recipe

Cheese and parsley microwave omelette

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Here’s another easy egg recipe made with 1 or 2 eggs. It’s made in the microwave, and the method can be used for an ‘omelette’ with all kinds of additives. Here I have used a little bit of leftover cheese and some parsley. It goes well in a rice based or bread based bento. Cooking egg in the microwave is mentioned in several Japanese bento books and magazine articles, from which I’ve adapted the following method. continue reading...

1 egg tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

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Tamagoyaki, the slightly sweet rolled Japanese omelette, is a standby protein item for bentos. It tastes great at room temperature, is fairly easy to make (once you’ve done it a few times), and is cheap too. Plus the cheery yellow color brightens up any bento box.

There is one drawback with tamagoyaki: unless you have a tiny tamagoyaki pan (which is a single-purpose piece of kitchen equipment, something I try to avoid stocking in my not-so-large kitchen), you need to make it with a least 2, preferably 3 or more, eggs, to produce the distinctive multilayers of egg. This is fine if you’re making bentos for two or more people, but when you’re making bento for one you may not necessarily want to eat 2 eggs at a time. And tamagoyaki held in the fridge for more than a day never tastes as nice.

This method of making a 1-egg tamagoyaki in a normal small frying pan was in a recent issue of Kyou no ryouri (Today’s Cooking), my favorite Japanese food magazine. I’ve tried it out a few times now, and I’m totally sold on it. It does make a slightly flatter tamagoyaki than a multi-egg one, but it still has those nice layers.

Here’s how to make it step by step. continue reading...

Experimenting with frozen tuna salad, plus a tuna sushi rice sandwich

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Few things are as easy to make or as tasty for lunch than a simple tuna salad sandwich. It’s one of my favorite things to make when I’m too busy or occupied for more involved cooking. But porting around tuna salad when the weather is warm can be a bit of a problem.

I’ve been experimenting with freezing tuna salad in different ways, or rather stages of development as it were, as well as different tuna salad mixes. continue reading...

Studentenfutter: Swiss student feed mix

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Today I’m taking a break from the world of Japanese bentos to bring you something very Swiss. It’s very simple, but there’s beauty and logic in the simplicity. continue reading...

Bento filler: French green beans with carrot and ginger

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Fresh green beans are available year round, but their real season in the northern hemisphere is the summer to early fall. I count crispy green beans among one of my favorite vegetables, so I enthusiastically eat as much as possible.

There are several kinds of green beans - large and fat, flat and broad, and so on. These are skinny little haricots verts or French beans. They can be rather expensive, so I like to cook them as minimally as possible. Here they are paired with julienned fresh ginger and carrot, stir fried then steam-cooked in a frying pan. The ginger adds some heat and the carrots add sweetness. They are cooked in less than 5 minutes, though allow some extra time to cut the ginger and carrot. You can use fatter green beans if you can’t get haricot verts - allow for a couple more minutes of cooking time.

This is great hot or cold, so it’s a very good bento vegetable dish. It will hold in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, so if you buy a big bag of green beans at the market it’s worthwhile to make a batch of this. continue reading...

Bento filler: Spicy miso marinated green asparagus

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We’re nearing the end of the green asparagus season around here, so I’m trying to eat as much of it as possible. This miso marinated asparagus dish may look very spicy, but it’s only mildly so - it just looks rather hot because I used a red miso. The miso marinade does not overwhelm the asparagus flavor, but just enhances it. It is great in a bento since it’s salty, a little sweet and spicy all at once. continue reading...

All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

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Previously, I showed you how to make orange colored carrot rice. The make-in-a-few minutes microwave method was especially popular. So, here’s how to make pink (or purple) and green colored rice just as easily. The best thing about them is that they are colored just with vegetables - no hard to pronounce ingredients in sight.

I’ve used white rice for color clarity, but you could use regular or sprouted brown rice instead. I used leftover rice from the night before; you could also use defrosted frozen rice. continue reading...

Noriben, a true Japanese classic

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There are some dishes that are so basic to make that they barely ever get mentioned in cookbooks. Noriben (the word comes from nori and bento mashed together) is one of them. It’s a really basic bento, consisting of just 3 or 4 ingredients: rice, nori seaweed, soy sauce, and often dried bonito flakes. It’s tasty and inexpensive. It was standby for my mother when there was nothing else in the house except for a few pantry staples, and she had to make bento for two of the kids plus my father.

Whether or not you’d like noriben or not depends on whether you like the sea-taste of nori and soy sauce. It’s one of those things that Japanese people tend to think that only a Japanese person could really love. It makes most Japanese people feel very nostalgic.

For the sake of nutritional balance you might want to have other, not too salty things in your bento box with noriben, such as steamed vegetables, chicken, fried tofu, or a piece of grilled fish. continue reading...