Before we begin with the food, here is a brief introduction to my favorite characters!
Kerokerokeroppi (or "Keroppi"for short) is a frog character made by Sanrio, who also makes the much more famous Hello Kitty. Keroppi loves to sing and swim, and lives at Donut Pond. He has a brother named Koroppi and a sister named Pikki. Keroppi was born in 1988 and was really popular in the early 90's but has since faded. I loved Keroppi when I was a kid, and I bought tons of paraphernalia associated with him.
Inarizushi is sushi that is made from marinated tofu skins and sushi rice. For the Totoro Inarizushi, I cut dried seaweed sheets with scissors into the shape of his nose and the markings on his chest. For his eyes, I used black sesame seeds. Click here for a tutorial on how to make Inarizushi.
Onigiri (also known as omusubi) is a rice ball that can be filled with a variety of fillings. Common fillings include salted salmon and pickled ume (plum). For this onigiri, I used seaweed as an outer covering to make his head and his whiskers. I cut out eyes with a straw from fish cake (kamaboko). I use scissors to cut the seaweed.
Maki is a specific type of sushi where rice and other ingredients are rolled up into a roll, usually using seaweed. I decided to make Maki rolls that, when cut, revealed the face of Keroppi.
Here is the step by step tutorial for how to make Keroppi Maki Rolls.
Main Dish #1: Domo Japanese "Hamburg" (ハンバーグ)
The Japanese rendition of hamburger has ground beef mixed with panko and sauteed onions. It is usually served with a brown sauce (like Bulldog Sauce) or curry. This Asian-interpretation of a western dish has almost become a separate type of cuisine in the states, and you can find restaurants that serve Japanese style hamburgers in the US.
I decided to make Domo-themed Japanese Hamburgers with brown sauce.
Main Dish #2: Totoro Rice and Korean Spinach Salad
This was the centerpiece of the meal. The dish was inspired by a scene from the movie in My Neighbor Totoro where Totoro is holding an umbrella because it is raining. It is one of the most famous scenes from the movie. Due to limitations in what foods I had available, I was unable to really recreate the scene. So, instead, here is an inspired picture that is loosely based on a scene from the movie.
The flowers are made out of red peppers, carrots, and cucumbers. The sun is a picked daikon, and Totoro is made out of sesame rice and also regular rice. For a tutorial on how to make your own Totoro, click here.
Dessert: Rice Crispy Treats and Chocolate
Rice Crispy Treats
Finally, I made some chocolates in the shape of Keroppi. I used food coloring to color white chocolate green. I used white chocolate chips for his eyeballs. For a step by step look into how I made the Keroppi chocolates, click here.
It was a crazy Saturday filled with many hours of cooking. Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this event. I never would have attempted so many interesting dishes otherwise! This is my first time making many of these things, and I'm definitely still a novice! I have to acknowledge two great sites that I used as wonderful resources: Just Bento and Anna the Red's Bento Factory. I learned a lot from these sites, and you should definitely check them out. Just Bento has a ton of great tips about bento making in general, and Anna the Red makes incredibly detailed and crazy cute bentos that I can only dream of recreating.
Enjoy! And thanks for reading this far!
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