japanese

Lower-calorie higher fibre inarizushi with hijiki

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Inarizushi are excellent for bento, but they can be a bit high in calories since they are stuffed with sushi rice. The original version with a 100% rice filling has about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rice per bag, which makes each inarizushi about 110 to 130 calories. On the other hand these inarizushi are about 80 to 100 calories per piece. The secret is in the filling. continue reading...

Bento no. 42: Easygoing shrimp bento

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Total calories (approx): 420 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed in the morning: 10-15 minutes

Type: Japanese continue reading...

Bento no. 41: Cold soba bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 390 (how calories are calculated)

Type: Japanese, noodles continue reading...

Quick tip: Cubed bento rice

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‘Cut’ your packed rice into cubes for function and looks! continue reading...

Bento no. 39: The basics of how to fill a classic bento box

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Bento contents, 2-tier bento (580ml capacity):

  • 1 cup (1 cup=220ml) white rice, 240 cal
  • 1 small piece salted salmon, 50 cal
  • 1-egg tamagoyaki, 100 cal
  • Approx. 1/2 cup sweet pepper and onion confit, 40 calories
  • Blanched broccoli flowerets, 10 cal
  • Blanched snow peas (mangetout) 5 cal
  • Yukari (furikake made from umeboshi and red shiso leaves)

Total calories (approx): 445 (how calories are calculated)

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Bento contents, 1-tier bento (670ml capacity):

  • 1 cup (1 cup=220ml) white rice, 240 cal
  • 2 small pieces salted salmon, 100 cal
  • 1-egg tamagoyaki, 100 cal
  • Approx. 3/4 cup sweet pepper and onion confit, 60 calories
  • Blanched broccoli flowerets, 10 cal
  • Blanched snow peas (mangetout) 5 cal
  • Yukari (furikake made from umeboshi and red shiso leaves)

Total calories (approx): 515 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed for both: 10-20 minutes in the morning (depending on your assembly speed and neatness factor)

Type: Japanese, omnivore (salmon, egg)

This is a fairly standard, classic Japanese style bento. I make this type of bento far more than any other. I’ve already given instructions on how to make the individual pieces, but I thought it might be useful to see step-by-step how to pack a bento box properly, with an eye to the following:

  • Presentation and attractiveness
  • Calorie content
  • Speed and ease

I’ve used two standard type bento boxes; a 2-tier model, and a 1-tier model with a divider. continue reading...

1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

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Tamagoyaki, the slightly sweet rolled Japanese omelette, is a standby protein item for bentos. It tastes great at room temperature, is fairly easy to make (once you’ve done it a few times), and is cheap too. Plus the cheery yellow color brightens up any bento box.

There is one drawback with tamagoyaki: unless you have a tiny tamagoyaki pan (which is a single-purpose piece of kitchen equipment, something I try to avoid stocking in my not-so-large kitchen), you need to make it with a least 2, preferably 3 or more, eggs, to produce the distinctive multilayers of egg. This is fine if you’re making bentos for two or more people, but when you’re making bento for one you may not necessarily want to eat 2 eggs at a time. And tamagoyaki held in the fridge for more than a day never tastes as nice.

This method of making a 1-egg tamagoyaki in a normal small frying pan was in a recent issue of Kyou no ryouri (Today’s Cooking), my favorite Japanese food magazine. I’ve tried it out a few times now, and I’m totally sold on it. It does make a slightly flatter tamagoyaki than a multi-egg one, but it still has those nice layers.

Here’s how to make it step by step. continue reading...

Making onigiri with a plastic bag

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Reader Samantha sent in a great way to make onigiri that cleverly uses the corner of a plastic bag, to make these perfectly triangular or cone-shaped rice balls. continue reading...