amount of red chili flakes and sort of gave it seven shakes! I'll try it proper another time.

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

i made this and my family loved it! thanks for the recipe.

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

I left out the red pepper flakes since I can't handle spicy foods and this was an instant hit with the whole family! Thank you so much for this recipe!

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

I'm in 7th grade and go to a school that is not the most culturally diverse, so when people say my [2] friends and me with our bentos the most common thing they would do is question us or walk in the other direction. Mostly American-Italian in my school, they do not know a thing about Japan. I wish I can cook better so this recipe I tried would've turned out the way it was supposed to. I'm always looking for new things to spice up my bland and boring lube sheep [red] bento and the boring food I put in it.

I didn't have all the ingrediants, but I knew a good cook would sacrifice, not give up. I started with canola oil instead. Cut up baby carrots (which took me a while!) and spread them in there once the frying pan was done heating or whatnot (that sounds so much more formal then 'whatever'). After 5 minutes I tossed some Red & Black Pepper Blend (I'm not a cook so I don't know any formal names...all i know that this was McCormick's brand...and that's what it said on the bottle) and then soy sauce. After putting the carrots in a bowl I added some [rainbow] peppercorn to add a little touch to it and expiriment a bit. I think it tasted great and I know my mom kept on eating it -_- So now I don't have a lot for my bento today but it's good enough. Thank-you for the recipe even though I barely had any of the ingredients!!!

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

Im very lazy when it comes to preparing bento in the morning for my husband. But after I browsed your site, I started making very nice and tasty bentos! :)

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

Ok carrots have always been a favorite of mine so I had to try this. I sure wish I'd made more! It was sooo good Im wanting to eat it all for dinner ;) I did follow the recipe but later noticed my sesame oil said it was not for cooking just to add flavor at the end of cooking time. Is this a different type of sesame oil or is it ok to use this? I used a plastic mandolin and had beautiful matchsticks in no time. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes! I'm new to Bento and this site has been truly inspirational!!

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

I tried this out last night, and I was more than impressed! I was able to add a bit more red pepper flakes as I am a sucker for spiciness, and it was *beyond* delicious! My boyfriend, who is not a huge fan of carrots by any means, tried them and loved them too! Thank you so much for the recipe; I now have a new bento (and dinner-for-two) staple that's a true hit with the both of us.

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

Made it yesterday for this week's lunches: very good! I like that it isn't overly sweet. I bought pre-shredded carrots because I knew I'd be pressed for time. I, too, added more red pepper. I love a spicy punch to my food.

Re: Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

I tried this with organic carrots (taste and texture is much much better than the non-organic) and used my vegetable peeler to shred the carrots instead of cutting them into matchbook size. I was surprised by how good this recipe tasted! Normally, I'm not that excited about carrots, but the flavors blended well, it tasted good both hot and cold and was quick enough to make in the morning. Kids and husband even asked to taste test when I made it in the morning because it smelled so good. Definitely a keeper recipe!

My only regret...

is that I didn't make more! It took me a while to cut the carrots, so I didn't want to invest too much time in case I didn't like it, and now I'm dying for more! I even ate some of the leftover partially-toasted sesame seeds that fell off the carrots into the pan, because I just couldn't get enough! I might have to make more just to snack on! Thanks maki!

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