Bento no. 12: 5 minute salmon bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 small piece of shiozake or salted salmon (about 150 cal)
  • 1 cup brown rice (220 cal)
  • A few bibb lettuce leaves (3 cal)
  • Konnyaku no tosani, salty-sweet konnyaku with bonito flakes (about 30 cal)
  • Homemade 'instant' miso soup ball (see how-to) (about 30 cal)

Total calories (approx): 435 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 to 10 minutes

Type: Japanese

It's the busiest time of the year, and I find myself running around like a headless chicken some days. So there isn't much time to be making bento in the morning, especially after a late night out or something. I still like to bring along a healthy bento though, because I feel so much better after eating it than just grabbing a sandwich or a pizza or something for lunch.

With my stash of staples or _johbisai_, whatever leftovers are on hand, and of course my hoard of frozen brown rice, I can throw together a little bento in about 5 minutes. (A little more time is needed for defrosting stuff, but you can do this while you're running around getting ready.) This bento uses a small piece of the salted salmon I made a couple of weeks ago and stocked in the freezer, some sweet-and-salty konnyaku that was left over from dinner (recipe here), and a few lettuce leaves. (If I had them I'd have used baby spinach leaves for that tiny bit more vitamin content.) I've also added an 'instant' miso soup ball.

usagi-bento-box.jpgThe key to a throw-together bento like this is to make it look attractive and appetizing, and not like you just dumped in some leftovers - which you may have, but you don't want to be reminded of that at lunchtime. Keep it as colorful and neat as possible, and use a cute bento box if you have one. A bento you've spent time making can shine on its own merits, but a throw-together one needs help from the container. Here I've used a three-part two-bowl style that I don't pull out that much, since it's a bit small, but in this case it did cheer up the bento quite a bit. (I love bunnies in almost any context.)

I love salmon in bento, because that pink color perks up the dullest bowl of rice. Green veggies do this also, or green herbs and sprinkles (green onion, parsley, chives, etc.) as does the old standby, the lemon wedge or slice.

Steps

  • Defrost the rice and salmon (while you're taking a shower maybe)
  • Optionally heat up whatever leftovers you're using in a pan (it's always safer to re-heat leftovers, though if they are from the night before they may be ok.)
  • Grill the salmon in a toaster oven, or in a small nonstick frying pan, a couple of minutes per side. (Note that this works with very small or thin pieces. You could also cook it in the microwave. You can also cook the salmon the night before.)
  • In the meantime, mix together the miso ball.
  • Put rice in your bento container. Top with lettuce or baby spinach leaves, lemon wedge, and salmon. Put the other leftovers in the other container (or to the other side of the bento box). Pack up and go!

I haven't made a timeline for this one, since it's basically "heat or re-heat things, pack up and go"! And I need to go running around doing errands again.