As always it's been crazy and getting time to cook has not really happened for me. I'm just glad I've had two posts in a row about food I've cooked even if there's been a long break.
It's been a while since I've done a Japanese traditional bento and I figure why not. Most everything I cooked was from a blog that helped inspire me when I first got started on this blog, Just Bento and sister blog Just Hungry. She's got a lot of wonderful recipes and even produced a book. Lots of great tips that I've followed (even applying to non Japanese foods). I've posted links to the recipes.
For the main dish I made Chicken Nanban. I used chicken thigh meat and went with using my fryer since I had so much chicken to make. The original recipe called for pan frying, I'm not sure if using the fryer was actually worse or better in terms how healthy the dish is.
Immediately after frying you cool the chicken in the Nanban sauce, which is a sweet, soy sauce mixture (I omitted the pepper one of my bento-ers is heat adverse this time). The texture was very interesting obviously not at all crunchy rather a spongy texture and a pleasant sweet sour flavor, not sweet and sour pork radioactive pink kind of super sweet but definitely cuts the fat of the fried chicken. But by soaking the chicken right after frying the sauce does a good job permeating the chicken pretty uniformly.
For a side dish I've really wanted to try this Stir Fried Konnyaku dish. I ditched the tuna and went with green onions, garlic chives tend to be an acquired taste and pretty foreign to an American palate. Konnyaku is a really interesting ingredient, it's made from the flour of the elephant yam plant. It has zero calories, super high fiber, no flavor, and the texture of a firm gelatin (has a definite "snap"). It's used as part of a weight loss "diet" cooking. Kind of like tofu you either have to cook it by itself with the sauce (to absorb) or have a lot of sauce in the dish so it can take on the flavor of the dish. Here I sautéed it in soy sauce first and then cooked the bean sprouts and onion. If you follow the link above there's a bit more information on Konnyaku.
A quick sesame pickle. My version usually has garlic, which can be a bit over powering. I made this dish the night before because I think the flavors really soak in and develop with some extra time. And it got better the following day so doing it two days ahead wouldn't be a bad thing.
The rice was something I put together when I found this great Roasted Seaweed and sesame seasoning. I just fried the rice a bit and tossed in the seaweed. I think this would have been better fresh (the seaweed would have been crispy) but the flavor was nice all around. Usually in a bento the rice would have been shaped (onigiri) but the rest of the box was meant to be served atop the rice so I left it as is.
I have a backlog of posts that I've been wanting to put up, hopefully I am able to dig out some free time and get some extra posts in. Thanks for hanging in there for me.
- Chicken Nanban
- Rice with Roasted Seaweed and Sesame
- Soy Sesame Pickle
- Stir fried Konnyaku with bean sprouts and green onions.