Little thrills, little trips, little ideas

First home-made bento for myself and its vegetarian

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www.ongling.com

Sekihan Dinner Bento

I have finally made a simple bento for myself. The motivation behind it is I am on a vegetarian diet for 2 weeks for my annual cleansing ritual and I have to go to my mom’s place for dinner tonight which was loaded with yummy meat curries, pork knuckle stew, Hainanese chicken rice, etc. Totally irresitible dishes. I need to have a strong mind and disciple to refrain myself from surrendering to these delicious mommy’s cooking. In the past, I was able to do a meat-free diet for a month, but now, I decided to change to it 2 weeks routine once very 6 months, much easier to adapt to for a meat-lover like me. I am very lucky to be living in Asia as we are exposed to many different cultural vegetarian cuisines which are very tasty. I have a strong penchant for Peranakan and Thai vegetarian cuisine. The use of rich asian spices and different fermentation processes for beans and vegetables really tickle my picky tastebuds.

I did not have much time today to prepare an elaborate bento so I chose to do a mixture of both Japanese and  store-bought Korean dishes.

Japanese:
Sekihan ( Azuki bean rice balls)
This is a very simple recipe, all we need are 3 main ingredients, 1/4 cup azuki beans, 1 cup white rice, 1/4 cup glutinous rice.
Boil the azuki beans in some water for 20-30 mins. Drain the azuki beans and reserve the red bean water . Wash the white rice and glutinous rice together several times to remove the starch. Mix in the azuki beans into the rice and add in the red bean water to the normal water level of cooking the rice in your rice cooker, add more water if needed. Sprinkle some salt and cook.

Once cooled, shape the sekihan with cellophane wrap. For my rice balls, I mixed in some shiso-flavoured furikake for extra depths to complement the other dishes.

Panfried portobello mushroom
I basted the mushroom with a mixture of soy sauce and rice malt. I did not use any oil when cooking the mushroom so to retain much of its natural flavour (This is a tip I learned from a Hong Kong Chef).

Korean:
This is the fastest preparation. I added in some fresh cabbage kimchi and cucumber kimchi as sides (Bought from a Korean store which made all the kimchi dishes fresh) and Korean marinated green chilli which I wrapped with a tofu skin and pan fried til crispy.

The main green ingredient used here to decorate my bento are panda leaves, which I also made a panda leaf casing out of it with a cover to contain the kimchi.

It was an amateur vegetarian bento but at least it really satisfied my tastebuds with salty, sour, spicy and sweet flavours while savouring my mommy’s dishes with only my eyes…(àωá)

Author: ongling

Hi, I have been making bento lunch boxes for my toddler son for a year. Its a challenge everyday to think of new bento ideas to excite him. The creations are endless and took a lot of trial and errors. But most importantly, his bento lunches must deliver 3 key goals: exciting presentation (eye appeal), exciting tastes (texture & ingredients) and exciting adventures (dare to try; food play). Recently, I started making my husband lunch bentos too for work after he got envious of seeing beautiful bentos prepared by Japanese wives on Japanese TV network. I am learning and picking up skills from many talented bento makers everyday to improve myself. Here are some of my creations I would like to share with you. Apart from bentos, there some travel stories and little things i enjoy doing related to food and culture in this blog. So enjoy and share your thoughts with me.

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