japanese

Stuffed Pan Fried Hanpen, 'foxy' light fish cakes

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A light stuffed fish cake recipe that’s really good in bentos. continue reading...

Updated inarizushi recipe on Just Hungry

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In case you don’t follow Just Hungry (though, if you want to know about basic Japanese cooking techniques you really should :)) I’ve substantially updated the inarizushi recipe that I originally posted more than 4 years ago. The new article describes in detail how to make your own inarizushi skins, which, if you can get a hold of the aburaage (fried tofu skins), is not hard at all. The technique is useful for people who have had trouble with the infamous Eggs in Treasure Bags recipe!

Bento no. 64: Miso marinated pork, plus using up leftover bits from decorating bentos

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Bento Contents:

  • 1 cup/220ml brown rice, 240 calories
  • About 100g / 3.5 oz Miso marinated pork made with lean pork, 160 calories
  • 1-egg tamagoyaki with nori, 110 calories
  • Spring greens namuru made with a mixture of baby spinach and arugula (rucola, rocket) leaves, 50 cal
  • Carrot and zucchini flowers (plus the leftover bits), 10 calories

Total calories (approx): 550 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese, decorative

This bento shows a couple of ways of using up those awkward leftover cut-off bits of nori, vegetable and so on that you end up with whenever you make decorative cut-outs for your bentos. continue reading...

Miso Marinated Pork (butaniku no misozuke)

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Something for the omnivores! Pork is the most popular meat in Japanese cooking, but so far I haven’t posted any (non-bacon) pork recipes on Just Bento, though I do have a couple over on Just Hungry that are bento-friendly, such as tonkatsu (breaded and fried pork cutlets). This classic sweet-salty, intensely flavored miso marinated pork is really well suited to bentos. It is similar to miso chicken, but a bit more complex in flavor. continue reading...

Shrimp Tatsutaage: Japanese Crispy Fried Shrimp

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These light and crispy shrimp are fairly low in calories, even though they are fried. You only need about 1 cm / 1/2 an inch of oil to fry these in a regular frying pan, so don’t be afraid to try them even if you don’t do much deep-frying. They are very easy to make with frozen shrimp, and just a bit more work with fresh shrimp. continue reading...

Vegan Mochi Tofu Nuggets

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I was inspired to make these little nuggets of vegan goodness by a recipe for mochi chicken that was posted in the forums by member SojoMojo. He says that mochi chicken is a common dish in Hawaii; he grew up eating them and now loves to use them in his bentos. (As I learn more about Hawaiian cuisine, I realize that it departs from Japanese cuisine in many interesting ways, even if many of its roots are in Japan.) The mochi flour, cornstarch and egg batter produces a coating that is hard and crispy on the outside, and soft and mochi-like on the inside. Chicken lovers should try his recipe for sure!

For this vegan variation, I’ve used kouya dofu, or free-dried tofu. See an indepth description of kouya dofu. You can find it in the dried goods section of a Japanese grocery store, and it should be pretty inexpensive. It keeps indefinitely in the pantry, making it a great item to stock. If you can’t get hold of kouya dofu, see the notes below about how to use regular tofu you’ve frozen yourself. I’ve also eliminated the egg from the coating, but the flavor-filled liquid in the pre-cooked tofu still produces a nice soft mochi-like interior.

As with all the vegan-protein recipes I post here, this tastes delicious to omnivores like myself too. As a matter of fact, when I packed a bento recently for the self-professed “bovo-vegetarian” in the house recently with these nuggets together with something meaty, he said he preferred these a lot more! continue reading...

Miso Tamago (Miso Marinated Eggs)

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Joining the list of delicious things to do with the humble hardboiled egg alongside soy sauce eggs and lazy easy tea eggs, are these delicately beige, utterly delicious eggs marinated in miso. They don’t have the burnished brown color of soy sauce eggs, but are just as, if not more, delicious. And they get tastier the longer you let them marinate.

They are very easy to make, if a bit messy. They last in the refrigerator for up to a week, so are a nice staple to have and eat over the course of a few days.

Good miso is expensive, so this recipe uses as little miso as possible while still doing the job. continue reading...

Bento no. 59: Vegan Fried Rice Bento, Somewhat Macrobiotic

Bento contents:

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

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Vegan, Japanese, rather macrobiotic continue reading...