Total calories (approx): 380-400 (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 25 minutes total (10 the night before, 15 in the morning)
In the winter months there is a limited selection of fresh vegetables available at a reasonable price. So I rely more on frozen, canned and dried vegetable staples. This bento uses two of them. One is frozen edamame, which you are probably familiar with already. The other is kiriboshi daikon, shredded and dried daikon radish, which I’ve described in detail here. It should be available at Japanese grocery stores - some health food stores may carry it too. It needs a brief soaking in water to reconstitute, and the soaking liquid is used sometimes by vegan people as a stock - it has a distinctive flavor.
The other key ingredient in the fritters is gram or chickpea flour, which is available at Indian or South Asian groceries. It’s a great staple, especially for vegans, since it’s packed with protein. And, it’s gluten-free for those with a gluten intolerence. I’ve used them previously in this zucchini and chickpea pancakes. These kiriboshi daikon fritters are smaller and crispier than the zucchini pancakes, and are delicious at room temperature.
The fritter batter is ideally made the night before and left to rest in the fridge, where the gram flour can soak up the liquid and become smooth.
This is accompanied by boiled edamame and a simple carrot and lemon oil-free salad. The raw cabbage leaf that’s used as a divider and liner for the fritters is not meant to be eaten, though you can of course if you want to. A dipping sauce is optional - here I’ve made a simple soy sauce and vinegar sauce, but you could also use sweet chili sauce (even the packets that are left over from a Chinese takeout) as reader Ylimuuli suggested for the zucchini pancakes.
There’s so much fiber in this bento that it’s very filling.
For the fritters:
This makes enough for 2 portions. Extra ones can be frozen, or just have them for dinner!
For the sauce (per person):
For the carrot salad (per person):
Pinch of sugar
About 1/2 cup (or more if you’re hungry) frozen edamame in pods
You can shred up the carrots and mix up the sauce the night before if you like too.
You could actually do everything the night before, but the fritters are better and crispier if you fry them in the morning.
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