Bento no. 12: 5 minute salmon bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 small piece of shiozake or salted salmon (about 150 cal)
  • 1 cup brown rice (220 cal)
  • A few bibb lettuce leaves (3 cal)
  • Konnyaku no tosani, salty-sweet konnyaku with bonito flakes (about 30 cal)
  • Homemade ‘instant’ miso soup ball (see how-to) (about 30 cal)

Total calories (approx): 435 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 to 10 minutes

Type: Japanese continue reading...

Make your own instant miso soup balls

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In some respects I’m a typical Japanese person, since to me there’s nothing as soul-satisfying as a hot bowl of miso soup. At home we have miso soup at least a couple of times a week (see my week of miso soup series for some ideas.) Miso soup with a bento lunch is great too, especially at this time of year when you feel a bit chilly inside even if the roo is heated.

There are many kinds of convenient instant miso soup packs out there. I like to make my own ‘instant’ miso soup balls though. They are dead easy to make. All you need to do is combine about 1 to 2 teaspoonsful (for an average size miso soup bowl) with whatever ingredients you have on hand. All you need is a source of boiling water at lunchtime, which most offices have. Put the miso ball and ingredients in the bowl (or you can use a mug), add hot water, and let it sit for a few minutes while the ingredients expand and flavors amalgamate. This technique is often recommended in Japanese bento books with a healthy or macrobiotic focus, since instant miso soup mixes are often loaded with preservatives and MSG and so on. continue reading...

Bento box of the week: Magewappa bento box from northern Japan

magewappa1.jpgMagewappa means bent woodware; it’s a traditional hand craft of Odate, which is located in Akita Prefecture in northern Japan. Straight grained pieces of Akita cedar are bent in circular shapes to form the sides of containers. The bent wood is then fastened with a contrasting dark bark or wood strips.

There’s been a resurgence in the popularity of magewappa ware, so it’s made around the country, but this box comes from Akita, where I think the craftsmanship is still the best.

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Homemade furikake no. 4: Spicy curry peanut

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Warning: This furikake is very dangerous. It is so more-ish that you might find yourself putting spoonfuls of it directly in your mouth. To prevent this, I recommend making it a tad spicier than you might be comfortable with eating it on its own, so it will not disappear before you can use it on your rice. The spicy-salty-sweet taste, coupled with the interesting textures of the peanuts and the seeds, is quite hard to resist.

It’s the least Japanese-tasting furikake so far perhaps, but it fits plain white or brown rice very well. It is not exactly low-calorie, but a tablespoon or so goes quite a long way to spice up things. continue reading...

Bento box shopping news

A quick bit of shopping news for UK and European bento fans: it looks like Japan Centre, who recently teamed up with Japanese “100-yen shop” giant Daiso, is slowly starting to carry more Daiso lunch bento boxes and supplies. See the current list of offerings here. Maybe if they prove popular they’ll carry more bento supplies! continue reading...

Important edit to the Menu For Hope prize listing

I should never try to post blogs at 3 AM, because I omitted an important detail for the Menu For Hope prize description (which I’ve edited now). Any bento box featured up until the December 21st deadline as Bento Of The Week can be selected as your prize, even if the retail price goes over the limit. So if you fell in love with that gorgeous handcarved box that was featured last week, you can enter for a chance to win it! continue reading...

Menu For Hope IV: Donate for a chance to win a bento maker's dream package

Just Bento is happy to announce that we’re donating a prize for Menu For Hope, now in its 4th year. Menu for Hope is an annual charity event contributed to by food bloggers around the world. It was instigated by Pim of Chez Pim, and this year’s regional European host is Fanny of foodbeam.

Menu For Hope IV will benefit the United Nations World Food Programme; this year’s donations have been earmarked for the school lunch programme in Lesotho, Africa.

We’re calling our prize: The Bento Maker’s Dream Package! continue reading...

About rice cookers

A heads up just in case you read Just Bento but not Just Hungry, you may be interested in the new post up there, Answering some rice cooker questions.