Some bentos that didn't make the cut (Botsuben)

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).)

Also-ran bento no. 1: Mini meatballs with carrots, blanched and stir-fried bok choy, brown rice


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.

Also-ran bento no. 2: Taro root with fried tofu chunks, bitter gourd and radish salad


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.)

Also-ran bento no. 3: Spicy shrimp, peeled edamame, blanched bok choy, green beans, brown rice, Easy lazy quail tea eggs


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!

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applause for the first one

May be not so tasty but full of humour, it’s a good one. Like the mini meatballs with bok choy.

but ...

omg those look tasty !! I am just 15 minutes before my lunch break at the moment and I drool on pictures number 1 and 2.

I like how bentos are always cute but sometimes, food is just meant to be food and to be savoured as simple as it’s presented.

My first Bento lunch

Your site inspired my creation. Haven’t taken a pic yet. Will post on my site later. I have one of those child size Sanrio bento boxes I found at the dollar store. It’s cute & comes with a fork stored in the lid. Yes, I need to upsize. My first bento creation consists of sliced strawberries & my dish is made up of white beans, garlic, cremeni mushrooms, bokchoy & spices (cumin, soy sauce, salt/pepper, whatever smelled good). Simple & nutritious. Thanks for the inspiration to take the time to make healthy, yummy food that looks so cute!


I can get taro easy; they had plenty at the Asian market, at Fiesta which carries more international foods than other chain grocery stores, but even our Walmart carries taro. I think they all carry yucca (manioc, tapioca root) too. But I haven’t tried them yet, because I’m waiting on a pictorial

Bitter melon

I love, love, love bitter gourd/melon but sometimes the taste is overpowering. I always blanche mine in water first to take some of the bitterness out, then stirfry with pork (optional) and garlic.

But mine don’t have that lovely bright green coloration that yours have because of the extra cooking time (I like them fairly soft).

bitter gourd...

…well, bitter gourd here is never eaten raw, so we usually soak it with salted water before cooking it. I usually stir fry them with chili (seeded first), shallots and garlics, sometimes with pork or shrimp. But i think it tastes good even without pork or shrimp.

Here taro is always available at traditional markets ^^

Bitter gourd

Yes I usually have bitter gourd in soups and things usually, but I read somewhere that it could be used for salad, so I tried….uuu bitter! The texture was great though, so I’ll have to research how to retain that but get rid of the bitterness a bit more!


OK, the ones of mine that I actually bother to capture in picture don’t even approach the good quality of your rejects! :-)

I think these runners-up are pretty fabulous!

I took your idea and made

I took your idea and made fried tofu with miso sauce today for lunch today. Yaseru Okazu Recipes (don’t know if you have this one, but it’s by the same people as Yaseru Obento Recipes) has a lemon-miso sauce recipe that I like.

I think we can get taro root at the regular grocery store here. And thanks once again for inspiration! :)

Re: Some bentos that didn't make the cut (Botsuben)

I'm enormously relieved to learn that bitter melon can be too bitter even for people who like things like endive! :)

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