Kumamon is indescribably cute. An onigiri (rice ball) covered in nori seaweed can be transformed easily into Kumamon (Translator's note: Kumamon is a character mascot that represents Kumamoto prefecture, which is in the Kyushu region of Japan.)
Make a large round onigiri (rice ball) filled with the filling of your choice. Cover the onigiri with nori seaweed. Make 3 small cylinder-shaped onigiri using salted rice only.
Put the large round onigiri in a bento box. Cut out an oval shape from sliced cheese and put it on the onigiri a bit lower than center, for the mouth. Cut two circles out of the cheese for the eyes and place them above the first piece of cheese.
Cut out two circles from the red outer layer of the crab stick and place them on the onigiri to form the cheeks. Cut out the nose and eyes from nori, and put them on. The eyebrows are made of cheese too. The black sesame seeds are the pupils of the eyes.
Place 2 of the small cylindrical onigiri on their edges next to the large onigiri (they are the ears). Place the small cheese circles on top.
The other cylindrical onigiri is the paw. Place some cucumber slices or other foods underneath to form a base, and put the paw onigiri on top.
Add the other bento components. I used vegetable and meat rolls, spring roll tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), and simmered sweet potato and lotus root, plus cherry tomatoes, broccoli and grapes.
Story Behind this Recipe
This is for my child's bento. He loves Kumamon so I made this for him. He was so happy.
It's basically a round onigiri, so it's very easy to prepare. Just keep an eye on the relative sizes of the parts when you put them on the onigiri. Compare the sizes of the eyes and paws by lining them up against the main onigiri and adjusting accordingly.