Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Naruto Roll and Jyagatama

Two dishes today from The Manga Cookbook,a cute cookbook inspired by Japanese comic books and animation. If you like manga, anime, and bento boxes (and who doesn't?), this is the cookbook for you! The book is filled with cute manga-style drawings illustrating each recipe step-by-step. Even better, there are little notes on the history of these traditional Japanese dishes, how and when they are eaten, and even references to the manga where these foods appear.

The first recipe we have here is Naruto Roll: nori, tofurkey, and vegan cheese rolled together and cut into bite-sized pieces. Unfortunately, the vegan cheese I had (Tofutti slices) would not roll like the soft, creamy cheese pictured in the cookbook (looks like Velveeta to me). The vegan cheese crumbled and ripped, ruining the pretty roll effect. After throwing two rolls away and gritting my teeth in disgust, I finally figured out what to do: layer the nori, tofurkey, and cheese together on a cutting board with the cheese on top, then set the board under the broiler for just a few seconds, just long enough for the cheese to get soft. Roll away!

Next to the Naruto are Jyagatama -- potato salad balls. I had never in my life imagined making mashed potatoes mixed with cooked peas, corn, and carrots, seasoning it like a potato salad (Vegenaise, lemon juice, etc.) then rolling it into little balls. Could this possibly be good?

Next to the main dishes are steamed broccoli and green beans, with a happy apple food pick and a little soy sauce fish. And for dessert, a container of red watermelon and two Oreos.

Verdict: Potato salad balls? Phenomenally brilliant. Seriously, they were sooo good, all creamy and tangy and you can just pick them up and pop them in your mouth. Who knew?

The Naruto, on the other hand, was not such a hit. Shmoo ate one and then decided that as of today he no longer likes Tofutti. That was the only storebought vegan cheese he ever did like, so now we're down to none. Hey, it's okay by me -- I don't like it either!

He has fun squirting the soy sauce fish on his vegetables. "Oh no, the fish is going to throw up! [then in a fishy voice] 'It must be some bad shrimp I ate. Blecccgh!' " 4 stars.


Rie Selavy said...

What a great lunch! Too bad the rolls didn't turn out so well, but the mashed potato balls look kind of tasty.

How vegan/vegetarian friendly is this cookbook? Are the recipes easily made veggie friendly?

Thank you for having such an awesome lunch blog!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for mentioning this book... I have two cousins who will now be receiving it for Christmas... they will love it!

VeganCowGirl said...

I NEVER would have thought to stick it under the grill.

Looks great.

JennP said...

that's so funny that the potato balls have a name! I've been making potato balls for my daughter since she was about 2. I steam broccoli, pan fry mushrooms and onions, and then mash it all together and add some cheese and mash it all up together some more. Then I roll it in small balls ... she ADORES those! and I kinda like them myself....

but who knew this type of food had a name. :)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>How vegan/vegetarian friendly is this cookbook? Are the recipes easily made veggie friendly?

Yes, I've been surprised at how many veg-friendly recipes are in there, and many others are easy to veganize.

Now if only veggie dog octopus legs would curl like a regular hotdog's, I could have the perfect vegan bento.

Clare said...

Did you know I could buy this book and one off my wishlist and still have money left over from my pay cheque?

Not really. I'm poor, looking forward to the book though, thanks! said...

wow thats look so delecious :D

Silver Wing Creations said...

Hello! Someone JUST linked me to your blog today and wow! I'm not vegan but am trying to cut back on animal products for health reasons and your first entry immediately leaped out at me! I have an unused bento box at home which now I want to try and those potato salad balls - Jyagatama - sound WONDERFUL! Could I possibly get the whole recipe? I'd like to make them. jademoonstone4 @ hotmail .com if you could? I'd be grateful!

ConraDargo said...

I'll probably never get a reply to this one, but I would like some advice on the jyagatama because it always comes out so sticky for me! It's impossible to make any balls out of the mess ><

Jennifershmoo said...

I find that the potatoes are a bit sticky, too, but I dip my fingers in water as I roll to keep the mixture from sticking to my hands. Also, you may be over-cooking or over-mashing the potatoes; either one could be making the potatoes gluey. Good luck!