non-bento #26: the very hungry caterpillar

August 25, 2010

in bento,non bento

When I did the Bento Contest for EpiCute and My Food Looks Funny site, I saw some very interesting requests. And one of them was the Very Hungry Caterpillar. I thought it’d be a bit too easy to make a bento of it, so I didn’t pick it. But it turns out my boyfriend loved the book as a child, and that was enough reason for me to make it with food!

The local market I always shop at has a decent fresh fish selection and they also have a little sushi counter where a guy makes sushi and sells them in a package. When I was looking at it, this idea came to my mind.

Non-Bento #26: Very Hungry Caterpillar

Non-bento #26: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Created and eaten on: 8/21/2010

For this, I decided to try using the hangiri (wooden shallow bowl to mix sushi rice in) I got recently. Hangiri literally means “cutting rice.” Because when you mix the rice for sushi, you move the spatula to cut/slice rice sideways rather than “mixing” it. I always wanted to get one of these so I was happy to find this one at Sunrise mart (Japanese supermarket) in NYC. I don’t make sushi that regularly, so this was good enough for me.

Making sushi rice with hangiri

It's up to 3 cup of rice, comes with a wooden shallow bowl, two spatulas and two sushi roller. It was $19.99, and you can also buy it from too.

*If you’re serious about making sushi and considering buying a hangiri, make sure you buy the one made with cypress. The one I bought is made with pine, which is a lot cheaper than cypress, but it won’t last as long as the one made with cypress.

The spatulas and sushi roller that came with it were very small. I was wondering why, but then I realized it was for “hand rolls” as you can see in the package. Duh.

Making sushi rice with hangiri

On the left: The spatulas and sushi rollers that came with it. On the right: A regular spatula and sushi roller.

I wet the hangiri first, then dumped the freshly cooked rice in it. I cheated and used the sushi rice powder though. (for those who want to make sushi rice from scratch, check out “how to make sushi rice.”)

Making sushi rice with hangiri

The rice came out definitely better than the rice mixed in a metal bowl. It’s very easy to mix rice in a shallow big space without crushing rice grains.  Also with a regular bowl, even if you wet the bowl, some rice still stick to the bowl. But with the wooden hangiri, the wood absorbs the moisture so the rice won’t stick to it at all.

This really isn’t meant to be a how-to post, but I took some pictures as I made it, so I’m going to post them here.
I put avocado, fake crab meat, and scallion inside this time, but I don’t think there are any rules to what you can put inside. (Sorry for some photos being a bit orangey. We didn’t use the lighting kit we have this time.)

Making very hungry caterpillar roll with avocado

Put sushi rice on the half of seaweed.

Making very hungry caterpillar roll with avocado

Put it upside down on a plastic wrap.

Making very hungry caterpillar roll with avocado

We put avocado, fake crab meat and scallion inside this time.

Making very hungry caterpillar roll with avocado

And roll it!

Making very hungry caterpillar roll with avocado

Take off the plastic cover, and carefully put thinly sliced avocado on top of the roll.

Making very hungry caterpillar roll with avocado

Cover it with a plastic wrap.

Making very hungry caterpillar roll with avocado

And very gently roll it again. (Don't squish the avocado.)

Making very hungry caterpillar roll with avocado

You definitely want to use the sharpest knife you have. I cut it with the plastic cover on so I could hold the roll as I cut it.

After you cut the roll, carefully place them onto a plate just like the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Non-bento #26: Very Hungry Caterpillar detail

No special technique involved! Just make a wave with the avocado roll.

And make a small sushi with tuna, make the eyes with egg sheet (see “how to make an egg sheet”) and lettuce, cut seaweed for the mouth, and red cabbage for antenna. If you don’t have an egg sheet ready, you can also use cheese.

Non-bento #26: Very Hungry Caterpillar detail

He looks kind of surprised than hungry. Maybe he realized that he's the one that gets eaten this time.

Non-bento #26: Very Hungry Caterpillar detail

I cut seaweed for his tiny little legs.

Non-bento #26: Very Hungry Caterpillar detail

This very hungry caterpillar sure makes me hungry.

Non-bento #26: Very Hungry Caterpillar detail

Even his cute little butt looks tasty.

Non-bento #26: Very Hungry Caterpillar detail

The avocado we picked was maybe too ripe. Ripe avocado is melty and tasty, but very fragile and starts to change its color rather fast.

I know lemon juice is known to preserve avocado’s color, so maybe I’ll try sprinkle some on avocado next time.

I didn’t really make anything special for this Very Hungry Caterpillar dinner. I just put them in a certain way, and added a couple of things for his face and legs. If you’re feeling super lazy, you can even buy avocado rolls! :D You can use a mini tomato for his face if you aren’t into raw fish. We also made salmon and tuna sushi addition to the Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s amazing how cheap it is to make sushi at home.

Were we still hungry after eating the hungry caterpillar, dozen pieces of salmon sushi and dozen pieces of tuna sushi? NO. We were stuffed. We actually couldn’t finish them all that night and ate them next day. But we know we can always get hungry for the very hungry caterpillar any day. Especially my boyfriend!

As I mentioned in the beginning, there are some very interesting requests on EpiCute and My Food Looks Funny sites. Maybe I might try making them later!

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Char HaasNo Gravatar August 25, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Lime tastes better on avocado than lemon does!


SuraviNo Gravatar August 25, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I absolutely love this and want to gobble him up!!!!


ManiNo Gravatar August 26, 2010 at 2:07 am

This is the best thing ever! You’re so creative :D


juliNo Gravatar August 26, 2010 at 10:32 am

this looks so delicious!! i wanna eat it so much!!!
and amazing how real it looks :D


Wendy LeowNo Gravatar August 28, 2010 at 5:54 am

so cute!! my kids love the hungry caterpillar too. Does your bf like “the cat in the hat”? or “green eggs & ham” too??? sorry had to ask. kid’s favourite at the moment…


KaylaNo Gravatar August 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Looks sooo yummy! (we have to meet up again and talk food) :D

put up the katamari hat pattern:


astrorainfallNo Gravatar September 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm

That is very cool. You are a genius with your hands!


KimNo Gravatar February 14, 2011 at 5:08 am

Very cool – well done! We love the very hungry caterpillar in our house too!


MaaikeNo Gravatar September 2, 2011 at 2:22 am

wel how many times did’nt i read this book when i was young !
so cute, it looks really like the book ^^
a dutch site funlunch (or in dutch’leukelunch’)
hasa cool lunchbox version of this : (just scroll down a litle)


SaraNo Gravatar August 13, 2013 at 5:15 am

Very cool! I’m thinking of attempting this- how did you manage to slice the avocado so thin and uniformly?


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