Ever since I stopped working, I have had the time in the morning to make a bento for the husband to take to work whenever the mood strikes me. I don’t pack one everyday, only whenever I feel inspired, which could be once a week or once in a couple of weeks.
I know he prefers to eat a bowl of fishball noodles for lunch then to eat a home-packed bento, but he humours me whenever I get into the mood to make one. Like this blog, bentos are another form of a creative outlet for me. And I have so much fun making them. Nothing cute-sy or fancy, just simple food that I can easily put together when I am half-awake in the morning. I think my husband will lose his appetite if he opens up the box and sees a kyaraben, not that I could make a beautiful one in the first place.
And as long as I plan what I am going to use as the bento fillings the night before, it takes at least 45 mins in the morning for me to get a bento box ready (including time to let the food cool down before closing the bento box). The preparation time should ideally be shorter but it isn’t the case because I am not very organised, often changing my mind about what I would like to include at the eleventh hour.
Stir-fried squid with mangetout in a sambal sauce and topped with boiled carrots. Steamed rice with a hard-boiled egg and lots of furikake. I like using curly lettuce as a base (to soak up all the gravy and sauce) or as a separator for the bento fillings (in lieu of a baran). It adds colour and texture to the bento. No space for fruit!
Packed in a simple two-tier (boring) black bento box that I bought at a shopping arcade in Kichijoji when we were in Tokyo earlier this year.
Pan-fried luncheon meat. Stir-fried Chinese greens. Corn croquette. Onion omelette. Brown rice. A rum and raisin Kit Kat for a sweet ending. Hmmm, the colours in this bento were too dull.
Leftover ngor hiang from a dinner party the night before. Very little preparation work needed – just heat the items in the oven and they are ready to go into the bento. Boiled broccoli sprinkled with fried shallots for extra flavor. An ichigo Kit Kat for dessert. I simply love Japanese Kit Kats.
Stir-fried bacon with potatoes, mangetout and carrots. This dish was inspired by one of the recipes in the manga What Did You Eat Yesterday. Hard-boiled egg with steamed rice and some edamame. This was a Tuesday bento and I tried to make the Japanese character for Tuesday (火 ) using edamame beans.
My attempt to make a tri-coloured soboro bento using sliced omelette, boiled mangetout and a lightly flavoured ground pork stir-fry. Steamed rice with furikake and Japanese fishcake. I love the pink swirls in the centre of the fishcake.
Teriyaki chicken. Stir-fried peppers and onions. Steamed rice. A small Japanese mandarin orange and a little chocolate delight.
Packed in the bento box which I bought on Jbox years ago. I like that this box has little containers to separate the food but it also means that there is less flexibility in sizing the quantities for each type of filling.
A rather blurry photo. My mother-in-law’s ngor hiang. Boiled broccoli. Omelette. Steamed rice. Sweet Korean strawberries.
Pan-fried saba and tau kwa. Boiled broccoli. Steamed rice with edamame beans. Korean strawberries and blueberries.
Corn croquette. Stir-fried mushrooms. Rolled omelette. Boiled broccoli. Steamed rice with furikake.
I have also tried putting pasta into a bento box. The results are not visually appealing – a gooey lumpy mess in a black box!