Ask Maki Almost Anything

How many hours is a bento really safe at room temperature?

I'm really new at making bentos, and the thought of leaving my bento out of a refrigerator makes me a bit nervous, and I wanted to ask your thoughts.
You see, I have to leave my house very early in the morning (around 5:50 am) to get to work on time during the summer, and I typically don't eat lunch until 12:00. I'm worried that leaving my bento out of the refrigerator for 6+ hours would be unsafe, but the thought of eating ice-cold rice from the fridge isn't exactly appetizing to me either! :\ continue reading...

I need ideas for using (hopefully using up) peeled & boiled lotus root

I bought a bag/package of peeled and boiled lotus root.
Seeing others use it made me very curious.

Well now I am stuck -- opened the bag the other day and tried pan frying a couple of pieces with what I was making for breakfast. I got my son and my husband to try it. The men were like "ok but I would not be interested in having it again" and I am wondering what else I can do.

Also - how long will it last in the fridge now that the sealed packaging is open??

Thanks for the help.

The Onigiri (Omusubi) FAQ

In the subject FAQ, you say that omusubi can be any shape. I am a fan of NHK Taiga drama and I noticed that during the Sengoku Jidai period, the warring states era, that the omusubi was round. In Hawaii where I am from, round omusubi was only served at funerals and never any time else. And fell into the category of only at funerals. Like passing anything from chopsticks to chopsticks.

I have also heard it said that triangular omusubi represented ten-shi-jin, heaven-earth-mankind.

Any information you have on this aspect of omusubi would be appreciated. continue reading...

Spices and sauces in the Bento.

Hello Maki!

I am a brand new addition to JustBento (and Bentos in general...and Japanese cooking in general) but your site has been a million times more helpful than the internet as whole in answering questions and giving ideas and how-tos so thank you for that.

Currently, I'm in the preparation and research stage and that includes recipes and I had a few questions:

1. As far as spices and sauces go, what are some "staples" I should have in my kitchen? continue reading...

homemade azuki bean paste for anman

I tried to make some azuki bean paste-filled buns the other day, and while the steamed bread turned out great, the azuki bean paste was...just okay. I followed a recipe I found online. I was wondering if you had a recipe for the paste? I would buy it pre-made, but I had a hard time finding azuki beans in my town, let alone premade azuki bean paste.
Onegai shimasu!

temaki katsuo sheets

Dear Maki,
I'm looking for temaki katsuo sheets after I found some nice recipes in combination with them in Yukiyo Moriyama's "Quick and Easy Sushi Cookbook" (Tokyo 1983). Are they available outside of Japan? A friend of mine is now hunting them in Hongkong, until now without success.
Thanks and congratulations to your great blog! It's really encyclopaedic.

Hagi no Tsuki - perhaps a post/recipe for them?

I was on another forum, one that shall Not Be Named, when I saw someone request a recipe for hagi no tsuki. I of course hit up the Google Image Search, and found a few lovely pictures, and thought, "Maki's probably done a post or two about these!"

So of course, I did a search, and came up with goose eggs.

What's also surprising is that searching online for a recipe came up with another few goose eggs, so I'm set for custard making, but not the cake itself. Any chance we could see a special about these delightful little desserts?

How do I store tempura bits?

I made tempura prawns and veges, and scattered little bits of batter around in the oil so I'd have the crispy bits for okonomiyaki. Now what do I do with them? Air-tight container in the pantry? Treat them like cookies?