Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bentos Galore

Posts have been few and far between those past weeks, even though I've been cooking almost every day. For about two solid weeks, I've been living off bentos almost exclusively. Get this: I suddenly like rice. I KNOW!! Anyway, I've been having great fun with food that's absolutely delicious, and also visually pleasing. All the recipes I've used are from Just Bento, both the website and the book. Preparation is everything. A lot of the things that went in the box, I was able to prepare way beforehand. Here's an example.

Tier One: Rice with Furikake

For tier one, I prepared simple white rice. I don't usually like rice, but I've come to realise that I like Japanese rice. Just follow the instructions on the box. Pack the rice hot, add furikake for flavour. Furikake can be bought in all kinds of flavours in Japanese grocery stores. If none is nearby, you can make your own. The above website has several extremely tasty recipes, for example for sweet bacon. Mmmmmh... bacon. The furikake in the picture is Kimchi-flavoured.

Tier Two: Bell Pepper Kinpira and Edamame

Cook a handful of frozen, unshelled, edamame in slightly salted water. Only cook until they are hot, but not soft. Remove from the water, salt.

For the kinpira, slice a red bell pepper thinly and fry in a tablespoon of toasted dark sesame oil. When starting to get soft, add a tablespoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds. For added spice, add half a teaspoon of chili flakes. This can be stored in the fridge for a week.

Tier Three: Teriyaki Salmon with Carrots and Potatoes

The salmon is the thing that needs preparation, as the base is salted salmon. Salted salmon can be bought in Japanese grocery stores. If you want to make it yourself, here's how.
Buy salmon with skin. Salt it on all sides, then loosely wrap in kitchen paper, put in a colander. Place in the fridge for about three days. Turn every so often. 
Remove from fridge and paper towel, and fry the salmon in a non-stick pan until cooked on the outside. Remove from pan. Let the pan cool down a little. Then add a teaspoon each of honey, soy sauce, and mirin to the pan. Stir. Heat back up, and when the mixture is bubbling, put the salmon back in. Cook for another few minutes. By few, I mean very few. Turn, of course, so that all sides are covered. Sprinkle with black pepper.

For the veggies, just slice them into medium-thin bits and cook until soft. Or, you know, if you're as possessed as I am by now, slice them, then use your cute Japanese vegetable cutters and turn your carrots into cherry blossoms, and your potatoes into clouds. Then still cook. Aaaaah...

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