japanese

Bento no. 46: Stewed chicken dumpling bento

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Bento contents:

  • Approx. 1 cup of white rice, 200 cal, with a little furikake on top
  • Stewed chicken dumplings and carrot using about 90g of dark skinless chicken meat, 120 cal
  • Blanched green beans, 30 cal
  • 2 cherry tomatoes, 5 cal (if that)

Total calories (approx): 355 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5-10 minutes in the morning, just to pack everything in the bento box

Type: Japanese, chicken! continue reading...

Miso chicken (tori misoyaki)

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The last recipe in my chicken mini-marathon is this so-simple yet tasty miso marinated and pan-fried or grilled chicken. I’ve again used chicken thighs, but this works well with breast meat as well as other meats such as pork and beef, and fish too. Sweet-salty miso marinades like this are quite standard in Japanese cooking. (See New Potatoes with Sweet-Spicy Miso, over on Just Hungry.) continue reading...

Balsamic Sesame Chicken

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Continuing the chicken theme, here is another very simple recipe using boneless chicken thighs. This time I have used skinless meat. The thighs are cut into pieces, marinated in balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, and coated with sesame seeds. The balsamic vinegar adds tang and a little sweetness. They are then simply pan=fried in a non-stick frying pan that is barely coated with oil. I’ve used both black and white sesame seeds for a little added color, but you could use all-white (light brown) sesame seeds. (Using all black seeds might make them look carbonized!) continue reading...

Two kinds of chicken tsukune: Stewed dumplings and panfried mini-burgers

More chicken recipes! Tsukune is a term that means “kneaded and shaped into a round shape”. It usually means a dish made with finely ground and flavored chicken or fish. Chicken tsukune are very well suited to bentos, since they are soft and stay nice and moist. They are also gluten-free (no breadcrumbs!), if you take care to use a gluten-free cornstarch or potato starch and soy sauce.

Today I’ll show you how to make two type of chicken tsukune from the same basic recipe. First, the very traditional stewed tsukune dumplings, cooked in a broth with carrots (tsukune-ni).

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And here are some pan-fried tsukune, or tsukune baagaa (tsukune burgers) - actually mini-burgers to fit neatly into a bento box.

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Bento no. 45: Chicken nuggets and peppers

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 410 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese, chicken! continue reading...

Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

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Greenhouse grown peppers are available year round, but summer is when peppers are really in season. I picked up a bushel load of colorful hot and sweet peppers at a market last week, and some of them turned into this item which is great for bento.

It couldn’t be easier to make, but does take a little time. A mixture of mildly hot chili peppers and sweet peppers are briefly stir fried in sesame oil, then simmered for about half an hour or more. The peppers are falling-apart soft, spicy, sweet and salty. It’s great to tuck into the corner of a bento box, and, well drained of the cooking liquid, also makes a great and unusual filling for onigiri (rice balls).

My grandmother used to make this kind of ‘cooked to death’ or until very limp (kuta-kuta ni) vegetable dish quite a bit. It’s a great way to reduce a big pile of vegetables to a manageable eating amount. This method works well with green beans too. I think it’s rather similar to the way some vegetables such as greens are cooked for a long time in American Southern cooking. I’m no nutrionist, but you do eat all of the ‘cooking liquor’ alongside the vegetables, so nutrition loss may not be so bad, though raw-food advocates may shudder.

The key here is the selection of peppers. The spicy chili pepppers should only be mildly spicy. In Japan you would use shishito peppers. Here I used a variety from Italy that I’m not sure of the variety name of, but it is similarly thin-walled and mild enough not to burn my mouth. Jalapeños or anchos might be good choices too. For the sweet peppers, I used the long red peppers that are called banana peppers, Hungarian peppers or paprikas, depending on who is selling them and where. continue reading...

Bento no. 44: Pre-made inarizushi and bean sprout stir fry (vegan)

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 360 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5-10 minutes in the morning Type: Japanese, vegan continue reading...

Glazed Triple-Soy Loaf

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I am always on the lookout for vegan/vegetarian protein recipes that are bento friendly, and this flat oven baked loaf is another one. It's called triple-soy because it has tofu, edamame and miso in it. It has a very dense, rich texture with a sweet-salty glaze. One or two small squares are quite enough for a bento. It may fall apart a bit during transport, but that doesn't affect the texture or flavor. If you can, put it in its own compartment in your bento. continue reading...