Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tutorial Bento Time Saver Carrot Kinpira Meatfree

Today I will share with you how I make a bento space filler that also happens to be a bento time saver, my own Carrot Kinpira. Many people have asked me recently, how on earth do you find time to make all these bentos. Well, let's say that making bentos does take a bit of effort. BUT sometimes I do get lazy, that's why I have to devise ways and means to make things more efficient. hehehe!

Kinpira 金平 きんぴら is a japanese style of cooking that can be roughly translated as "sauté and simmer". This technique can be used with many different types of root vegetable, such as carrot, burdock and lotus root. Sometimes the kinpira technique is also used on other foods such as tofu, wheat gluten and also meats like chicken, pork and beef. So in a way, I guess you can also call it Japanese stir-fry.

Carrot Kinpira Bento Time saver and Bento Filler
Half a carrot (julienne into strips about the size of matchsticks)
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Mirin
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
Dash of ketchup (you'll be surprise what this can do)
Sesame seed (optional)

Here's what I usually do

Carrot Kinpira - Julienne carrot

Carrot Kinpira - heat the sesame oil

Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan for less than 1 minute over moderate fire. Take care that the temperature does not get too hot, else the sesame oil will burn a little and it will taste bitter.

Carrot Kinpira - Quick saute and simmer

Add in the carrot strips and quickly toss it around a few times to make sure that they get evenly coated with the sesame oil.

Add in the sugar and give it a quick toss. If you like you can wait a little for the sugar and the sugar to caramalize a little.

Next add in the mirin and toss. At this stage, I will also add in a dash of ketchup. You will be surprised that an American invention such as the ketchup has made its way to a normal japanese kitchen (think omurice and spagetti Napolitan). The reason why I like to use a bit of ketchup here is that the tartness (sour-ness) of the vinegar and the tomato puree in the ketchup actually gives another dimension to the otherwise just sweet taste of the dish and it makes the carrot look good too!

Finally, I add in the soy sauce. I always add soy sauce the last because overcooking soy sauce changes the chemical content and also the taste of the soy sauce. Give it a quick stir and sprinkle a few sesame seeds and you are done!

This carrot kinpira recipe gives me about 4 side portions. I portion them out and place them all in a couple of silicon cake molds. This can be stored in the refridgerator for a few days and it means that everytime I want to make a bento with it, I can just take whatever I need and place it in the bento immediately. This is also great on the days when I run out of bento ideas and makes a great bento space filler too. I hope you like this bento time saver tutorial the meatfree Carrot Kinpira.


  1. I love to do this kind of cooking method too (saute and simmer), but the spices that I use are Indonesian ones hehehe (suits my taste ^^). I sometimes just add my ready-to-use Indonesian curry spice paste with the sprinkle of sesame seeds. Then, enjoy it with a bowl of warm rice as my lazy Sunday's meal, yum yum :D

  2. I've been looking for inspiration for new fall vegetable preparations, these look delicious!

  3. Hee hee! Glad you like it Tata! ^^,

  4. Hi Rachel! Thanks for your sweet comment! You got me here, I was indeed in a fall sort of mood when I wrote the post! :D


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About Bento Cat

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Amsterdam, Netherlands
I'm Shanna and I enjoy bento making a lot. I'm also a wife, daughter,sister,a full-time student, previous fashion and product designer, nerd and super foodie all rolled into one. With Adventures of Bento Cat, I hope to document the daily happenings of my life through Bentos filled with Tender Loving Care and more! I can be contacted at bentokato@gmail.com
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