Ochazuke Bento

Ochazuke Bento, simple but delicious!

ochazuke chazuke bento

Ochazuke

Hilary of the JapanCAN(ada)Mix blog reminded me the other day about this very simple, but brilliant dish. And when, on that same day, Nami of Just One Cookbook, posted a recipe for Ochazuke on her blog, I just knew I had to turn it into a Bento!

Ochazuke literally means submerged tea, and it’s a simple Japanese dish made by pouring green tea over cooked rice with various toppings. You can buy ready made packets of toppings at Japanese grocery stores, they come in different flavours and you just need to add hot water instead of tea, but it is very easy to make your own.

The first time that I ate this dish, was when my sorority was given a Japanese cookbook by a visiting sorority and we cooked a dinner for them using some of the recipes. I can still remember the stunned faces when I produced a tea pot and started to pour tea over the cooked rice. As I was completely new to the dish myself, I wasn’t at all sure how much tea was needed, or how it was going to taste, but it was surprisingly good.

I am very happy that Hilary and Nami reminded me of this dish, and whilst I have never made it into a Bento before (I usually eat this as an easy quick meal late at night or when I am too lazy to properly cook something), it is actually very suitable for a packed lunch.

Here is my Ochazuke Bento when packed:

ochazuke bento

As you can see, I used my Black + Blum Bento lunchpot. It’s very practical for this kind of lunch because you can use it in the microwave. The larger compartment holds cooked rice. On top of the rice, I placed a small container with some cooked salted salmon and spring onion. The smaller compartment has all the dry ingredients: some nori cut in small strips – I used the Korean flavoured version as this adds some extra flavour to the dish. There are also some sesame seeds, and a pinch of wasabi powder. I kept the rice cracker packed, but next time I think I will pre-crumble it as I had crumbs all over my desk…. There is also a little bottle of soy sauce and of course green tea! No Ochazuke without tea!!

I packed it up in the morning. When I was ready to eat it, I just took out the salmon container, heated up the rice in the microwave, and put all the toppings on top of the rice. Finally I made the green tea and poured it over the rice :-)

Itadakimasu!

Ladybird Bento

Is it Ladybird or Ladybug? Well, there are 4 in this picture!lady bird bento made from tomato and nori with a nori egg dice

 This is made using my new lunch box (see previous post)

The body of the ladybird (it’s ladybird in the UK, but ladybug in the USA)  is made from a tomato, with nori details.  I made the head from some rice with nori and added two food picks for the antenna. I also had some ladybird food picks and decoration that added some nice detail.

Ladybirds are identified by the number of spots, and I seem to have read somewhere that the spots are always symmetrically. This new variety :-), the Tomato Lady bird has 12!

I used the left over spots to create a dice from a hard boiled square egg (using my egg cube shaper). The rest of the bento contains some chicken, salad leaves, carrot and cucumber flowers.

Salad & new lunch box (preview)

The last few days have been so hot & humid (between thunderstorms) that on some days I just made a very simple salad for lunch.

Eggs, cucumber, tomato, carrot and cress:

image

The picture doesn’t show it clearly, but I used the Sistema salad to go box (see also here),  but without the insert this time. The bowl is quite deep, so this was quite a large (if boring) salad.

I also want to show you a new lunch box that I found in Paperchase! I’m addicted to buying  lunch boxes and bento accessories my collection is growing!….

I tend to buy most of my Bento accessories online (Bento & Co is great, so is CasaBento and JapanCentre also has a selection) or at the Korean supermarket, but sometimes I find Bento stuff in other shops as well.

It seems that large stationery chains such as Paperchase are stocking more and more lunch boxes and related things, aside from the one I bought, they also had a 2-layered one, but I didn’t like the pattern on that one.

I chose the swallow snack box because it has a clip & close lid, which should make it leak proof (haven’t tested it yet) and also because it has a divider and came with cutlery on a little tray (the little tray insert rests on the ridge in the box (if that makes sense).

And of course because I liked the colour and decoration!

I will soon make a Bento using this lunchbox ;-)

new lunchbox

Please note that I have not been asked nor paid to mention any of these companies

Cherries in my Bento

Recently we went to the local Pick Your Own farm and picked 2.5 kg of cherries!

Most ended up being made into jam, but enough survived to be added to my Bento:

a colourful bento with cherries and yellow tomatoes

I just love cherries, could eats loads of them! Only wish that pitting them was easier…my kitchen needed a good scrub after my de-pitting-jam-session…

The Pick Your Own Farm also has a great farm shop, where I bought these pretty orange cherry tomatoes. Those, the cherries, radish and broccoli add such nice colours to my lunch.

They also counter act the beige colours of my chicken pieces (right hand container, with rice and salad) and boiled egg (left container). The boiled egg is actually a boiled-egg-in-soysauce. I saw this recipe on Momandsisters, and made it yesterday (but halved the recipe).  Before I put the boiled egg in the sauce, I shaped it in one of my egg shapers, but the details sort of lost it shape…In case you’re wondering…it’s supposed to be a fish….

Lazy Dosirak zzzz

Lazy bento dosirak banchan dishes zzz

 Zzz…

A very quick and easy to make Dosirak as I used the same side dishes as for my Tour de France lunch,

so that’s why I call this a lazy Dosirak!

The only extra effort I made was adding a few cucumber hearts, some radishes and of course some carrot ZZZ’sss

The side dishes are:

Sookju namul (beansprout salad)

Odeng bokkum (spicy fish cake)

Musangche (radish salad)

Congjaban (sweet and salty soybeans)

Tour de France!

After Football & Wimbledon, it’s now time for the Tour de France!

bento dosirak lunch tour de france nori bike yellow and red polka dot jersey

You might all be thinking I’m a big sports person, but nothing could be further from the truth! I’m not sportive at all, contrary, I’m actually very lazy, and I don’t watch much sport either, aside from occasionally rugby or tennis or when the Olympics were in London (in 2012).

But I do find some of the events a good inspiration to be a bit more creative with my lunches. As you might have noticed I’m trying on my blog to show a mix of work day lunchboxes (which don’t take a lot of time to put together, max 15-20 minutes) and creative lunches (on days when I have more time and/or inspiration).

In this case,  the most time consuming was cutting out the bike (I used the same nori sheet technique as with the Wimbledon tennis racket) and making egg sheets for the Yellow and Polka Dot Jerseys. The polka dots are cut out from radish.

Side dishes are (from left to right):

Sookju namul (beansprout salad), Odeng bokkum (spicy fish cake), Musangche (radish salad), some edamame beans and Congjaban (sweet and salty soybeans). With the exception of the Sookju namul, the others are bought ready made at the Korean supermarket. I did make the Sookju namul myself, it’s very simple, I had just forgotten how long it takes to properly clean beansprouts!

Sookju namul (beansprout salad):

1 bag of bean sprouts (I forgot to look how much it weighted, I think about 750 gram uncleaned), wash and clean. After cleaning you are left with about 500 gram.

Boil the bean sprouts for 3-4 minutes in salted water & drain well.

Mix with: 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1-2 finely chopped spring onion, 1 tbsp sesame seeds.

 

 

 

Onjigeo Bokkeum

This time no lunch, but dinner!

I made this spicy stir fried Korean squid for my dinner today, and wanted to share this as it’s very easy and quick to make and very good!

The recipe I used is one from Korean Bapsang, although I made a few small changes. I used some different vegetables and left out the chillies, I think the dish is spicy enough with the Gochujang and Gochugaru. I also bought my squid ready cleaned and scored from the Korean supermarket.

Here are my veggies in the frying pan. On the left my squid marinating plus the spring onion waiting to be added.

Spicy stir fried squid

And the end result! Mjammie!

Korean spicy stir fried squid served

Hello Kitty Egg!

Recently I found a Hello Kitty egg mould in a shop so of course, that had to be used for my Bento!

Bento with hello kitty egg

I used the mould to shape a hard boiled egg, and added some details with nori and radish. Next time I will try to use the mould to shape some rice, so that have different versions, but I was a bit time limited today. This bento also contains rice (obviously), carrot, mini corn, cucumber, radish and tomato. The other protein source is some salmon and some prawns.

The little lion bottle has some soy sauce.

I love egg moulds, they are a fun and easy way to add extra decoration to your lunch!

 

 

Veggie Bento

This time I thought to make a vegetarian Bento

Bento lunch with vegetables vegetarian

I had again plenty of vegetables and I wanted to create a healthy lunch!

So, on a bed of rice, I have mini corn, edamame, runner beans, radish and carrot flowers. In the other compartment more veggies: cherry tomatoes, pickled radish, cucumber, more radish and in the container some Gochujang.

Actually, given that the pickled radish, gochujang and also the seasoned seaweed on the side are all Korean, this should be a Dosirak!

Anyway, I felt very good eating this, and it definitely contributed to my 5 (7) a day!

Bulgogi again

dosirak bento with pork bulgogi

My Dosirak today has kimchi, broccoli, Korean egg roll, pork Bulgogi and rice The Korean egg roll is very easy to make, just a simple omelet with some added chopped carrot. Just before the egg is fully cooked, add a sheet of kim (seaweed) and roll up it. Once cooled, cut it in 1.5 inch pieces ready to be added to your lunch box!

It looks like there is quite a lot of meat in my lunch, but the picture is deceptive. There is a lot of lettuce under the pork, the pork itself are just a few slices cut in small pieces. I marinate these overnight and pan fry them quickly in the morning.

A very quick to make Dosirak and very tasty!