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Total calories (approx): 495 (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 15 minutes in the morning, 20+ minutes make-ahead
Type: Japanese, mostly make-ahead
This bento uses a lot of staples and make-ahead items. This is really the key to assembling a varied bento lunch box without having to wake up an hour early in the morning to do so! The only thing that is made from scratch in the morning is the bacon wrapped tofu , and even that can be made the night before if needed (though it’s best if you make it in the morning.) Johbisai or staples are really great: I got six total bentos out of one batch of the pepper and onion confit , and I’ll get at least 2 or 4 bentos out of the 3 remaining tea eggs .
The star of the bento though is the bacon wrapped tofu. It’s delicious hot or cold. For a bento, the salty-sweet variation is particularly good. Be sure to use an extra-firm tofu.
Steps: Make ahead the night before or earlier
Steps: Do the night before
- Wash the rice and set the rice cooker timer (or use pre-frozen rice)
- Boil the broccoli
- Optional: make the carrot salad, detailed below
Steps: In the morning
You will need two frying pans and a small mixing bowl.
- Put the rice in the bento box; leave to cool.
- Wrap the tofu in several layers of paper towels, place between two plates and leave to drain for a couple of minutes. 1 block of tofu will make enough for 2 bentos, so use 1/2 a block if it’s just for you.
- Cut up the mushroom (2 large per person, or 4 medium) and sauté in a dry frying pan or with a little butter. When brown and limp, add about 1/2 cup of the pepper and onion confit.
- Cut the tofu into chunks (3 per person). Wrap each piece in bacon, about 1/2 to 1 slice per piece depending on the size of the slices. (The calories are based on about 3/4 average bacon slice per piece.) Follow the recipe directions .
- If you didn’t make them the night before, make the carrot salad: shred some carrot finely (a mandoline helps), mix with about 1 Tbs. lemon juice, some salt, and a pinch of sugar. Massage the carrots with your hands to make the dressing penetrate faster.
- Slice one tea egg to divide between two bentos (or just have 1 whole egg for yourself! It will be about 80 calories instead of 40.)
- Assemble the bento; the carrot salad should be wrapped in a little plastic wrap or put in a divider cup.