Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June 10th Bento

Have I mentioned that I love banana leaves? BF used them last night on the barbecue and it was phenomenal. For supper he made some sort of coconut milk-curry-ginger-cayenne rice in banana leaf packets with bites of seasoned lamb. We made a couple of little ones for the bentos as well of course (it's in the top center). You can't really tell from the picture but the rice was crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and all stuck together sort of like rice loaf. I wasn't sure I would like crunchy rice because I thought it would just taste like uncooked rice, but it wasn't like that at all. The texture was actually really nice.

I also got to try out a recipe from a Vietnamese cookbook I ordered from Amazon a couple weeks ago, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen (Highly recommend!! I added it to the carousel in the left panel of the blog). It's called Chuoi Nuong and the basic idea is you take a chunk of banana and wrap it in some coconut rice mixed with shredded coconut. Wrap the whole thing in a banana leaf and fire up the grill. As you can see, the banana leaf gets kind of brittle on the barbecue, so I removed it before putting this and the curry rice in the bento.

No joke, Chuoi Nuong is quite possibly my new favorite food now (if only I knew how to say it). It was unbelievably delicious and I will be very sad when I can no longer get banana leaves because I want to eat this every day.

Both of the rice dishes were made the night before and kept overnight in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. In the morning I removed the banana leaf and put them straight into the bento and the texture of the rice was still perfect by lunch time.

For a little bit more meat, there are three homemade pork shu mai, and just the standard veggies (I was running out of room!), although I did manage to sneak some steamed gai lon under the curry rice.

For fruit there are raspberries (red and white), cherries, strawberries (buried in there somewhere), some apricot bites, a couple of slices of kumquat along the bottom wall and a container of pomegranate seeds. I was just going to use a few of the pomegranate seeds to decorate the bento, but then I ate one and remembered just how much I love them, so it ended up being a whole dish full. Dessert is a (store bought) daifuku filled with red bean paste.

As far as lunches go, this was definitely one of the yummiest yet!!


cee said...

Hey, I'm enjoying the bento blog a great deal. I don't know which kind of store you found banana leaves at, but in case you hadn't tried this: most Mexican / Hispanic grocery stores, and supermarkets with a Mexican section, have frozen pre-portioned banana leaves in a cooler somewhere. They're used to wrap tamales.