Whenever I post a complete bento how-to I try to pick ones that have something unique or noteworthy about them. Of course I actually make a lot more bentos than I post about. Here are few that didn’t make the cut - the ‘also-ran’ bentos, with an explanation of why they didn’t make it to star status. (Botsu means ‘rejected’ (ボツ）- so these are botsuben(to).)
The mini-meatballs (pre-made and frozen ) are stewed with carrot slices in a dashi-soy sauce- oyster sauce mix. The bok choy is just blanched and then briefly stir-fried.
Verdict: Tasty, but nothing special or unique. A bit messy looking.
Satoimo or taro root cooked with fried tofu (atsuage) in a miso sauce; bitter gourd and radish salad with lemon juice and honey.
Verdict: The taro root and fried tofu part was good, but the bitter gourd salad was way too bitter. I need to work on my bitter gourd technique. I was also wondering how many people have access to taro root. (This was a riceless bento since the taro root has enough carbs.)
Verdict: This one looks good - but the shrimp turned out way too spicy. Something to work on again. (They’re cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with hot chili sauce.)
All the bentos were gobbled up, but they weren’t total successes. Maybe they will give you some ideas anyway!