Sunday, October 08, 2006

Two Bentos from Bento Boxes: Teriyaki Scallops/Soy Turnip/Gobo in Vinegar and Glazed Meatballs/Quick Mushrooms/Simmered Pumpkin

What could be more fun than a bento for lunch?  The answer, in case you're wondering, is nothing.  I actually look forward to my lunch if there's a little box full of goodies waiting for me.  These are two bentos that I made based on recipes from Bento Boxes by Naomi Kijima.  Give them a try and see how much more fun your lunch can be.

Teriyaki Scallops

5 scallops
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sake
1 tablespoon water

Trim the scallops. Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil. Add the scallops and cook 3 to 4 minutes until well-glazed.

Soy Turnip

1 turnip with leaves
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Remove the turnip leaves, leaving ½-inch of stem. Peel the turnip and cut into wedges. Toss with the soy sauce.

Gobo in Vinegar

1 (4¾-inch) piece gobo (burdock root), peeled
⅓ cup dashi stock
1½ tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Roasted sesame seeds

Cut the gobo crosswise into 3 pieces.  Slice lengthwise and blanch.  Stir in the dashi, vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Glazed Meatballs
From Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go by Naomi Kijima

¼ onion, minced
½ teaspoon cooking oil
3 ounces ground beef
2 teaspoons beaten egg
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Oil for deep frying
2 teaspoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon each granulated sugar, mirin, and sake
3 tablespoons water
4 quail eggs, hard-boiled

Sauté the onion in the oil until translucent. Let cool. Combine the ground beef, cooked onion, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Knead well.  Form into small balls. Deep fry at 340°F for 2 to 3 minutes until well browned. Place meatballs in a pan with all remaining ingredients except the quail eggs. Boil 4 to 5 minutes. Place the meatballs on short skewers, alternating with quail eggs.

Quick Mushrooms
From Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go by Naomi Kijima

½ tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
3 tablespoons water
¾ ounce shimeji mushrooms, with stalks

Bring liquid ingredients to a boil and add the shimeji.  Cook briefly, then drain.

Simmered Pumpkin
From Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go by Naomi Kijima

3 ounces pumpkin (kabocha squash)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Dice pumpkin in ¾-inch cubes.  Shave off the sharp edges. Boil in a small amount of water for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and continue cooking. When tender, drizzle with soy sauce.

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