Monday, August 11, 2008

August 11th Bento Lunch

I've been watching a lot of Iron Chef on YouTube. Omg what a fun show! It's kind of renewed my zest for trying new Japanese recipes and cooking techniques so I've been incorporating a lot more Japanese food in my non-bento meals. I'm discovering all kinds of wonderful food combinations. Loving it! Since I'm not working at the moment, it's a lot more important to me to make sure that I'm preparing lots of healthy, well balanced meals so that BF and I are well fed. I figured it's the least I can do.

I took today's picture in natural light instead of with flash in the kitchen and I think it washed out the colours a bit. Everything didn't look so white in real life! Well at least I know for next time.
BF had some disappointing seafood udon at a restaurant yesterday, so I had planned to make some delicious yakiudon (fried noodles) for bento today to make up for it. To my dismay however, I realized this morning that I'm completely out of udon noodles. So I used somen noodles instead (yakisomen?). They're a smaller, flat noodle, so I fried them for a much shorter time and it still turned out pretty yummy.

To make them, I fried up some chunks of chicken breast in a little canola with salt and pepper while boiling the noodles for three minutes. Then I added another tablespoon or so of canola oil to the chicken (to keep the noodles from sticking together) and threw in chives, red pepper pieces and the somen noodles. Once it had fried for about a minute I added about 1 Tbsp each of sake and soy sauce (my favorite seasonings for fried noodles) and fried for about a minute more.

At the very top of the bento is some sauteed gobo (burdock root) and carrot julienne. For gobo, you want to first peel it and soak it in cold water for a bit, and then drain before you use it. I sauteed the gobo and carrot in a bit of sesame oil and then added some mirin and soy sauce. It turned out a bit too salty for my taste (the gobo really sucks up the flavor!) so next time I will use less soy sauce.

Keeping with the soy theme, I also made some soy quail eggs. To make them, I first hard boiled the eggs (three and a half minutes) and then put them in a ziplock bag along with a mixture of two parts soy sauce, one part rice vinegar and one part sugar for about an hour (BF is working the night shift this week so I don't have to have the bentos ready until late in the morning). I made four eggs, but I only used one in this bento lunch, sliced in half with a small dot of cream cheese on the yolk. They are sharp and salty and really yummy!

There are three home made gyoza as well from a batch I made last week.

I balanced all of these sharp flavours with lots of fresh fruit and lightly steamed veggies. The vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower and sugar snaps. The fruit are strawberries, blueberries, honey tangerine segments and yellow kiwi flowers. There is a chocolate seashell for dessert.


Holly M. Wendt said...

Looks great! I keep forgetting about noodles as a bento item (despite having bought a package of soba noodles just for bentos), and this is a good reminder.

Jacki said...

Hi Sheffie!

Noodles are my favorite, I like them better than onigiri. I find it tricky to make them look nice though, so I don't use them a whole lot.

Soba noodles are such a yummy bento item! I like to freeze the dipping sauce for them and pack them together so that by lunch the sauce has thawed and the noodles are nice and cold.