Bento box of the week: Henohenomoheji

henohenomoheji_bento.jpg

This week for a change the bento box featured is one you can buy easily online on eBay. I’ve chosen it not because the bento box itself is special, but for the design on top, which makes me smile. continue reading...

Making food for your bento that tastes good cold

One barrier to bentos for a lot of people might be the whole idea of eating cooked food that’s cold, or at room temperature. The basic bento in Japan is meant to be eaten at room temperature, and is still very tasty (insulated/keep-hot bento containers are not that widespread in use, despite the efforts of manufacturers). Aside from some food that’s designated otherwise, we are geared to thinking that food that’s cooked should be hot. It’s true that food that’s meant to be eaten hot can taste blah when cold. There are some tricks to use when making food that you intend to eat in a non-heated bento though. continue reading...

Bento no. 13: Mixed-noodle pasta with pepper confit and wiener flowers

bento_13_450.jpg

(click on image for a larger view)

Bento contents:

  • Mixed capellini (angel hair) and shirataki noodles, about 1 cup cappellini cooked + 1/2 cup shirataki (220 calories)
  • Sweet pepper and onion confit, about 1 cup (120 calories)
  • 1 1/2 wiener sausages (200 calories)
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste (25 calories)
  • Broccoli florets (negligible)

Total calories (approx.): 565 calories (how calories are calculated)

Type: Japanese, novelty continue reading...

Bento decoration: Gerbera-like wiener flowers

flowerw_finished.jpg

(See the Bento Decoration master page for my general thinking on decorations.)

Japanese people love wiener sausages. They appear quite often in home cooking recipes. Wieners are the Play Doh of the bento making world since they are colorful and easy to manipulate.

I don’t like to use wieners their relatives very often, though living in a Germanic area of Europe we can get pretty good ones that aren’t dyed a bright pink and actually contain real meat. But once in a while they do appear in my bentos. continue reading...

Bento decoration techniques

This is the master page for the Bento Decoration Techiques section. While decorative techniques can be time consuming, they can make your bento box a lot more fun to open. continue reading...

Sweet pepper and onion confit

pepper_onion_confit.jpg

This colorful, healthy yet tasty all-vegetable mixture is a great refrigerator staple for using in your bentos, and is very adaptable. Depending on the flavors you can add later, it can taste Italian, Japanese, Chinese, or whatever suits your needs.

It’s a mixture of thinly siiced onions, sweet peppers and a little garlic, sautéed over a fairly low heat until it’s quite limp. It’s only seasoned with salt, so that it’s fairly neutral. You can then turn it more Mediterranean by adding some basil and oregano for example, or Japanese by adding soy sauce, or add some oyster sauce. continue reading...

And while we're at it...what are your favorite bento staples?

instant tsukemono mixI mentioned a few bento-oriented staples to keep around in my previous post about maintaining variety in your bentos. I’ve just done a quick look around my kitchen, and here are the things I have stocked as staples that I bought or made with future bentos in mind, besides the things I’ve mentioned already.

continue reading...

Getting started with bento making: Variety and saving money

A main reason many people like to, or want to, make bento lunches is for more variety, to save money, and to have some fun too. In my mind these aspects are quite interconnected.

There are three sources for filling your bento box. One is food that you make specifically for it, usually in the morning or perhaps the night before. The second is leftovers from other meals. The third is with stock or staple items (aka johbisai). The key to keeping a good variety in your bento meals is to use all three sources in in a smart way. continue reading...