Total calories (approx): 460 cal (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 15-20 minutes
Type: Japanese, leftovers yay
A regular bento maker relies heavily on leftovers. But there is no reason why they have to look boring or sad, or scream ‘ich bin ein Leftover!’ at you from your bento box. This bento is made almost entirely of leftover bits; the rice is left over from dinner so I didn’t have to draw from my frozen rice stash), the ham and lentils were from a soup a couple of days ago (the lentils were Puy lentils so they stayed nice and firm in the soup) , and the broccoli stems are, naturally, left over after the florets were used up. Once they are peeled, they are perfectly edible, and add a nice crunch to any dish.
Garlic chive blossoms add flavor and color to the fried rice. If you can’t get a hold of these (they are available at Chinese grocery stores) use garlic chives, regular chives, or green onion instead. I’ve kept the oil in the fried rice to a minimum - see the steps for how to do this. Lentils add a nice crunch and added fiber. You can easily make this vegetarian by using a veggie protein instead of the ham. Here’s a closeup of the rice showing the pretty flowers. I love things like this that take no extra effort, yet make a dish immediately more attractive.
This bento is quite quick to make since there are only two items. The main work involved is the chopping up, so if you can do that part the night before all the better.
For the fried rice:
For the salad:
This is how the Guy’s bento looks. It has 1 1/2 cups worth of rice in it, and more salad. I think it’s about 700 calories in total. He said it was very filling.
As you can see, most of the work is for the chopping. Do this the night before if you can, while you’re making dinner.
The salad can be made the night before or even further in advance. (It is in fact a variation of the 5-a-day honey lemon pickles, which keeps for several days in the fridge.) The fried rice will taste much better though if you make it in the morning.
Normal fried rice is loaded with oil, which helps to separate the rice grains. Instead of glugging in the oil, use a very hot good non-stick pan or well seasoned wok to stir-fry, sauté everything before you add the rice using boiling water to cook through raw vegetables, and add oil sparingly, mainly for flavor. Here I only use about 1 tablespoon for 2 1/2 cups of rice (1 cup for me, 1 1/2 cups for the Guy). Not bad!
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