Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

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This is probably my favorite way to eat carrots - cut into matchstick size, stir fried in sesame oil until crisp-tender with some red pepper flakes, and finished with a scatter of sesame seeds. It's crunchy, salty and spicy. It's really tasty at room temperature, which makes it a great bento filler.

Recipe: Carrot kinpira

Note that I don't add any sugar or mirin here, unlike most traditional kinpira recipes. I just let the natural sweetness of the carrots speak for itself.

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (about 1/8 tsp, or more if you want it spicier)
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds

Cut the carrots into matchstick size. (Cheat alert - you can use pre-shredded carrots meant for salad if you like, but then lessen the cooking time.)

Heat up a frying pan or wok with the sesame oil. Add the carrots and toss around until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes depending on how skinny the matchsticks are. Add the red pepper flakes and toss some more. Add soy sauce, toss toss. Add the sesame seeds near the end.

This does theoretically keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, though around here it never does.