fish

Shrimp Tatsutaage: Japanese Crispy Fried Shrimp

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These light and crispy shrimp are fairly low in calories, even though they are fried. You only need about 1 cm / 1/2 an inch of oil to fry these in a regular frying pan, so don’t be afraid to try them even if you don’t do much deep-frying. They are very easy to make with frozen shrimp, and just a bit more work with fresh shrimp. continue reading...

Shrimp and tofu mini-burgers (tsukune) with red pepper sauce

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There are already several mini-burger or tsukune dumpling type of recipes here, but here’s another one. What can I say - mini-burgers are just perfect for bentos: they taste good when they are cold, can be made in quantity, and usually freeze very well.

This time it’s a shrimp and tofu version, adapted quite a bit from a recipe in a recent issue of Kyou no ryouri: Beginners (Today’s Cooking: Beginners) magazine. It’s best when made with fresh shrimp, but uncooked frozen shrimp is fine. You probably don’t want to be messing around with shrimp paste in the morning, so it can made it the night before (have some for dinner too - it’s great hot) or freeze a batch. The sweet-hot red pepper jam I’ve used as a sauce goes very well with it, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the jam, use a sweet or hot bottled chili sauce. continue reading...

Two also-ran quick bentos made in under 15 minutes

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While I do try to keep a good stash of pre-made food to quickly assemble bentos in the morning, sometimes I’ve just run out, or am not in the mood to use whatever I have in the freezer, or leftovers in the fridge. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to assemble a bento quickly using fresh ingredients and pantry items. Here are a couple that I made last week. The only premade ‘stash’ I used was frozen brown rice. 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...

Bento no. 42: Easygoing shrimp bento

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Total calories (approx): 420 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed in the morning: 10-15 minutes

Type: Japanese continue reading...

Bento no. 40: Pasta Salad Niçoise with a twist

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Bento contents:

  • 1 U.S. cup or 5oz / 140g spelt pasta, 170 cal
  • A few pieces of white flour pasta, 40 cal
  • 1/4 cup or 1.75 oz / 50g frozen tuna salad with mayonnaise, 120 cal
  • About 3/4 cup sweet pepper and onion confit with zucchini, 90 cal
  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil, 55 cal
  • 3-4 black olives, 30 cal
  • 1 boiled egg, 80 cal
  • Lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, celery, parsley, 10 cal

Total calories (approx): 645 (how calories are calculated)

Type: Pasta salad! continue reading...

Bento no. 39: The basics of how to fill a classic bento box

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Bento contents, 2-tier bento (580ml capacity):

  • 1 cup (1 cup=220ml) white rice, 240 cal
  • 1 small piece salted salmon, 50 cal
  • 1-egg tamagoyaki, 100 cal
  • Approx. 1/2 cup sweet pepper and onion confit, 40 calories
  • Blanched broccoli flowerets, 10 cal
  • Blanched snow peas (mangetout) 5 cal
  • Yukari (furikake made from umeboshi and red shiso leaves)

Total calories (approx): 445 (how calories are calculated)

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Bento contents, 1-tier bento (670ml capacity):

  • 1 cup (1 cup=220ml) white rice, 240 cal
  • 2 small pieces salted salmon, 100 cal
  • 1-egg tamagoyaki, 100 cal
  • Approx. 3/4 cup sweet pepper and onion confit, 60 calories
  • Blanched broccoli flowerets, 10 cal
  • Blanched snow peas (mangetout) 5 cal
  • Yukari (furikake made from umeboshi and red shiso leaves)

Total calories (approx): 515 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed for both: 10-20 minutes in the morning (depending on your assembly speed and neatness factor)

Type: Japanese, omnivore (salmon, egg)

This is a fairly standard, classic Japanese style bento. I make this type of bento far more than any other. I’ve already given instructions on how to make the individual pieces, but I thought it might be useful to see step-by-step how to pack a bento box properly, with an eye to the following:

  • Presentation and attractiveness
  • Calorie content
  • Speed and ease

I’ve used two standard type bento boxes; a 2-tier model, and a 1-tier model with a divider. continue reading...