Friday, May 16, 2014

Double Tier Bento Box Set Jewellunch

Cute, super compact, double tier bento box set!

It has everything you need to enjoy your lunch:  Two separate, lidded bento compartments, your choice of fork + spoon or chopsticks and a bento band to hold it all together.

Place rice in one compartment and okazu (things you eat with rice: chicken, sausage, egg, broccoli, cherry tomatoes) in the other compartment.
Use the upper box alone as an okazu box to take along with onigiri (rice balls), or for a small lunch.

The lower box nests inside the upper box, making it super-compact for carrying home and storage.

Size: S   
Upper+Lower Compartment Capacity:  500mL    
Outer dimensions: width 160mm x height 83mm x width 80mm
Upper compartment:  320mL  (inner dimensions 150x70mm)   
Lower compartment:  180mL (145x65mm)

Microwave safe for reheating (with all lids removed) and heat resistant to 120°C /248°F.  
(Lids not heat resistant.)
Not for use with soupy foods - not watertight.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to Make Easy Bento Lunches from Leftovers

Bento lunches in under 5 minutes...
(See my original post for simple instructions for How to Make Super-Easy Japanese Bento Lunches)

 Nearly two years ago I told you about how lazy I am about making my husband's bento lunch...
...every morning.
Unexpectedly, that post ended up becoming the most popular on my blog.
What does this mean?

Perhaps it means that there are a lot of people, just as busy as I am!
We still want to make delicious and healthy bento lunches, but don't want to spend more than five minutes on it.

I'm not a crazy bento mama.  I don't get up at 4 am to make decoben.
(I don't know how anyone can find time to do that and live a normal life!)

I just save heaps of time and money by packing my husband's lunch.

One of the easiest ways to make a bento lunch in 2-5 minutes is to just pack leftovers.  Here are a few photos of things I have used in my husband's lunches.  
(I will be doing posts for all the recipes, so stay tuned♡)

Top:     Teriyaki Chiken Bento with shredded cabbage
Does it get any easier than this?  I often make a large batch of chicken teriyaki and freeze half of it to use in bento lunches, pizzas, salads, anything! Recipe coming soon!

Nagoya Tebasaki Bento
My husband is from Aichi so this is one of his favorite dinners, and bento!  (And one of mine too)  
Recipe to come soon!

...I hope I'm not looking to lazy here...

Calamari Bento with Mini Hamburg/ Hambaagu

Tonjiru and Meatball Bento
 Tonjiru means "Pork Soup".  Those two silicone cups are filled with Tonjiru minus the broth (drained on paper towel).  Soup is NOT a bento food, but I just included this one to show you can turn anything into bento filling!  And those are asian style meatballs from the freezer, just to make it too easy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kuri Kinton

A sweet paste of candied chestnut and Japanese sweet potato, kurikinton has a unique, delicate flavour that is enjoyed by adults and also makes a yummy treat for my kids.

As a part of New Year celebrations, its golden colour makes it a symbol of wealth and prosperity in the coming year.

If you can't get Japanese sweet candied chestnut, just make it with sweet potato.  It is still delicious and will look good in your New Year juubako box.

It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.


400~500g Japanese sweet potato (deep purple skin, yellow flesh) Called "satsumaimo" in Japanese
1 Jar of Japanese sweet candied chestnut.
a pinch of salt

1-2 Tbsp mirin
up to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on sweetness of sweet potato

1.  Cook and peel the sweet potato:  Peel the skin, chop roughly and place in a saucepan with just enough water to cover them.  Boil until soft.  Drain water.
2.  Mash sweet potato with a potato masher.   Gradually add the syrup from the jar of sweet candied chestnut.  Keep mashing until very smooth.
3.  To get it extra smooth, scoop it into a strainer and press through with a spatula, returning it to the saucepan.
4.  Place over low heat and keep stirring and kneading with the spatula.  Add salt, mirin and sugar to taste.  The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the sweet potato.  In Japan the sweet potatoes are quite sweet so I only added about 2 Tbsp mirin and no sugar.  In Australia, the sweet potatoes were not as sweet, so I added about 1/2 cup sugar. Add chestnuts and keep stirring over low heat for another minute.

Serve at room temperature.

Japanese sweet potatoes (satsumaimo) and jar of yellow candied chestnuts:


Just scoop onto a small individual serving plate.


To make into chestnut-shaped balls like mine, place a heaped tablespoon into the centre of a large sqare of plastic wrap.  Bring the edges of the wrap together and twist together at the top, to create a chestnut shape.  Refrigerate until an hour before serving.

I like serving it this way as it is easier to serve individual portions, and I like the neat look.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tazukuri Osechi Recipe - Sweet Dried Fish

Tazukuri is quick and super easy to prepare, and keeps well in the refrigerator for weeks.  (Not that it ever lasts that long in our home!)  It's one of the Osechi Ryori New Year side dishes, but it also makes a tasty and healthy snack that can be enjoyed anytime, on it's own or as a side dish in a meal with rice.

The name "tazukuri" means "making rice fields".  Anciently, these tiny dried fish were used as fertilizer in rice fields and helped to bring in an "abundant harvest".  This has become the symbolic reason they are part of the New Year celebration.

Our family all love the little dried fish even without cooking them, so making them into Tazukuri just makes them disappear even faster!  I think the addition of walnuts is a relatively recent thing, not everyone adds them, but we love walnuts, so in they go~

Tazukuri Recipe

100g Small Dried Fish
4 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Mirin
2 Tbsp Sake
2 Tbsp Shoyu

A sprinkling of Sesame Seeds  (optional)
A small handful of walnuts  (optional)

1.  Toast walnuts by placing them in a frypan and gently heat, stirring, until fragrant.  Tip onto a plate.
2.  Wipe frypan clean, then toast dried fish in a similar manner until crispy.  Tip onto a plate.
3.  Wipe frypan again, then place sugar, mirin, sake and shoyu in frypan over low heat and swirl to dissolve sugar.  Gently bring to the boil, simmer 1 min, then remove from heat.
4.  Add fish, walnuts and sesame seeds to the frypan, toss to coat well.
5.  Tip onto an oiled plate and toss again.  (The oil is just to prevent too much stickiness)

In our osechi ryori box, top right corner:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Kohaku Namasu

Houhaku Namasu is a simple side dish consisting of lightly pickled daikon radish and carrot.  It is a traditional part of New Year Osechi Ryori, but it is great as a side dish any time of year.  As it contains vinegar and salt, it stores well in the refrigerator for a few days.  I love the refreshingly light, crunchy texture.

Ingredients (for one medium sized bowlful) :
1-2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (any vinegar will do if you're desperate)
3 Tbsp sugar
Sesame seeds (optional)

1.  Peel and slice the daikon and carrot into thin matchsticks.
2.  Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat.  Let it sit for an hour or so (covered, in refrigerator) until the carrot and daikon have softened.
3.  Drain the liquid and add vinegar and sugar to the daikon and carrot, toss well, let it sit for another half hour.
4.  Drain excess liquid and serve sprinkled with sesame seeds if desired.

I usually make a large batch and keep it in the fridge.  I should take pictures of how I slice the daikon and carrot, since it's hard to clearly explain in words... stay tuned... I'll be right back ^_^

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year Food - Osechi Ryori

Happy New Year!
Akemashite Omedetou!

New year's is an exciting time in the Japanese food calendar.
It is a time for families and extended families gather together to celebrate with traditions that have continued for hundreds of years.

The food tradition is called Osechi Ryori.
Osechi Ryori consists of multiple dishes, each with their symbolic meanings to bring blessings throughout the new year and into the future.
The dishes are traditionally prepared on the days leading up to New Year's day, so they can be kept for at least a few days.  Some dishes keep well for a month, refrigerated, and can be served at any time of year, celebratory or not, as side dishes or snacks.

At other times of the year, these kinds of foods would be eaten as okazu with rice, but for New Year's, mochi is the staple, and usually served as part off a soup called Ozoni.

These are some pictures of our simple home-made New Year's food for this year.  Over the next few days I will be posting recipes for each of the dishes.

 For our little family:   

What I made for my in-laws:
Nishime (The large dish of seasoned cooked vegetables)

(see below)

Bought, just sliced up:
Kamaboko (pink and white fish cake)
Datemaki  (Yellow rolled omelete including fish paste)

 Tazukuri - candied small dried fish, symbolising abundant harvest

Kurikinton - a paste of sweet chestnuts and sweet potato, symbolising wealth

Houhaku Namasu - Lightly pickled daikon radish and carrot, the red carrot and white radish being colours of celebration.

Kuromame - Sweet black beans, symbolising health