japanese

Bento no. 66: Vegan Iridofu Donburi Bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup (240ml, about 150g) brown rice, 240 calories
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) vegan iri dofu, 225 calories
  • Snow peas and pickled red ginger (beni shouga) for garnish

Total calories (approx): 465 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes the night before; 5 minutes in the morning

Type: Traditional Japanese, vegan continue reading...

Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

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Iri dofu or iri doufu (炒り豆腐) is a simple, homely dish, real Japanese style ‘mother’s cooking’. Probably every Japanese home cook has his or her own recipe, but the base is plain tofu that is crumbled and then stirred around or gently stir fried (the iri 炒り part means that) until it resembles dry scrambled egg. In fact, it’s rather like the tofu version of iri tamago, but with more flavor and texture.

Iri dofu recipes often contain meat (usually pork), dashi or both, but here I have kept it vegan (in keeping with our vegetarian theme for May). I have added umami by including chopped dried shiitake mushrooms, miso and soy sauce. Garlic chives and ginger also add to the flavor, while the sansho pepper (also known as sichuan pepper) adds spice.

The best way to eat this is to simply pile it onto rice. Of course it’s perfect for a easy, healthy bento. continue reading...

Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you live?

(The survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who responded - your comments were and are truly useful to my project!)

In connection with a project I’m working on at the moment, I’d like to take a short 5-question survey of Just Bento and Just Hungry readers.

I assume you are here because you have at least some interest in Japanese food and cooking. My questions are as follows. continue reading...

Bento no. 65: Pink, Green and Yellow Spring Bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 460 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10 minutes the night before; 15 minutes in the morning

Type: Traditional Japanese continue reading...

Scrambled egg with green onion, or a deconstructed 1-egg tamagoyaki

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I admit that this is barely a recipe at all, unless you don’t know how to make scrambled eggs. It is essentially a 1 egg tamagoyaki for people in a hurry. Sure, a folded tamagoyaki only takes a few minutes to make, but sometimes even those few minutes can’t be spared.

So, here’s a scrambled egg that is perfect for bentos. I’ve added a little chopped green onion (left over from dinner the night before) for variety, but you could omit that if you’re in a really big hurry. To keep the scrambled egg neat and tidy, it’s packed in a silicone cupcake liner. continue reading...

Homemade furikake no. 10: Sardines and pine nuts

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I haven’t added a new furikake recipe in a long time. So, it’s about time I did. As I wrote in the first homemade furikake recipe article, the homemade kind has a lot of advantages over the storebought kind.

One of the advantages is cost, and this furikake uses a cheap yet healthy ingredient that’s available to most people, wherever they may live: Canned sardines! A can of about 4 ounces of sardines (120g) or so costs a couple of dollars or euros or whatever at most. And sardines are packed with good nutrients: Omega-3s, protein, calcium, etc.

I’ve attempted to stay away from Japanese ingredients with this one, since I occasonally get complaints from readers that they can’t get a hold of those ingredients. If you can’t get Worcestershire sauce for some reason, use steak sauce or a similar rich, brown sauce. If pine nuts (though this only uses 2 tablespoons) are beyond your means, use sesame seeds or chopped nuts of another kind.

This furikake is good on pasta as well as rice. continue reading...

Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

The last pea in the pod

A very simple and frugal thing to make with fresh peas like this, and the stalk parts of asparagus. continue reading...

Fun with Japanese egg molds

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Something fun from the archives, in keeping with Easter. Incidentally, I haven’t been able to update Just Bento this week due to a sudden change of plans, but I’ll be back next week with frugal bento recipes and more. So until then…enjoy your weekend!

Egg molds are a fairly easy way to add some cuteness to a bento box. They are meant for kids’ bentos, but there’s nothing to stop you from using them for yourself of course. I usually can’t be bothered to make molded eggs for everyday bentos, but for picnics and parties they are quite a lot of fun.

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Egg molds are offered by various online sources such as J-List and eBay merchants (see the left sidebar for some listings), as well as at 100 yen stores. There are two types of egg molds: one has a simple clamshell shape with a fastener, and the other has a inner half-shell. You can use the latter kind without the inner half-shell too. Either way, be sure you get one that has the clamshell shape and the closing fastener - these features are what make an egg mold work properly. continue reading...