Time required: 5 minutes or under

Bento no. 74: 5-minute, no stash, beginner bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 large slice boiled ham, 100 calories
  • 1 slice proscuitto, 80 calories
  • 1 small piece cheese (gouda), 80 calories
  • 2 small whole grain rolls, 160 calories
  • About 8 grapes, 30 calories
  • 1 Tbs. mustard (in small red container)
  • Mixed salad greens, 10 calories

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

Time needed: 5 minutes in the morning

Type: Not Japanese, sandwich, nothing made in advance continue reading...

Bento side: 3-minute omelette

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Well, I have finally delivered the first draft of my bento cookbook. There is still a lot of work to be done before the book will be ready for publication, but I am so relieved to clear this first hurdle at least. I was practically unable to think about any other recipes other than the ones destined to go in there for a long while, but now I can start thinking about new things for the site! (And yes, the book will have all new recipes and bentos, except for some basics. What’s the point of just copying recipes available online here, you know?)

Anyway, here is one of those barely-a-recipe ideas - yet another way to cook an egg. I make this when there is a spot to fill in a bento box, or as a late night snack. It literally comes together in 3 minutes, from breaking the egg to final result. It adds a bright spot of yellow with so little effort. Here I have mixed in some leftover chopped up green onion, but you can put in anything any number of things. I’ve tried furikake, some plain bonito flakes with a little soy sauce, bits of leftover meat or hamburger, canned tuna, mixed frozen vegetables straight from the freezer, and more. You can also leave it plain. continue reading...

Opposing cut or chigai-giri: The easiest ever decorative cutting technique for bananas, cucumbers and more

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A couple of people asked about the twist-cut banana slices that were tucked into a corner of the scotch egg bento. This is actually a very simple decorative cutting technique that can be done in a couple of minutes, even if you are a beginner. I learned how to do this cut back in my first year of middle school (7th grade in U.S. school terms, or when I was 12-13) in home economics class. It’s usually called chigai giri (違い切り) or ‘opposing cut’ in Japanese. I also call it the ‘twist cut’, since the business end of the cut looks twisted to me.

There’s more than one way to do this cut, but here’s the way I learned how to do it. It still works best for me. 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...

Decorate bentos with your own stickers

Bento Challenge Week 4, Day 4

As I’ve stated here on these pages several times, while I greatly admire the artistry and skill of kyaraben/charaben artists, I rarely have the time to do such cute things. Not that I don’t like to get artsy and crafty - I do. But there are much easier ways of doing that. Why bother with cute touches to your bentos? Why, to put a smile on someone’s face of course, including your own. continue reading...

Bento Filler: Fennel Salad (Fennel no Shiomomi)

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This is such an easy recipe that it’s barely a recipe at all, but it’s very versatile and quick, so here it is. Fennel bulb has so much flavor on its own that you only need to add a minimal amount of seasonings to make a tasty salad. This method of massaging crunchy vegetables with salt is called shiomomi (塩揉み)in Japanese, and is very useful for making fibrous vegetables easier to eat without having to cook them. continue reading...

Quick tip: Easy cute bento components with stickers

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No patience or time to make cute bentos? How about using stickers? continue reading...

Bento no. 51: Vegetarian chili and mini muffins

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 550 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5-10 minutes in the morning with pre-made components

Type: Vegetarian, not Japanese (Southwestern) continue reading...