chicken

Bento no. 76: Chicken and pepper rice cooker bento

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Bento contents:

  • Chicken with peppers and sesame oil, 240 calories
  • Broccoli with wasabi sauce, using stevia as the sweetener instead of sugar and halving the sake, 20 calories
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) rice , 120 calories

Total calories (approx): 380 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 to 10 minutes prep time, plus 20-30 minutes of cooking time

Type: Japanese, made in a rice cooker continue reading...

Torihamu or Homemade Chicken "Ham"

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Torihamu (鶏ハム)or chicken ham is a recipe that was born and made popular on the internet. It was first popularized around 2001 or 2002, on an extremely popular and often wild and woolly Japanese community/forum site called 2ch or 2-channel (2ちゃんねる), sometime in 2001 or 2002.

Torihamu is a method of cooking chicken breast meat so that it supposedly resembles ham. Nowadays torihamu has entered the mainstream of Japanese culture; there are many recipes for it in regular cookbooks, and the (very mainstream) Cookpad community cooking site has (as of April 2013) nearly 1250 recipes for making torihamu or where torihamu is a main feature

I didn't try making torihamu for a long time, since I was skeptical that it would actually manage to turn low-fat, bland and often dry chicken breast meat into something ham-like. But I've been experimenting with different methods proposed on the Japanese internets, and am now convinced that it's well worthwhile making, especially for bento lovers. It is low in fat, has no chemical preservatives, and really lengthens the refrigerator shelf life of chicken. There's not much difference time and effort wise between making one or several, so it's really best to make a batch and freeze the extras. I make some when there is a sale on chicken breasts. continue reading...

Bento no. 68: Picnic bento with chicken lollipops and gift-wrapped onigiri

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Bento contents:

  • 3 Karaage Chicken Lollipops, each about 40g of dark chicken meat, 180 cal
  • 2 onigiri with mixed in furikake, containing about 1 1/2 cups total white rice, 360 cal
  • Boiled asparagus, 10 cal
  • Cherries, 30 cal

Total calories (approx): 580 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10 minutes the night before; 15 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese picnic continue reading...

How to make chicken lollipops

Chicken lollipops

It’s now the height of summer (at least here in the Northern hemisphere), which means outdoor bentos and picnics! Chicken wings are great finger food, but you can make them even more convenient, not to mention cute, by turning them into chicken lollipops, also known as cherrystone chicken or chicken cherries. Back in the day I used to hang around a chef who used to work in a hotel restaurant in the ’80s, where he had to turn out hundreds of these little things for banquets. He could whip them out by the dozens in mere minutes, but I take a little longer. They are a bit fiddly, but not hard to do. continue reading...

Travelling the world from your kitchen with bentos

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This is a guest post by Iliana (aka Mosaica), who blogs about her daily life at The Daily Mosaica.

In life I often find myself embracing contradictions, and with regard to planning and preparing bento lunches, it appears that I am, at least, consistent. At times I am purely focused on taking a given recipe, often a Japanese recipe, and rendering it as authentically as possible given the constraints of my semi-rural existence in Vermont, a small state in the northeast of the US.  For instance the bento from last week where I made inarizushi — this meal nourished me on a number of levels: it was completely delicious,  it tied into a fascinating bit of cultural history, and it expanded my culinary repertoire. While I do miss the days when I was more of a globe-trotter, I’ve come to really appreciate how traveling via recipes from far, far away can give real pleasure —to my nose and eyes and tastebuds, as well as to my intellectual bits.

On the other hand, I’m also a bit of a fiesty girl, and I like to kick up my heels, as it were, in the kitchen, and for me this manifests itself as a willingness to play with food, to be led by my nose, or intuition, or a gut feeling that mixing this with that might just be yummy. That’s what this post is about: Taking ingredients which are traditional in Japanese cuisine and dressing them up in flavors from around the globe: Tibet, Denmark, Africa, India, and beyond. In addition, if you start from a perspective of your own preferred ratio of carb to protein to veggies and fruit, I encourage you to include entirely new ingredients to add fresh flavor and interest to your bento meal. During the five weeks of the Bento Challenge, I was inspired to see how many of us were using foods and flavors from our own backyards to create delicious new twists on the bento theme. continue reading...

Bento no. 63: Chicken Skewer Back To Basics Bento

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Bento Contents:

  • 2 marinated chicken skewers using 60g / about 2 oz. chicken breast, 120 cal
  • About 1 cup/ 240ml zakkokumai (mixed-grain rice), 220 cal
  • One half of a large sweet bell pepper, sautéed, 50 cal
  • Asparagus spear tips, 10 cal

Total calories (approx): 400 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Simple ‘back to basics’ bento continue reading...

Very Easy Marinated Chicken Skewers

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The chicken recipes here on Just Bento are always very popular. And why not? Chicken is relatively inexpensive, cooks fast, and is fairly low-fat if you trim it judiciously.

This very simple Asian-fusionesque flavored marinated chicken breast recipe can be made without the skewers, but it’s just that much more fun, and somehow seems to taste better, if you put it on a stick. continue reading...

Bento no. 61: Chicken Wing Spread For the Bento Non-Believer

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Bento Contents:

  • 6 oven baked chicken wings sections (recipe below), 320 calories
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and cheese dipping sauce (recipe below), 140 calories
  • Oven baked sweet potato chips from 1 medium sweet potato, 200 calories
  • Carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli, 40 calories

Total calories (approx): 690 (how calories are calculated) Note this is a ‘large’ portion.

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning

Type: Chicken, for the bento novice

This is presented as an idea for a bento that doesn’t look like a bento, for people with hearty appetites who can’t get their heads around the smallness of a bento box and how it could possibly ‘be enough’. It’s supposed to ressemble a buffalo chicken wing meal, but has cut down on the fat and calories of a real buffalo chicken spread considerably. continue reading...