basics

Downloads

This section contains the downloadable bento-related forms and other materials available on Just Bento.

Getting started with bento making

This is the start page for the Getting Started With Making Bento series for bento beginners.

Speed bento tip: Squeeze bottles!

squeeze_honey.jpgI’m always looking for ways to shave a few minutes off bento prep time. One way to do this is to look at the containers the condiments, sauces and other ingredients that you use frequently come in.

I use honey quite a lot as a sweetener. Measuring it out of a glass jar is a sticky, messy business, that more often than not requires washing of a spoon, wiping drips around the lid and jar, and other little things that add up in terms of wasted time. So, for morning preperations I rely on the neat runny honey in a squeeze bottle. It’s not rare gourmet honey gathered from bees who suckle on rare alpine flora (I save that kind for leisurely cups of lemon-honey-water), but it sure cuts down on bento making time in the morning. continue reading...

Popular types of homemade bento, with example sites and books

As I touched upon briefly in Bento Basics, there are different kinds of bento box meals, and this site is primarily concerned with bento lunch boxes. Even these come in different varieties.

There are three main types of homemade bento lunches that are popular in Japan at the moment. Here I’ll try to describe them, with example blogs and books from Japan. continue reading...

Prepping for the upcoming week's bento making on the weekend

jug of soaking kombu During the week I often get so rushed and busy with everyday life that I barely have time to stop and think about anything, including making bento lunches. So I try to do a little prepping over the weekend, when I have some extra time. I’m not really talking about spending hours in the kitchen, but easy things that can be done either in a few minutes, or unattended while I do the laundry or just take a long nap. continue reading...

Onigiri On Parade: A guide to onigiri (omusubi) rice ball shapes, types and fun

onigiri_plate.jpg

Onigiri (or omusubi, the other name for the same thing), the cute little rice ball, has really become popular outside of Japan in the last few years, in large part it seems due to its iconic status in anime and manga. While the onigiri is not limited in Japanese food culture to just bento use, it’s an indispensable part of the bento maker’s repertoire.

Previously on Just Hungry, I’ve explained how to make onigiri twice: the traditional, hot salty palms way, and an easier method using plastic wrap and a cup. And you can always use a plastic onigiri mold if neither method appeals. However, I have never really gone into depth about the different shapes and kinds of onigiri. So, here it is - a parade of different kinds of onigiri: shapes, coverings, fillings, and more. continue reading...

Streamlining the bento making process: Preparation and washing up

As you read about making bento, you might wonder how this is all possible to do in the busy morning. It is possible, since millions of Japanese people do it every day - and no, not all of them are stay-at-home mothers (and who is busier and more time-constrained more than a mom anyway?) Practice makes perfect, so the more you make bento the faster you get. But a little bit of preparation and forethought goes a long way towards streamlining your bento making. continue reading...

The keys to bento calorie control: the box, the rice and the salt content

In Selecting the right bento box, I talked about how important it was to select the right size of box, especially if you are using bento lunches as a tool to lose weight. The other critical factor is to control the amount of rice you put into the box, if you are making Japanese style bentos. continue reading...