Bento no. 2: Chicken and vegetable donburi-style bento
- Brown rice (1 cup, 220 calories)
- Chicken and vegetable stir-fry (250 calories)
- Glazed baby carrots (50 calories)
Total calories (approx.): 520 calories (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 15-20 minutes
A donburi is a bowl of rice with various savory toppings. This bento is donburi-style, since all the savory things are piled on top of a bed of rice. All the juices in the chicken and vegetables run down into the rice, so by lunchtime it's all very tasty. You may want to bring along a spoon as well as chopsticks or a fork to eat this.
There are only just 2 elements to this bento besides the rice, so it only takes 15 minutes if you can prep the vegetables the night before. As usual, the rice is pre-cooked in a timer-set rice cooker or frozen.Allow 20 if you need to do it in the morning. Vary the vegetables in the stir fry according to what you have on hand.
I saw these tiny organic carrots at the market and I couldn't resist them. I got the idea for the spicy glazing from a Michelin-starred restaurant, but it's quick and easy nevertheless.
To make this bento vegan, substitute a vegetarian protein for the chicken.
For the chicken and vegetable stir fry:
- Approx. 3 oz / 100 g piece of chicken breast
- Green onions
- Piece of fresh ginger
- Variety of vegetables - here I have used red peppers, bean sprouts, Chinese broccoli
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil
- Salt and pepper
For the carrots:
- 1 tsp. butter or oil such as canola
- 5 baby carrots, organic or peeled (the kind that comes in plastic bags)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. falafel spice mix (or use a garam masala instead)
- A dash of red pepper flakes
- A dash of soy sauce
Salt and pepper
1 cup pre-cooked rice, brown or white
- 2 small frying pans
- Electric water kettle
- Pack the rice in the bento box, covering the bottom of the box instead of pushed to the side as usual. Leave the lid open to let the rice cool.
- Fill the water kettle and switch on.
- Heat up the frying pans while you prep the vegetables.
- If you haven't done so, wash and cut up the vegetables. Chop up the ginger, and cut the rest into slices or bite size pieces.
- Put the carrots in one pan and cover with water, adding a little salt to the water. Let boil until tender.
- In the other pan, put in the sesame seed oil and add the ginger and green onions. Add the peppers, broccoli and other vegetables that take longer to cook. Add the bean sprouts last.
- When the carrots are tender, drain them off and return to the pan. Add the butter or the oil, sugar, soy sauce and spices. Toss around to coat.
- Cut up the chicken.
- Add the chicken to the stir-fry and cook through. Season with soy sauce and if necessary, salt and pepper. (don't over-salt!)
- Pile the stir fry on top of the rice. Arrange the carrots on top.
- Let cool a few minutes and then pack up the box.
The timeline illustrates how to proceed within the 20 minutes. (Click on the image for a larger version.)
As you can see, if you can prep the vegetables and the chicken in advance, you can shave off some minutes.