Total calories (approx): 450 cal (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 5-10 minutes
Type: Japanese, vegan
Sometimes you haven’t prepared anything the night before, and you have little time to make a bento in the morning. What to do? Improvise!
This bento is done and packed in under 10 minutes. You do need pre-made frozen rice, and some homemade or storebought pickled vegetables. And some sort of protein - here I’ve used my favorite again, fried tofu (atsuage). Basically the pickled vegetables are chopped up and mixed into the rice, the whole is optionally seasoned with a little sushi vinegar, and then topped with dry-fried crispy fried tofu. It’s filling and delicious even if it’s so quick to make.
For the pickled vegetables I used some last bits of homemade spicy Chinese cabbage pickles and a couple of slices of cucumber from a storebought pickle pack. You can find all kinds of pickled vegetables at a Japanese grocery store, in the refrigerated and packaged food sections. It’s fun to have an assortment on hand. The key to this pickles-and-rice is to choose pickles that are not too salty, or the rice will be too salty. (This is easier to control if you make your own pickles. See the Instant Tsukemono series on Just Hungry.) If you don’t have any pickles, this method works with leftover cooked and chopped up vegetables too, provided they are still crispy and not mushy.
The fried tofu is stir-fried in a dry pan (no oil added) to give it a crispy texture. I did burn it a bit here, but I do like it rather charred. You may want to stop at the dark-brown crispy stage. I like to cut it into chunky chunks rather than small delicate pieces, because it gives me a feeling that I’ve Eaten.
Here’s the same bento from above to show the whole thing:
A very simple timeline! Challenge yourself and see how fast you can assemble this.
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