Character Bento Shiso, Ham, and Imitation Crab Chikuwa Rolls.

Character Bento Shiso, Ham, and Imitation Crab Chikuwa Rolls.

A dish for your lunchbox. The ingredients are easy to come by if you live in Japan. Satisfying and cute. These would also be great for a party or other gatherings.

Ingredients: 8 rolls

Shiso leaves
4 leaves
1 slice
Imitation crab sticks
about 1/2 stick
Ground sesame seeds
to taste
Yukari seasoning
to taste


1. Cut the chikuwa lengthwise in half, the ham into fourths, the crab stick into fourths (try to keep some of the red in each part).
2. Layer the shiso in paper towels and remove any excess moisture. Remove the stem end, and cut in half along the grain.
3. Put the shiso leaves in the chikuwa as shown in the photo.
4. Layer the ham and 2 pieces of crab onto the shiso, and roll the chikuwa around the ingredients tightly.
5. Fix both ends in place using the toothpicks.
6. Here is a view of what it should look like from the side.
7. Cut the roll in half between the toothpicks, using a sharp kitchen knife. You can also use a cute decorative toothpick if you are making a character bento.
8. Garnish with the ground sesame and yukari (salted and dried red shiso leaves) to your liking. I recommend using yukari if you have it.

Story Behind this Recipe

This is a dish you can make with ingredients readily at hand. I made them because I wanted a dish that would be pretty in a lunchbox. These are cute and delicious.