March 19, 2008

Bento fun!

At the moment I've got an ongoing fascination with Asian food, with a real hankering for those lovely strong, clean flavours. I've also discovered the wonderful, and fun, world of Bento ( Japanese, meaning meal in a box ). There are so many blogs out there dealing solely with Bento. One I particularly like is Just Bento. I love the whole idea of the simplicity, mixed with the visual appeal; some Bento boxes I've seen are real works of art, like this one here - and like a lot of things japanese, there is a cuteness overload........not that I'm complaining!

So, fired up with enthusiasm for my new-found infatuation I bought a Bento box, complete with cutlery and belt, and some cute 'Hello Kitty' pots for the soy sauce condiment. I know, but I just couldn't resist them in all their pink cuteness....not to mention the character moulds for making eggs shaped like rabbits and fish!

My Bento box for today is nowhere near as artistic as some, and a bit of a hybrid, but I thought it looked quite pretty....Teryaki Salmon on mixed salad in the top layer, and sushi rice with grated cucumber and a dressing of Apple Cider vinegar. Cider vinegar might sound a bit weird, but it really cuts through the starchiness of the sushi rice, and the combination of the sweet, salty, garlicky salmon with the soft rice, and the cool, clean-tasting cucumber really works!

...........and even better - it's good for you too!

Teryaki Salmon

(Recipe by Alfie)

For the marinade:

Half a 16oz bottle of soy sauce (or use Tamari to make this Gluten-free)

3 cloves garlic

half a teaspoon of ginger

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons of sake or cooking sherry

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and put into a shallow dish. Put the salmon into the marinade - I found this was enough for 3 large pieces of salmon - cover and chill for four to eight hours.

When needed, cook in a moderate oven 180C / Gas 4 for about 20 minutes, spooning over the remaining marinade occasionally to stop it from drying out. Or, alternatively you can grill the fish, although I find this does tend to catch a little this way because of the high sugar content.

This is lovely and refreshing served with rice - sushi / brown, or even garlic rice, and a crunchy vegetable like carrot sticks, grated cucumber, or mangetout. We like Carrot Kinpira which is carrots cut into matchsticks and cooked in sesame oil until soft. Then you add soy sauce, and sesame seeds (and a little brown sugar if you like it really sweet!) cook a little longer to allow the flavours to develop, and then serve warm.

This style of food is so simple to do, but really delicious!


Pixie said...

I'd love to try making bento lunches but always seem to continue with sandwiches and soups! I should do it at least to have an excuse to purchase a cute bento box.

LyB said...

That looks so good, such a healthy lunch! And the Hello Kitty Bento Box, I couldn't have resisted it either, it's just so darn cute!

nicisme said...

Great idea, and cute too!