Bento no. 18: 3-color soboro bento


Bento contents:

  • 1 cup (about 220ml) brown rice (220cal)
  • 2 Tbs. beef sorobo (80cal)
  • 2 Tbs. iri tamago (70cal)
  • Blanched Swiss chard leaves (5cal)
  • Swiss chard stalks sautéed in butter (30cal)
  • Hijiki with bean curd (50cal)
  • 3 fresh lichees or litchi (15cal)

Total calories (approx): 475 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning, 20-30 previously

Type: Japanese

This bento relies on two staples (plus premade frozen rice): meat soboro, and stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and tofu.. 3-color soboro (sanshoku soboro 三色そぼろ) is a classic bento combination, and as you can see it's quite colorful. To eat it yo mix the toppings into the rice. You may want to bring a spoon along to make eating the mixed rice easier.

This is the man sized version of the bento. It just has a bit more rice (about 1 1/2 cups) and a bit more topping.

The 'green' part of the 3-color can be something else, such as finely chopped green beans, green peas, and so on.



Per bento:

  • 2 to 3 Tbs. premade meat soboro
  • 2-3 leaves of Swiss chard or bok choy (or 4-5 leaves for two portions)
  • 1/2 tsp. butter (or 1 tsp. for 2 portions)
  • 1 cup or 1 1/2 cups rice (frozen or cooked on timer in a rice cooker)
  • Iri tamago made with 1 egg (or 2 eggs if you're making for two people, as I did)
  • Some premade stewed hijiki with carrots and tofu
  • 3 fresh lichees (litchi) or other fruit


You'll be using three burners on the stove.

  • Pack the rice in the bento box (if it's frozen, de-frost first) and let cool. Be sure to leave enough space on top for the toppings.
  • Boil up a kettle full of hot water.
  • Cut the green leaves off the chard. Chop up the stalks.
  • Heat up a non-stick frying pan. Add the chard stalks and a little hot water. Sauté until the stalks are tender. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper, and add the butter.
  • Add boiling water to a pan, and put in the greens.
  • Mix the iri tamago mixture together. Heat up another saucepan.
  • Drain the greens and refresh with cold water.
  • Make the iri tamago.
  • Squeeze out the greens. Chop finely. Put in the pan that you cooked the stalks in (push the stalks to one side) and stir around briefly to dry out.
  • Pack the stalks and the hijiki in the bento box. bento_18_soboro.jpg
  • Arrange the soboro, iri tamago and chopped greens neatly on top of the rice. If you have trouble keeping it neat, use a piece of clean paper folded in half (for stability), and use as a guide. Any soboro that spills on top of the paper can be tipped over on top. The red stuff on top of the soboro is pickled red ginger (ben sho-ga).
  • Pack a few lichees or other fresh fruit (a small apple is good, or a clementine, etc.) If you haven't tried fresh lichees, please try to find them - they are delicious! You can usually find them at Asian groceries. (Swiss shoppers can find them at larger Migros stores.)



It actually only took me about 15 minutes to assemble this bento, but I allowed for a bit more time to arrange the 3 colored toppings on the rice.

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