All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

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Previously, I showed you how to make orange colored carrot rice. The make-in-a-few minutes microwave method was especially popular. So, here's how to make pink (or purple) and green colored rice just as easily. The best thing about them is that they are colored just with vegetables - no hard to pronounce ingredients in sight.

I've used white rice for color clarity, but you could use regular or sprouted brown rice instead. I used leftover rice from the night before; you could also use defrosted frozen rice.

Recipe: Pink or purple rice

For every cup of cooked white rice, use:

  • 1 tsp to 1/2 Tbs. finely grated red cabbage
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable or olive oil (optional)
  • pinch salt

Grate the red cabbage as finely as possible - a microplane grater is the best tool for this. The more red cabbage you use, the more purple the rice will be. Add a few drops of lemon juice to the grated cabbage a little at a time. It will turn redder and redder.

Mix the cabbage with salt and oil, and spread on top of the rice. Cover with plastic film and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Mix together very well.

It doesn't taste cabbage-y at all, and the lemon juice adds a pleasant slight sour note, rather like sushi rice.

Recipe: Green rice

For every cup of cooked white rice, use:

  • 1 Tbs. frozen green peas
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable or olive oil (optional)
  • pinch salt

Put the peas in a small bowl and microwave on HIGH for 30-40 seconds to defrost them. Mash them up as finely as you can with a fork, or in a mortar and pestle.

Mix the peas, salt and oil with the rice and microwave on HIGH for one minute. Mix together very well.

Recipe: Simple orange rice

For a more flavorful orange colored carrot rice, see this page. This is a simple version which omits the onion.

For every cup of cooked white rice, use:

  • 1 Tbs. finely grated carrot
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable or olive oil (optional)
  • pinch salt

Grate the carrot as finely as possible. Place on top of the rice with the oil and salt. Cover with plastic film and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Mix together very well.

You could use one kind of rice at a time, or two or more at once. Remember that plain white rice would give you one more colorway.

Multicolored animal onigiri

As you can see I did get the Hello Kitty bento decorating kit that I wrote about here and here from J-List after all. The onigiri molds make small onigiri, about 1/4 cup worth per piece. Here are the contents of the kit:

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I think I will use the onigiri molds the most - it's really quick to form little onigiri with them, so they could be used for everyday bento. The nori punches and the shape cutter are more fiddly to use so I'll keep them for special occasion bento when I have time to pull out the tweezers and such. (It took me almost as long to put the nori faces on just three of the onigiri than it did to make the colored rice and form six onigiri.) But don't you think a plate of multicolored onigiri would be great for a party?

A note on using onigiri molds like these: traditionally made onigiri are formed with salted hands, which add flavor to the rice. I find it impossible to salt the insides of onigiri molds properly, so I pre-salt the rice a little instead as I've done with the vegetable colored rice. (Want to know more about onigiri? See how to make them the traditional way, an easier way using plastic wrap, and the different kinds of onigiri you can make.)

So you see, I'm not against all charaben/kyaraben. As long as it's all-natural and easy to make, I'm all for it!