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.
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).
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)