Archive for the ‘asian (generic)’ Category

Will I make 200 bentos before the holidays? With my track record, the answer is probably no…
Small box: woked veggies, cashews and noodles in oyster sauce.
Big box: Inarizushi, brussel sprouts, cherry tomatoes.

When it comes to fast food, Westerners may have invented the term but there’s no beating the East. Making Ramen in any street stand takes less time from raw ingredients to product than it takes us to grill and slap together a burger from prefabricated stuff. Sometime, I’ll have to learn how to do that.

For now, I use instant ramen.
There is one thing about Asian cooking when compared to Western cooking: I’m used to preparing my ingredients on the go, making use of how they cook at different rates to use my time economically. When woking, everything goes so fast that this is not possible! You have to have all veggies pre-cut, otherwise you’re still cutting the peppers when the onions are burning – and the mushrooms still waiting to be cut!
It’s a learning process… but I’m trying. Anyone who’s actually Asian need not read on, this is just a writeup of the order I do my stuff in so that it gets right.
I’ll also be posting it to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights roundup because I haven’t posted any pictures of my pasta dishes recently and it’s making me a sad rabbit.

For this wok, I retain some of the veggies until the end so that they won’t be cooked as thoroughly – I like a crunch to my carrots.
I start with the noodles: Pour boiling salt water over them in a pot (spice pack is optional) and drain after 2 minutes. Rinse with cold water so that they retain no heat. They should still be a bit tough so that they won’t get too soft later on.
Cut chili, garlic and an onion/spring onions (I used both) into thin strips. Put in a heap with peeled, unsalted cashews.
Cut a bell pepper, mushrooms, carrots, Thai basil and whatever else you find in your fridge that needs cooking (I had some frozen broccoli, for instance) into thin strips in a different heap.
Heat peanut and sesame oil in a wok and scatter the garlic, chili, cashews and onion in. (I use an oil spray because I’m weird about using too much oil).
When they seem cooked, toss the rest in and wok. (If you have marinated meat or meat replacement, add it before you add the veggies. If you want scrambled egg in it, I would reommend to push the chili and garlic to the side and scramble it before you put in the veggies as well, otherwise it’ll just stick to the noodles.)
Add the noodles and sauce on top. There are no limits to your imagination with the sauce. I had none yesterday so I put in oyster sauce, some mirin and soy. A sauce I really like is sweet chili sauce and some sake or sherry. Or try a Thai style with some Tamari, ginger and soy.

Add any veggies you retained on top. I added the carrots and thai basil last. Cook for another minute, tossing so that everything is mixed and heated up.


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nilmandra’s 3 mushroom rice (only that I had enoki, shimeji and champignons to use up, so that’s my mushroom combination) in the big box. If you don’t know Nilmandra’s blog yet, I encourage you to go take a look – she takes the most beautiful bento pictures! The rice is also lovely, it has a subtle flavour that is very addictive.
Two dumplings, steamed broccoli, cherry tomatoes, half an egg log, a fishy of soy sauce and avocado in the small box.

No BF bento picture today, because the camera’s batteries gave up after snapping this picture.

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Bento #176

A very quick box done way too late in the evening after painting class last night (I didn’t manage to make a bento for lunch OR before the class tomorrow so I had to eat out twice in a row. *sigh* My poor wallet and stomach.):
Rice and a pomegrenade quarter in the upper layer.
4 vegetarian kimchi dumplings, egglog, carrot kinpira and cherry tomato quarters on lettuce in the lower layer (and it’s NOT the lid this time! This was the solution to the “what’s fishy?” riddle in my last bento post, by the way.). The decoration on the rice is also tomato.

BF gets the same with a cup of leftover ramen for extra starch.

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I regularly cook vegetarian, but I very rarely cook vegan. Since this October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, I thought I would challenge myself to create a complete, nutritious Vegan meal.

The bento contains the results:
1 Tofu “yakitori” spit, 1 kimchi dumpling (egg-free), grilled zucchini slices, some tiny purple potatoes that grew on my windowsill, 1 slice of tomato and some cubed mango with cinnamon and almond splinters in a silicone muffin cup.
Rice, spring onions, black sesame and another tomato slice in the upper layer.

The BF gets the same, but two more spits. He liked them better than I did!

Here are the spits fresh from the grilling pan. The sauce is homemade. I thickened it a little using potato starch after I had marinated the tofu cubes in it.

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Bento #167

This bento contains a lot of leftovers from various meals during the weekend.
Raw corn-on-the-cob flowers on fried tofu (hidden), carrots, and fried breaded squid on chinese cabbage.
The upper layer contains rice with sweet-n-sour sauce.

BF’s bento contains the same, plus a toffee.
His sweetnsour is supposedly in the shape of a heart, but you can’t really tell… oh well.

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Two plain rice balls, one covered in egg furikake and one in umeboshi furikake. Four dumplings, some microwave egglog, panfried green beans with soy sauce, homemade kimchi, a bottle of dressing for the dumplings and one yellow cherry tomato.
Oh, and two pieces of fudge for dessert!

BF gets the same, with a red cherry tomato instead of yellow.

I got new furikake at the Japan store on Saturday! So I decided to make rice balls covered in the stuff. Mmm. Pretty!
The pink furikake are supposedly umeboshi flavour, but I can’t really taste it. They do contain bonito though, so I can’t mark this bento as vegetarian. Boo.

On the upside, when I popped out the box at lunchtime, my colleagues asked me if I was only eating candy today because it looked so pretty! ;)

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Bento #161

Front box: Three Cadbury sticks with dark chocolate, steamed romanesco cauliflower, steamed carrot flowers, tamagoyaki slices, tiny veggie dumplings, a soy fishy and homemade kimchi in a silicone muffin cup.
In the back: Rice (brown and roundgrain) with furikake and black sesame.

This is somehow lacking in colour, I’m not sure why. I think both the carrots and the kimchi are a little bit too orange to give a good contrast to the yellow eggroll and white dumplings. The BF got a tomato instead of the carrots (he still hasn’t managed to start liking steamed carrots) and the colours pop out a lot more:

Some day I will have to get around to writing that photoshop tutorial I’ve been talking about. I get so tired of seeing badly lit bento photos and thinking “I could fix that!”…

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