Bento no. 68: Picnic bento with chicken lollipops and gift-wrapped onigiri

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Bento contents:

  • 3 Karaage Chicken Lollipops, each about 40g of dark chicken meat, 180 cal
  • 2 onigiri with mixed in furikake, containing about 1 1/2 cups total white rice, 360 cal
  • Boiled asparagus, 10 cal
  • Cherries, 30 cal

Total calories (approx): 580 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10 minutes the night before; 15 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese picnic

Here's a picnic bento that I actually made back in May, so please forgive me for the unseasonal appearance of cherries and asparagus! It's a very simple bento that can be eaten with your hands. For some reason I love eating without utensils when outdoors.

It has a bit more calories than the usual bentos featured here, but you need that when you're out and about walking, hiking or bicycling. Or even when you're just driving around the countryside snapping photos. All that oohing and aahing at the sights takes a lot of energy!

Chicken karaage lollipops and gift-wrapped onigiri bento

For this bento, I prepped the chicken lollipops the night before, and left them to marinate in my basic chicken karaage marinade overnight. Ideally you don't want to marinade the chicken for more than an hour, which is why the lollipops came out rather dark, but the extra saltiness was fine for eating outdoors.

The onigiri are made using the plastic wrap method. Instead of filling the onigiri in the middle, I mixed in some storebought furikake (a salmon-nori mix) in the rice, at a ratio of about 1 Tbs. to 1 cup of rice, while the rice was still hot. I kept the plastic wrap on each onigiri, and tied it up with some ribbon that I took off some gift bags of cookies. It's a simple but nice way to present onigiri, and the plastic wrap keeps them intact when you're going to be walking or biking over rough terrain or something.

Finally, asparagus spears and fresh berries are great finger food. Right now I might use whole blanched green beans or something instead of the asparagus, and apricots or plums instead of the cherries.

You can easily make this bento more or less caloric by simply increasing or decreasing the number of onigiri and chicken pieces.