Tips and recipes for a safe, tasty boxed lunch
Making bento myself greatly helps in saving money while enjoying my favorite dishes every lunch. Preparing a bento may be considered time-consuming and bothersome to prepare, especially in the busy morning, but the following tips can make it easier and more fun!
1. Tips for making the perfect bento box:
Tip 1: Minimize cooking time: I usually cook food and freeze it in advance.
Tip 2: Use foods and seasonings that won’t spoil easily: I usually include umeboshi (pickled plum), ginger and vinegar.
Tip 3: Drain moisture before packing: I always keep bento box open until steam and moisture evaporate.
Tip 4: Be sure to cook foods well, especially eggs (so foods will last longer)
Tip 5: When you don’t have time, use precooked frozen stuff to simplify your cooking process.
2. To arrange foods attractively in the box:
Divide the bento box into three parts - regular side dishes, entrée and a-la-carte dishes. Here are some of my dish samples for each:
Regular side dishes (Cook and preserve them in refrigerator when you have time).
a. Burdock with deep-fried tofu
b. Sautéed mushrooms and kidney beans with butter, garlic and soy sauce with batter, garlic and soy sauce
c. Sautéed bell pepper and Paprika with bonito flakes
Entrée (meat and fish)
d. Grilled pork and asparagus with ginger sauce
e. Sautéed salmon in soy sauce
f. Hamburger steak with beefsteak plant leaves
g. Soy-flavored omelet
h. Boiled pumpkin
i. Asparagus wrapped with bacon
One last tip to simplify preparation:
use plastic wrap.
Although it’s not as attractive, I usually lay plastic wrap inside my bento box to help prevent the smells of the different foods and sauces from clinging to the box. It also helps to keep it cleaner.
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