Bento filler: 3-color Spring Vegetable Namul with Crabstick

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This is a very simple and quick vegetable side dish or filler for bentos, using vegetables available in the spring - new or spring cabbage, little carrots, and greens, with shredded crabstick or surimi. You could use shredded ham instead of the crabstick, splash out a bit and use real crabmeat, or just keep it all-vegetable. This is a namul, a Korean salad-like side dish. More about namul (and another namul recipe) here. The addition of a bit of vinegar is very unauthentic, but I think it enhances the flavors.

The most time consuming part of this recipe is shredding the vegetables. You can cheat and use pre-shredded carrots and cabbage, or use your food processor, if you're not too handy with a knife.

Recipe: Bento filler: 3-color Spring Vegetable Namul with Crabstick

Makes approximately 3 cups, or 3-6 bento sized servings. Total calories: about 250 calories.

  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1 cup finely shredded spring cabbage (regular cabbage is fine)
  • 1 cup finely shredded spring greens - I used broccoli rabe or sprouting broccoli leaves here
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar or white wine vinegar or any neutral-tasting mild vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 4 imitation crab sticks, finely shredded

Bring about 2 inches (5cm) of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the shredded carrot, wait a minute, then add the cabbage. Wait another minute and add the greens. Boil one more minute, then drain the vegetables and run cold water over them. Squeeze out any excess moisture. The carrot and cabbage should still have a crisp texture.

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

This will keep in the refrigerator, well covered, for 2-3 days.