meat

Ham Negimayaki (Green Onions Wrapped in Ham and Panfried)

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Negimayaki (ネギマ焼き) or negima as it’s often abbreviated, is scallions or green onions wrapped in thinly sliced meat and pan fried. It’s usually made with thinly sliced beef or pork in Japan. The thing is though, while very thinly slice meat is a standard cut available at any supermarket in Japan, here in Europe it’s not. If I want that cut I have to ask the butcher to do it for me, or slice it myself.

However, ham and cured meat slices of all kinds is very easily available here, so that’s what I use for this version of negima. The advantage of using ham, besides its availibity and handiness, is that it’s already flavored, so you don’t have to add any more seasoning. The saltiness of it flavors the green onion inside too. These cook up very quickly. continue reading...

Tips for using Thanksgiving leftovers in bento lunches

thanksgivingleftovers.jpg[From the archives: If you’re in the U.S., I hope your Thanksgiving was great! If you have a lot of leftover turkey, please give the shigureni a try. It works with dark or white meat. Originally published November 2007.]

Happy Thanksgiving to all U.S. readers! After today’s feast you’ll probably have quite a lot of leftovers. Here are some ideas for re-purposing those leftovers for future bento lunches, beyond just using them as-is, which is okay but not that exciting.

In general, you should try to get the leftovers wrapped and into the fridge as soon as possible for the sake of safety, though I know the urge to just flop down in a horizontal position is strong. You can divide it up for longer term storage if necessary later.

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Bento no. 53: Sesame beef and vegetable bento

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Bento contents:

  • Approx. 1 cup of brown rice - 240 cal
  • 60 g / 2 oz. (about 3 heaping tablespoons) Sesame flavored beef made with lean beef, 130 cal
  • About 1/3 cup carrot kinpira, 50 cal
  • Blanched greens flavored with oyster sauce and bean sprouts flavored with salt and sansho pepper, 20 cal

Total calories (approx): 440 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning continue reading...

Sesame flavored beef

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I don’t have a lot of red meat recipes here, especially not beef. The biggest reason for this is that beef is the most expensive cut of meat usually, and I’m all about making bentos that are economical. But I do use beef sometimes, and one of my favorite ways is to treat it as I do in this recipe - quickly stir-fried, salty-sweet and tender strips of beef flavored with sesame oil. continue reading...

How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

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Shuumai or shumai dumplings (焼売)are a standby for dim sum, and are very well suited to bentos. They are small, taste good cold, freeze very well, and are a lot easier to make than gyoza dumplings.

You’ve probably encountered shuumai dumplings in the freezer section of Asian or Japanese grocery stores. Frozen ones are usually pretty good, but if you make them yourself you know exactly what you put in them. I just make a double batch whenever I decide to make shuumai for dinner. Just follow along with the photos and you’ll be turning out lots of shuumai yourself. continue reading...

Okowa: Sticky rice with all kinds of good things

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Okowa (おこわ)is the name given to a type of rice dish in which sticky glutinous rice is mixed with all kinds of vegetables or meat and steamed. It’s related to Chinese sticky rice, which you might have had as part of a dim sum meal. If the rice mix is steamed in small packets, wrapped in a bamboo leaf, it’s called chimaki. You can mix any number of things in with the rice to make it a complete meal in itself. continue reading...

Bento no. 33: Frozen shepherd's pie bento

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Bento contents:

  • 3 individual portion shepherd’s pies, 360 cal
  • 10 frozen edamame, 50 cal
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise, 100 cal
  • Broccoli florets, 10 cal
  • Cornichons (pickles), 10 cal
  • Cherry tomatoes, 40 cal

Total calories (approx): 570 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 minutes in the morning

Type: Not Japanese, omnivore (beef), frozen continue reading...

Individual portion frozen shepherd's pies (or any kind of casserole dish)

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This is more of a tip than a recipe, but I’ve put it here because it’s a handy way of building up your bento freezer stash. When I make something that is baked in a casserole for dinner such as shepherd’s pie, I try to make a few individual portions in cupcake liners. continue reading...