February 2009

All the content on this site by month.

My Goodness, so much new stuff!

  • Posted on: 24 February 2009
  • By: Eleven Clovers
So things are suddenly rather strange for me. But let’s start with something nice. I was out at a BODIES exhibition yesterday, and in between queuing and touching hearts I bought myself some silicon muffin cups! Yay! ^_^ I was actually trying to buy a muffin tin, but they were too big to fit in my oven, so I bought the muffin cups instead, then I got home and remembered ‘Hey! Bento accessory!’ Anyway, they fit very nicely into my box, but they’re not very sunny – grey seems to be the only colour of silicon around here. And blue, but only oven mitts come in blue.

A Japanese Life of Bento


Bentos are just starting to penetrate the consciousness of people outside of Japan, though judging from the growing interest in bento sites like this one and several others, it's definitely trending up. However, the bento or obento (the more polite honorific term) in its many guises is an integral part of life in Japan. Here are the many different types of bento that a typical Japanese person might eat at different stages of life.


  • Posted on: 23 February 2009
  • By: anon.
No entry today. My husband was sick so he stayed home and it was silly to pack bentos that were going to be eaten at home. The good thing was that he was the one who cooked today, so I could sleep a little more this morning :)

Shrimp Tatsutaage: Japanese Crispy Fried Shrimp


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.

Goo Balls for Moonshae, a.k.a. Banh Troi

  • Posted on: 19 February 2009
  • By: Eleven Clovers
A while back I was browsing through the photos on the Just Bento Pool on flickr and came across one of moonshae’s bentos with an icky goo ball filled with ground black sesame seed. Or something of the sort. Anyway, I did promise I would make some nice sugar-filled ones once my exams were over, so here they are! Haha, ok these aren’t cooked yet.

#3 - 20090218

  • Posted on: 18 February 2009
  • By: anon.
I remembered to unfreeze the rice so we could have rice today for lunch. I must say Maki's tip for freezing rice works extremely good. To be honest, I doubted the rice would taste good but now I see I was completely mistaken. Arigatô Maki-san! ^^
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#2 - 20090217

  • Posted on: 17 February 2009
  • By: anon.
I forgot to take out the frozen rice I made on sunday (again) so I had to cook pasta again!... So it was almost the same bento as yesterday but it was tastier as I didn't forget to add the dressings this time ;)
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Vegan Mochi Tofu Nuggets


I was inspired to make these little nuggets of vegan goodness by a recipe for mochi chicken that was posted in the forums by member SojoMojo. He says that mochi chicken is a common dish in Hawaii; he grew up eating them and now loves to use them in his bentos. (As I learn more about Hawaiian cuisine, I realize that it departs from Japanese cuisine in many interesting ways, even if many of its roots are in Japan.) The mochi flour, cornstarch and egg batter produces a coating that is hard and crispy on the outside, and soft and mochi-like on the inside. Chicken lovers should try his recipe for sure!

For this vegan variation, I've used kouya dofu, or free-dried tofu. See an indepth description of kouya dofu. You can find it in the dried goods section of a Japanese grocery store, and it should be pretty inexpensive. It keeps indefinitely in the pantry, making it a great item to stock. If you can't get hold of kouya dofu, see the notes below about how to use regular tofu you've frozen yourself. I've also eliminated the egg from the coating, but the flavor-filled liquid in the pre-cooked tofu still produces a nice soft mochi-like interior.

As with all the vegan-protein recipes I post here, this tastes delicious to omnivores like myself too. As a matter of fact, when I packed a bento recently for the self-professed "bovo-vegetarian" in the house recently with these nuggets together with something meaty, he said he preferred these a lot more!

Bento Challenge Week 5: My Report

Bento Challenge Week 5, Day 1Bento Challenge Week 5, Day 2Bento Challenge Week 5, Day 3Bento Challenge Week 5, Day 4Bento Challenge Week 5, Day 5

My thoughts on the fifth and final week of the Get Started Bento Challenge.

Miso Tamago (Miso Marinated Eggs)


Joining the list of delicious things to do with the humble hardboiled egg alongside soy sauce eggs and lazy easy tea eggs, are these delicately beige, utterly delicious eggs marinated in miso. They don't have the burnished brown color of soy sauce eggs, but are just as, if not more, delicious. And they get tastier the longer you let them marinate.

They are very easy to make, if a bit messy. They last in the refrigerator for up to a week, so are a nice staple to have and eat over the course of a few days.

Good miso is expensive, so this recipe uses as little miso as possible while still doing the job.


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

Very Easy Marinated Chicken Skewers


The chicken recipes here on Just Bento are always very popular. And why not? Chicken is relatively inexpensive, cooks fast, and is fairly low-fat if you trim it judiciously.

This very simple Asian-fusionesque flavored marinated chicken breast recipe can be made without the skewers, but it's just that much more fun, and somehow seems to taste better, if you put it on a stick.

Today, yesterday and tomorrow

  • Posted on: 11 February 2009
  • By: wisdom goddess born
Yesterday's lunch while brown was fulfilling. I enjoy the tastes and the combo, although I don't really care for frozen veggies. They are convenient though. I got some instant response to my dilemna of still being hingry and so I realize I need to ask for help form time to time.

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.

How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I really, really don't need any more bento boxes. But when I spotted these incredibly adorable little onigiri boxes, I just couldn't resist.


Since I have adopted them, it's a good opportunity to show how to use this type of single-onigiri box.

Get Started Bento Challenge: Week 5


Welcome to the 5th and final week of the Getting Started Bento Challenge!

Where did the time go? For me, the Challenge weeks have just flown by!

Since this is the last week, the focus is on: Putting it all together, and moving forward.

Stuck between Panic and Procrastination: Week 4 Wrap-up

  • Posted on: 8 February 2009
  • By: Eleven Clovers
Why am I here? I should be disconnecting myself from the internet and being a good girl and reading up on Lenin and orbital hybridisation and proving trigonometric identities. But alas, I am the Lazy Bum Queen, and so I am sitting here procrastinating. I swear, I’ll just post this wrap-up and I’ll go study. Dead honest.

Bento Challenge Week 4: My Report

Bento challenge Week 4, Day 1Bento challenge Week 4, Day 2Bento challenge Week 4, Day 3Bento Challenge Week 4, Day 4Bento Challenge Week 4, Day 5

My Week 4 was quite interesting and relevatory for me. More below...

Bento archive list (3)

A list of bentos from no. 61 onwards featured so far on Just Bento.


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!

Bento Filler: Fennel Salad (Fennel no Shiomomi)


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.


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.

Bento sized mini-meatloaves


Who doesn't love a meatloaf? (If you eat meat, that is.) Sliced leftover meatloaf is great in sandwiches, and it's also very nice in a bento box. Meatloaves also freeze very well, since they have a moistness to them.

While I do like to make a big meatloaf now and then, I also like to make these mini-sized meatloaves specifically for the bento freezer stash. I often reserve a couple for dinner, and wrap and freeze the rest.

You could use your own favorite meatloaf recipe for this, but here is one in case you need it. The key point here is the size, perfect for bento boxes and sandwiches.

bento backlog

  • Posted on: 4 February 2009
  • By: zora
Here are our bento from the last few days.... Last Friday, 1/30, we had the rest of the tuna-tofu-miso miniburgers, along with leftover quinoa that had been stirfried with soy sauce, sesame oil, onions and red peppers (top tier), and the rest of the broccoli stalk and carrot kinpira, a hardboiled egg, and sweet chili sauce (bottom tier). You can also see a peek of my husband's non-cute plain white 2-tier bento in the lower left corner!

A Not-Traditionally-Japanese bento idea

Monday - Wednesday for the hubs

(Photo courtesy of juanknowsspanish)

In keeping with this week's Challenge topic, here is a great idea for a bento-that-is-not-a-bento from the flickr pool.

Get Started Bento Challenge: Week 4


Welcome to Week 4 of the 5 week Getting Started Bento Challenge! This week's focus is: Making bentos for others.