Time required: 10-20 minutes

Shrimp Tatsutaage: Japanese Crispy Fried Shrimp

ebitatsutaage.jpg

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...

Bento no. 63: Chicken Skewer Back To Basics Bento

bento_63_500.jpg

Bento Contents:

  • 2 marinated chicken skewers using 60g / about 2 oz. chicken breast, 120 cal
  • About 1 cup/ 240ml zakkokumai (mixed-grain rice), 220 cal
  • One half of a large sweet bell pepper, sautéed, 50 cal
  • Asparagus spear tips, 10 cal

Total calories (approx): 400 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Simple ‘back to basics’ bento continue reading...

Bento no. 62: Meatloaf and Tortelloni Bento

bento_62b_500.jpg

Bento Contents:

  • About 100g / 3.5 oz Bento sized mini-meatloaf (1/2 a loaf) with ketchup, 200 calories
  • 1/4 package (60g / 2 oz) Barilla Cheese and Garlic tortelloni or similar, browned in 1 tsp. olive oil, 270 calories
  • 1/2 cup Fennel Salad, 10 cal
  • Broccoli florets, 5 cal

Total calories (approx): 490 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Meat and pasta! continue reading...

Bento no. 61: Chicken Wing Spread For the Bento Non-Believer

bento_61_500.jpg

Bento Contents:

  • 6 oven baked chicken wings sections (recipe below), 320 calories
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and cheese dipping sauce (recipe below), 140 calories
  • Oven baked sweet potato chips from 1 medium sweet potato, 200 calories
  • Carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli, 40 calories

Total calories (approx): 690 (how calories are calculated) Note this is a ‘large’ portion.

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning

Type: Chicken, for the bento novice

This is presented as an idea for a bento that doesn’t look like a bento, for people with hearty appetites who can’t get their heads around the smallness of a bento box and how it could possibly ‘be enough’. It’s supposed to ressemble a buffalo chicken wing meal, but has cut down on the fat and calories of a real buffalo chicken spread considerably. continue reading...

Bento no. 59: Vegan Fried Rice Bento, Somewhat Macrobiotic

Bento contents:

bento_59_500.jpg

Total calories (approx): 390 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Vegan, Japanese, rather macrobiotic continue reading...

Natto or Tempeh Fried Rice

natto-chahan.jpg

This week, I’m aiming to make all of my bentos vegan or vegetarian. One reason is simply to have more vegan/vegetarian bento recipes up here! But the other more personal reasons are that, first of all, vegan/vegetarian meals often cost less than meat-centric meals, especially here in Switzerland where even the inexpensive cuts of meat and poultry are not so. The other is just for health; I often feel so much better when I’ve had a vegan bento.

This fried rice is a meal unto itself. There are some finely chopped vegetables as well as hijiki seaweed, and high quality protein in the form of brown rice and natto, those infamous sticky fermented soy beans. I have been hesitant about featuring natto-based recipes here or on Just Hungry, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that quite a few people actually do like it. Natto is an excellent and easily digestible source of protein, and when it’s cooked like this all of the gooey stickiness of it disappears. If you prefer though, you can substitute crumbled tempeh or even shelled edamame. continue reading...

Bento no. 58: Packing a Chicken Salad Bento

Bento Challenge Week 2, Day 1 (Jan 19 2009)

Bento contents:

  • 100g / 3 oz (approx.) Grilled Garlic Chicken, 120 cal
  • Yogurt dressing from same page, using 2 Tbs. Greek (thick) yogurt, 40 cal
  • 2 small bread rolls, 90 cal
  • Steamed broccoli, shredded carrot, lettuce, arugula (rucola or rocket), total about 60 cal
  • 1 fairly large orange (not seen in photo), 80 cal

Total calories (approx): 390 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning (you could cut this down by making some things in advance)

Type: Salad! continue reading...

Bento Filler: Orange Juice Carrots

orangecarrots1.jpg

What, yet another carrot recipe? Well I do like carrots, and they are so handy - available year-round, cheap, and long-lasting in the refrigerator. This one may not look like much, but it tastes very interesting - a little sweet, a little sour, just a little bitter, with an underlying heat. This was originally presented as a dessert in one of my Japanese cookbooks (but I can’t for the life of me remember which one); the original had I believe maple syrup and/or honey in it, which I have mostly omitted. Instead I’ve added salt and a little soy sauce. It makes a nice contrasting accent in a bento, like a salad. Cutting the carrot slices into odd shapes is strictly optional. continue reading...