Some bentos that didn't make the cut (Botsuben)

Whenever I post a complete bento how-to I try to pick ones that have something unique or noteworthy about them. Of course I actually make a lot more bentos than I post about. Here are few that didn't make the cut - the 'also-ran' bentos, with an explanation of why they didn't make it to star status. (Botsu means 'rejected' (ボツ)- so these are botsuben(to).)

Also-ran bento no. 1: Mini meatballs with carrots, blanched and stir-fried bok choy, brown rice


The mini-meatballs (<a href="'>pre-made and frozen) are stewed with carrot slices in a dashi-soy sauce- oyster sauce mix. The bok choy is just blanched and then briefly stir-fried.

Verdict: Tasty, but nothing special or unique. A bit messy looking.

Also-ran bento no. 2: Taro root with fried tofu chunks, bitter gourd and radish salad


Satoimo or taro root cooked with fried tofu (atsuage) in a miso sauce; bitter gourd and radish salad with lemon juice and honey.

Verdict: The taro root and fried tofu part was good, but the bitter gourd salad was way too bitter. I need to work on my bitter gourd technique. I was also wondering how many people have access to taro root. (This was a riceless bento since the taro root has enough carbs.)

Also-ran bento no. 3: Spicy shrimp, peeled edamame, blanched bok choy, green beans, brown rice, Easy lazy quail tea eggs


Verdict: This one looks good - but the shrimp turned out way too spicy. Something to work on again. (They're cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with hot chili sauce.)

All the bentos were gobbled up, but they weren't total successes. Maybe they will give you some ideas anyway!