Shibazuke (pickled eggplant with red shiso leaf) - or umeboshi, mentaiko (spicy salted cod roe), etc.
A small amount
A toothpick or bento pick
5 to 6
Fill with cucumber, cheese, sausage or whatever you like.
Cut the chikuwa open lengthwise. Hold it flat and make evenly spaced crisscross cuts all along the inside. (Be careful not to cut too deep.)
Flip the cut chikuwa piece over, line with a shiso leaf, and put on the filling of your choice close to the edge near you.
Roll it up. (The edges will bend the other way so hold them down while rolling evenly.)
Secure the rolled up end with 5 to 6 toothpicks or bento picks spaced evenly.
Cut in between the picks. You have rolled up colorful chikuwa flowers.
You can easily make 5 to 6 flowers out of 1 chikuwa stick. Watch out for your salt intake though.
I put them in my oldest son's school outing bento.
Story Behind this Recipe
My mother used to always put these in her osechi (New Year's feast food) as well as in sports festival bentos.
Take care not to cut the chikuwa apart when opening them up and making cuts in them. When making the cuts and rolling the chikuwa, it tends to want to bend over the other way, so hold it down firmly with 4 fingers to cut, and wrap while holding the edges.