Make Ahead Bento Ideas?

menkoiii
Bento-ing from: Tokyo (Fuchu) › Japan
Joined: 1 Feb 2011
User offline. Last seen 1 year 30 weeks ago.

Hi Maki,

I want to make a few bentos ahead of time to put in the fridge (to be consumed within 2-3 days). Do you have any ideas as to what would keep decently? I'm visiting my boyfriend who is a workaholic and eats terribly (or not at all!), so I'd like to make him a few bentos to take to work after I leave. He's Japanese and has very Japanese tastes as far as bentos go :) I'm visiting him here in Tokyo so it's easy to find everything. He especially loves shiitake and tsukemono but will basically eat anything. I made the shiitake takikomi gohan and kabocha from your book today for his bento and he said 'yatta' lol. Your book is the best gift he ever bought me for himself! I've made some tsukemono (from your book and off the net) and other things like kinpira and left them ahead of time, but would like to assemble as much as I can to make sure it gets eaten right (so...no assembly on his part required!), so it's not just rice and tsukemono thrown together for lunch, like happened last time!

Also, this is a side question - I was looking at the five ingredient rice with chicken (it's p.40 of Just Bento) and was wondering, do you cook the chicken first before putting it all together in a rice cooker? And if not...is that safe to put in the rice cooker with a timer the night before?

Thanks, I love you and your book so much! Ever since getting your book bentos are kind of becoming my hobby! I make them for everyone! <3

Jennifer

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 9 weeks ago.
Re: Make Ahead Bento Ideas?

Hello menkoiii

My husband is Japanese and he used to be my boyfriend who I would also visit in Tokyo. I can relate to your experience!

Even the most confirmed Japanese bachelors will be able to make rice for themselves on a daily basis. I can only assume he has a rice making machine and knows how to use it as well as a basic understanding of food safety (cooked rice can be dangerous if not kept in the right conditions - this is not a food you want to keep for 2 to 3 days).

As such, you probably only need to think about making a few items to keep in the fridge that he can add to rice to make a quick bento.
Since this sort of food is so easily available in Tokyo what you might want to aim for are a selection of side dishes with a home cooked taste.
As well as some of those 'instant pickles' or tsukemono - vinegary ones are supposed to be good at helping combat heat exhaustion. (On Sunday I made this recipe http://www.justbento.com/handbook/johbisai/sweet-sour-and-salty-instant-... from some radishes. I shared the pickles with a cup of hojicha tea with a Japanese friend - it was the hottest day of the year in the UK - about 32C)
I made this recipe http://www.justbento.com/handbook/johbisai/homemade-furikake-no-11-spicy... from the radish leaves.
You might even be able to make a couple of furikake recipes at home and take them with you - more time with your boyfriend and out exploring! (EDIT - sorry, I think you've said you're already there)

Maki has already made a list of staples, any combination of which would make a lovely home made bento
http://www.justbento.com/category/staples

I think kinpira is a wonderful thing to have in the fridge. Maki has published a few different recipes
http://justbento.com/handbook/recipes-side-dishes-and-space-fillers/easy...
http://www.justbento.com/handbook/recipes-side-dishes-and-space-fillers/...
http://justbento.com/handbook/recipe-collection-side-dishes-and-space-fi...

Douban jiang is a fabulous ingredient for making okazu (one of my husband's favourite bento fillers is spicy beansprouts) so you might like to take some to Japan from Shanghai. Here's the recipe we use: http://mshun.blog32.fc2.com/blog-entry-178.html
1 pack beansprouts, 1 tsp douban jiang, 1/2 tsp ichimi togarashi, 1/2 tsp instant dashi, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 or 2 cloves of crushed/grated garlic
Boil beansprouts for 1 minute and combine all the ingredients together.
(Except I boil the beansprouts, add a little salt, leave to drain in a colander for ten minutes, rinse with water and squeeze dry and only then add the other ingredients so that the beansprouts/moyashi don't leach out so much liquid in the bento)

It's quite hard to be more helpful as what you might find (and how much they cost) may be quite different to what you'd expected.
Hope you have an amazing time and that there are lots of follow up visits in the near future.

menkoiii
Bento-ing from: Tokyo (Fuchu) › Japan
Joined: 1 Feb 2011
User offline. Last seen 1 year 30 weeks ago.
Re: Make Ahead Bento Ideas?

Hi Loretta, thanks for the response! We met when I lived in Japan a few years ago but now I'm in Shanghai working, and hoping to come back here when my contract in Shanghai finishes a year from now.

Hm, well he does have a rice cooker... as for an understanding of basic food safety, I'm not so sure! Maybe I don't give him enough credit...

I've made a few tsukemono recipes in the past, but have never seen the radish one. I'll give it a try! I left him so much tsukemono last time I think he might still be recovering! I'm going home (Canada) for 2.5 weeks tomorrow and will then be back for a month and be making bentos for camping, so I'll need to get some ideas. I absolutely love kinpira and will probably make some tonight for the fridge. I usually use the first recipe so it's interesting to see the other two, especially the broccoli one. I'll give the spicy beansprouts a try too, maybe later in the summer.

I think I might make some sushi rolls tonight and put them in the fridge for tomorrow's bento at least (I leave really early tomorrow). I made the cream cheese and ham rolls last night and still have ingredients left over, so those should keep for a day or two? And some kinpira and the radish tsukemono if I can find them... that's as much as I can do really!

Thanks for the really helpful reply :)

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 9 weeks ago.
Re: Make Ahead Bento Ideas?

Radish tsukemono wasn't so very helpful, I'm afraid. I know they can be hard to find and expensive in Tokyo. I was just thinking how nice it is to have vinegared pickles on a hot day and I realise how very hot it is where you are right now.

Have you ever thought about making soba zushi as an alternative to rice norimaki/sushi rolls?
Someone posted a nice series of photos showing how she made them in a cooking class here:
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pedalpaddle/10/1217599200/t...
(there's a recipe on the Washoku book by Elizabeth Andoh - the way the recipe is written is so close to the photos that I believe that Ms Andoh is the teacher of the cooking class shown)

Maki is more knowledgeable about how long rice lasts. My husband won't eat refrigerated rice and I don't much like it either. We'd personally prefer soba rolls to rice rolls if made in advance.

menkoiii
Bento-ing from: Tokyo (Fuchu) › Japan
Joined: 1 Feb 2011
User offline. Last seen 1 year 30 weeks ago.
Re: Make Ahead Bento Ideas?

I'd bring some radishes back from Canada but don't know how that would go over in customs!

My boyfriend is really terrible for leaving rice in his rice cooker for 2 (probably even 3) days and then eating it :( The soba zushi looks really interesting, I might give it a try. Sometimes it feels like a pain to make sushi rice.

I saw that Washoku book on Amazon and was thinking about buying it. It's on my wish list for when I finally get to move back!

Thanks again... I'll make a few things tonight and then when I come back, I'll be on to the camping bentos. :)

taxonomist
Re: Make Ahead Bento Ideas?

The Washoku book is great. I've been using it for a couple of weeks and love it.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

New forum activity since your last visit

TitleAuthorAnswersLast Postsort icon
Sesame salad dressing Supertaster91 year 3 weeks ago
Authentic paella? maki101 year 5 weeks ago
IMPORTANT: If you have a blog on JustBento... maki21 year 7 weeks ago
Shiso - uses for this herb Loretta01 year 9 weeks ago
Fuki (Japanese Butterbur) Tsukemono Recipes kumo51 year 9 weeks ago