Monday, June 28, 2021



Making charaben or character bento is no child’s play. Learning to prepare it was fun though after I was persuaded to join Meat Livestock Australia’s (MLA) True Beef Up Contest. 

Prior to making the charaben, I reviewed the useful tips gleaned from the Beef Up webinar hosted by MLA. Some of the key takeaways I recall from Mary Easaw, senior lecturer at the International Medical University and consultant dietician at CVSKL Hospital Kuala Lumpur include:

  •    Eating lean red meat three to four times a week is recommended for a healthy balanced diet
  •        Beef, especially True Aussie Beef, is a good source of protein, iron, zinc and other essential nutrients. Australian grass-fed beef is naturally low in fat and cholesterol, while offering a higher level of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  •        Moderation is key to a healthy diet. The basic guideline for a healthy plate is ½ plate colourful, non-starchy vegetables, ¼ plate carbohydrates (potato, pasta, rice) and ¼ plate protein (meat, fish, chicken or tofu)
  •           1 serving of meat = the size of the palm of your hand with the thickness of a deck of cards (65-100g) 1-2 x per week.

Air-fried Aussie beef Salad Nicoise-style shown by Chef Victor Chow

From the Beef Up webinar, we got some practical tips and inspiration from Chef Victor Chow who showed us 3 simple and delicious recipes on how to cook beef. More recipe ideas and information are found in the comprehensive media kit provided to us.

Since I opted for lamb, I decided the True Aussie Lamb Shabu Shabu slices would work well in a lunch box. To ensure it remains in the ‘lamb’ light, a charaben would be a cute and attention-grabbing way to showcase the meat.

It was the pack of Kikkoman Garlic Teriyaki Sauce that gave me the charaben inspiration. 😄



100g Aussie lamb slices

1 pack (25g) Kikkoman Garlic Teriyaki Sauce

1 small pc nori sheet

200g cooked rice

2 tsp vinegar

1 tsp mirin

Pinch of salt

½ tsp mayonnaise

1 pc baby romaine lettuce (chopped)

2 eggs (beaten)

½ tomato (diced)


Marinate Aussie lamb slices with Kikkoman Garlic Teriyaki Sauce for 15 minutes.

Heat pan and sauté lamb slices quickly. Set aside.

Cut nori sheet into two round discs and long “sheep ear” shapes.

Mix cooked rice with vinegar, mirin and salt. Shape and mould into rice balls.

Place each nori disc onto the rice balls with the “sheep ears” on the side. Dot some mayonnaise on top of the nori discs for the “eyes”.

(Tip: Use cupcake or muffin liner to hold rice balls)

Fry beaten egg into omelette, roll it up tightly and slice.

Fill lunch box with chopped baby romaine lettuce.

Place rice balls on top. Fill one quarter of lunch box with sautéed lamb slices. Decorate with diced tomato.

Fill remaining quarter of lunch box with sliced omelette rolls.

# # #

The whole experience was easier than I had anticipated. Not only the lamb slices cooked within minutes, everyone also enjoyed the delicious and meltingly tender meat. For us busy working mothers, #TrueAussieLamb is quick and easy to cook and that’s a godsend!

Bear in mind, lean red meat has lower fat content than chicken too. Trimmed of separable fat, lean beef has average 2.7g fat per 100g raw weight while skinless chicken has 3.5g.

Nutrient-wise, red meat is a great source of Iron (important for brain function), Zinc (for healthy bone development, fertility and immunity) and Omega-3. Other essential nutrients to be found include magnesium, selenium, niacin, potassium, phosphorous, Vitamins B5, B6 and B12 - vital for brain function, muscle development and function, immunity and energy.

During the Beef Up webinar, Sanjay Boothalingam, Australian Agriculture Counsellor from the Australian High Commission, highlighted Australian beef, lamb and goats are renowned for their quality, safety and halal compliance.

“Malaysia is the 3rd largest market for Australian mutton,” said Sanjay. “Australian meat are known for safety, quality, sustainability, reliability and traceability.” 

He also spoke at length on the stringent Halal compliance and legislature framework implemented by the Australian government, covering everything from animal welfare and husbandry, slaughter, on-field and plant audits by JAKIM, to import permits. 

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