Total calories (approx): 400 (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning
Type: Simple ‘back to basics’ bento
There isn’t much new in this bento, except for the diagonally oriented packing of the box to accommodate the chicken skewers. I wanted to present it though because this is really a basic type of bento for me: 1 protein, 2 vegetables, rice or other grain (usually it’s brown or mixed-grain rice). It’s quick to assemble, balanced, filling and easy. It really doesn’t require any more thought than your typical sandwich.
One important them of this 5th and final week of the Bento Challenge is to figure out what works, in bento terms. For me, it’s more or less sticking to this type of bento for the most part. I think it looks nice as well as tasting nice, due to the colorfulness of the vegetables against the brown-beige-ness of the chicken. (The zakkokumai does add a nice pink-purple hue too.)
The chicken skewers can be prepped and marinated the night before to save time, but if you forget you can just do it in the morning, and let it marinate while you take a shower or something. You could also cut up the vegetables the night before if you wanted to.
As I show in the chicken skewers recipe, the peppers are cooked right along with the chicken in the same frying pan, which saves both cooking and washing-up time.
The asparagus used here, cooked briefly in salted water, is imported from California. It just started appearing at our local supermarkets last week, at lower ‘in-season’ prices. So not local or very eco-conscious, but I was tired of using broccoli florets, my winter standby, over and over! Once the local asparagus season starts I might be using them in every bento. I’ve left the asparagus plain here, but if you prefer you can add a little container of mayonnaise.
To make this a bigger portion, just pack more of everything; 3-4 skewers, more rice, more vegetables, etc.
Click on the timeline for a bigger view.
Remember the key time saving aspects that are used time and again here: having pre-cooked rice stashed in the freezer, and using an electric kettle to boil the water for cooking the asparagus.
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