Popular types of homemade bento, with example sites and books

As I touched upon briefly in Bento Basics, there are different kinds of bento box meals, and this site is primarily concerned with bento lunch boxes. Even these come in different varieties.

There are three main types of homemade bento lunches that are popular in Japan at the moment. Here I’ll try to describe them, with example blogs and books from Japan. continue reading...

Homemade furikake no. 1: Radish leaves, bonito flakes and tiny shrimp

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If you’ve been exploring the aisles of a Japanese grocery store or looking at bento recipes, you’ve probably encountered furikake already. Commercial furikake usually comes in small foil packets or glass jars, in all kinds of salty flavors. Furikake is a dry or semi-dry condiment that is sprinkled on, or mixed into, rice. David Rosengarten, ex-Food Network host and gourmet food expert, declares it to be a miracle in a jar. continue reading...

Prepping for the upcoming week's bento making on the weekend

jug of soaking kombu During the week I often get so rushed and busy with everyday life that I barely have time to stop and think about anything, including making bento lunches. So I try to do a little prepping over the weekend, when I have some extra time. I’m not really talking about spending hours in the kitchen, but easy things that can be done either in a few minutes, or unattended while I do the laundry or just take a long nap. continue reading...

Site news: Cross site search

A little site news: I’ve added a new search function to the site that will search both Just Hungry and Just Bento for your convenience. It’s using Google Custom Search, which is a very easy way of setting up multi-site searches. continue reading...

Bento no. 4: Portable, disposable picnic bento

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Bento contents:

  • 4 shiso onigiri with 1 1/2 cups brown rice (330 calories)
  • 2 ‘large’ hard boiled eggs (160 calories)
  • Mixed steamed vegetables (about 40 calories)

Total calories (approx): 530 calories

Time needed: 15-20 minutes

Type: Japanese picnic/hiking bento continue reading...

Why make a bento lunch if you work at home?

Like a lot of web-monkey types who sit in front of their computers all day, I work from home at least several days a week. But I still make a bento lunch in the morning for myself whenever I can. Why bother? you might ask. There are lots of good reasons for it, but here are my top five. continue reading...

Bento no. 3: Spicy Korean-flavor noodles under 300 calories, for the 'day after'

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(click image to see larger version)

Bento contents:

  • Shirataki noodles, 1/2 to 1 pack (5-10 calories or so!)
  • Firm tofu, 1/2 block (about 90-100g) (100 calories)
  • Kochujang (Korean red bean paste) based marinade (10 calories)
  • Vegetables of your choice - green onions, garlic chives, ginger, garlic, peppers, cabbage, spinach, etc, with sesame oil (150 calories approx.)
  • A small apple (50 calories)

Total calories (approx.) for the noodles only: 270 calories; including the apple: 320 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 20 minutes

Type: Asian-fusion with mainly Korean flavors continue reading...

Onigiri On Parade: A guide to onigiri (omusubi) rice ball shapes, types and fun

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Onigiri (or omusubi, the other name for the same thing), the cute little rice ball, has really become popular outside of Japan in the last few years, in large part it seems due to its iconic status in anime and manga. While the onigiri is not limited in Japanese food culture to just bento use, it’s an indispensable part of the bento maker’s repertoire.

Previously on Just Hungry, I’ve explained how to make onigiri twice: the traditional, hot salty palms way, and an easier method using plastic wrap and a cup. And you can always use a plastic onigiri mold if neither method appeals. However, I have never really gone into depth about the different shapes and kinds of onigiri. So, here it is - a parade of different kinds of onigiri: shapes, coverings, fillings, and more. continue reading...