Bento no. 2: Chicken and vegetable donburi-style bento


Bento Contents:

  • Brown rice (1 cup, 220 calories)
  • Chicken and vegetable stir-fry (250 calories)
  • Glazed baby carrots (50 calories)

Total calories (approx.): 520 calories (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes

Type: Japanese

A donburi is a bowl of rice with various savory toppings. This bento is donburi-style, since all the savory things are piled on top of a bed of rice. All the juices in the chicken and vegetables run down into the rice, so by lunchtime it’s all very tasty. You may want to bring along a spoon as well as chopsticks or a fork to eat this.

There are only just 2 elements to this bento besides the rice, so it only takes 15 minutes if you can prep the vegetables the night before. As usual, the rice is pre-cooked in a timer-set rice cooker or frozen.Allow 20 if you need to do it in the morning. Vary the vegetables in the stir fry according to what you have on hand.

I saw these tiny organic carrots at the market and I couldn’t resist them. I got the idea for the spicy glazing from a Michelin-starred restaurant, but it’s quick and easy nevertheless.

To make this bento vegan, substitute a vegetarian protein for the chicken.


Per person

For the chicken and vegetable stir fry:

  • Approx. 3 oz / 100 g piece of chicken breast
  • Green onions
  • Piece of fresh ginger
  • Variety of vegetables - here I have used red peppers, bean sprouts, Chinese broccoli
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the carrots:

  • 1 tsp. butter or oil such as canola
  • 5 baby carrots, organic or peeled (the kind that comes in plastic bags)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. falafel spice mix (or use a garam masala instead)
  • A dash of red pepper flakes
  • A dash of soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 cup pre-cooked rice, brown or white


  • 2 small frying pans
  • Electric water kettle


  1. Pack the rice in the bento box, covering the bottom of the box instead of pushed to the side as usual. Leave the lid open to let the rice cool.
  2. Fill the water kettle and switch on.
  3. Heat up the frying pans while you prep the vegetables.
  4. If you haven’t done so, wash and cut up the vegetables. Chop up the ginger, and cut the rest into slices or bite size pieces.
  5. Put the carrots in one pan and cover with water, adding a little salt to the water. Let boil until tender.
  6. In the other pan, put in the sesame seed oil and add the ginger and green onions. Add the peppers, broccoli and other vegetables that take longer to cook. Add the bean sprouts last.
  7. When the carrots are tender, drain them off and return to the pan. Add the butter or the oil, sugar, soy sauce and spices. Toss around to coat.
  8. Cut up the chicken.
  9. Add the chicken to the stir-fry and cook through. Season with soy sauce and if necessary, salt and pepper. (don’t over-salt!)
  10. Pile the stir fry on top of the rice. Arrange the carrots on top.
  11. Let cool a few minutes and then pack up the box.


The timeline illustrates how to proceed within the 20 minutes. (Click on the image for a larger version.)


As you can see, if you can prep the vegetables and the chicken in advance, you can shave off some minutes.

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I love the timeline! So wish I could find the discipline and calm to do this in the mornings.

// Manne

WOW!!! I’m really excited

WOW!!! I’m really excited to follow you bento adventures. I have been a big fan of your other site and am looking forward to seeing your new site develop. I do my best to pull together bento lunches during the week and this will be some great inspiration.


Just joined, and have a question about Onigiri which I just finished making from your recipe and instructions…do I eat this cold or warm and if i eat it either way, do i use a dip….since i did not read in full detail, i forgot the water to wet the wrap and the salt…. will u be putting up a “contact me”?


blondee, if you have salted the onigiri you shouldn’t need any dipping sauce. (If you didn’t salt it it would be rather plain…so maybe sprinkle some salt on? Onigiri, unlike sushi, is usually not dipped in any sauce) You can eat it warm or at room temperature/cold (not refrigerated, because when rice is too cold it becomes hard.)

Horray for Bento!

Hey Maki! Love the new site! This gives me a lot of new ideas since I love making my own cute bento. I really like your timeline charts since timing things out is the hardest part for me. I look forward to reading more!

This is probably a really

This is probably a really silly question but what is the proper way to eat donburi? Do you leave the bowl on the table and eat from the bowl or is it acceptable to pick up the bowl with your hand and eat it as you would a regular bowl of rice? Thanks .. :3!

hmm, I’ve never thought

hmm, I’ve never thought deeply about it, but now that I have, I believe most people eat some of the topping first, either holding the bowl or with the bowl on the table, and then once things get mixed up and soupy, they pick up the bowl to scoop out the rice and things. I guess the only rather rude way to eat it is to bring the bowl to your mouth and shovel in. :)

Navigating the Bentos!

Hi Maki,

This is a GREAT site, thank you so much for the wonderful recipes, detailed instructions and mouth-watering pictures!

I’m trying to be methodical here and am working on a shopping list for the first week’s bentos, starting from Bento #1. It would be great if there there was a next and back button that would lead to the next/last bento in numerical order. As it is, I write down the 1st Bento ingredients and then have to click on the 1-30 Bento links again and then scroll down to the bottom for the next bento. Of course, I could work my way down the list, couldn’t I? Hee. Or perhaps I’m missing a shortcut somewhere?

Thanks a million for this valuable site!


Ogaki City, Gifu, Japan

Solution found!


I found the solution to my problem above in my very own browser back button. Duh! Takes me right back to the 1-30 menu page just about where I left off! :-D

Still lovin’ the site!


Re: Bento no. 2: Chicken and vegetable donburi-style bento

Hi Maki, I love your site, and I cant wait to start trying your lovely looking bento.
I want to make tbis bento, but notice the image is broken? Would you mind helping me out with that? thanks for your inspirational food.

Nagasaki shi

Re: Bento no. 2: Chicken and vegetable donburi-style bento

I agree with Becki. I can't wait to try this bento out, but the image is broken so it's a bit harder to know what the final outcome should look like! Can you fix it, please? ^^

broken image

Hmm, no idea why that happened, but it's fixed now!

Re: Bento no. 2: Chicken and vegetable donburi-style bento

I have started going through the bentos for my lunch every day in order, and I must say that, although I am only on day 2, I LOVE this one. The carrots were amazing and I love the Donburi style already. I am really excited to keep doing this :) Thank you for the wonderful site, Maki!

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