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My Vegetarian Bento

May 18th, 2009

 

When I read about Vegetarian Bento contest for the month of May organized by Maki at Just Bento, I knew I wanted to give it a shot.  For one thing, vegetarian bentos would result in not-too-oily bentos to wash up after, and it is definitely a healthier option. 

So I concocted a simple vegetarian lunch today.  It was yummy, and it certainly made me feel healthier!

My vegetarian bento consists of organic pasta in various colors, served with chunky tomato bolognese sauce.  I had triangle-shaped celery and baby carrots with ranch dressing, and for dessert, a few slices of delicious organic strawberries.

Vegetarian bentos are fun to make, this might be the first of many to come! :)

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Bento for Moi

April 15th, 2009

Trust me, I am no pro at creating intricate bentos that people wow at, but the Who-R-U? Bento contest run by Javapot made me curious enough to challenge myself… that, and the fact that the prize of the awesome Thermos set was calling out to me…

Anyway, I made it before the deadline of the contest and here is the end result:

The contest required the contestant to create a bento reflecting the bento packer himself/herself.  Inspired in part by this fabulously done bento, I created one along the same lines, with a few changes here and there.

My tiger head (which looks more like a kitty cat now) represents my blog identity: The Bento Tigress.  Also, my Chinese zodiac sign is the tiger, so this fits me perfectly!  The tiger’s head is made from egg fried rice, eyes from hard-boiled eggs and nori, the ears are from sliced frankfurters, the nose is a sliced piece of carrot and the mouth is from hard-boiled eggs too.

The simple colorful pasta shapes of garden creatures represents my love for nature, and the musical notes made from nori represents my love for anything music.  Also, I love Italian food like pasta, and the chunky bolognese sauce is the perfect accompaniment for it.

The heart-shaped sausage shows that I am a tender-hearted person, the food picks that held the sausage pieces together turned out looking like outstretched arms ready for a hug! :)

What about the teddy bear shaped nori?  Well teddy bears are fuzzy and adorable and full of love, right? … just like me!  Well, not the fuzzy part but you get my drift! :P

At the top left corner, I added some flowered red grapes with carrots.  I love flowers!  Oh, and the brocolli is my current favorite vegetable!

Creating this bento was a lot of fun!  I am not sure how long I really took to complete it, but it was about an hour or so, because I had to pause intermittently to take care of my baby. :)

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Chicken Satay Bento

February 18th, 2009

Inspired by what looked like incredibly mouth-watering bentos to me in Bento Delights’ Uniquely Malaysian Bento and Hijack Queen’s Skewed Turmeric Chicken bento, I finally took matters into my own hands and tried making my very own chicken satay!

Chicken Satay Marinade

  • Turmeric powder
  • Honey garlic dip (I got these from Safeway, and I used it because I didn’t have any honey on me)
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • A little bit of crushed black peppercorns

Originally, I had intended to use chicken thigh fillets, but they weren’t available in the supermarket yesterday, so I removed the skin from the chicken drumsticks that I had and cut out the drumstick meat instead.  I saved the drumstick bones to make herbal soup :)

I mixed the marinade with the chicken fillet and fixed them onto bamboo skewers before putting them into a Pyrex container in the fridge to sit for at least 6 hours.  Then I baked them in the oven at 350ºF till done, turning them over once.  I suppose if you have a grill function, it is best that you use that to grill the satay.

The satay sticks were then placed atop steamed rice in bottom compartment of the bento.  The top compartment held chunks of onions and cucumbers (Malaysian satay style) and a small container of satay sauce, which I managed to buy ready from the stores, thanks to Lee Kum Kee.  (I ought to try making the peanut sauce myself too, one of these days)

I added a hard-boiled egg for added color and to fill up my hubby’s tummy.  Looks delicious, no?

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Ginger Soy Sauce Chicken Bento

February 17th, 2009

It had been some time since I cooked with ginger, so yesterday I thought I would experiment with a simple dish; something my hubby and I love: ginger soy sauce chicken.  I did not have a recipe, but I thought I would try a concoction I had in mind.  I marinaded the chicken pieces with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, crushed black peppercorns and some of the all-purpose marinade with herbs I had recently bought.  I added in some sliced white button mushrooms and slices of young ginger.

I was out the whole day and only started cooking at about 6:00p.m. :)

First I heated up some vegetable oil in a saucepan and sautéed the marinaded chicken.  I added some water and a little bit of chicken base, and simmered it for about 20 minutes while waiting for the rice to cook. 

The result was a truly satisfying dish, cooked in no time at all!  :)

I put aside a portion for hubby’s bento today.  Added in a hard-boiled egg on a bed of steamed lady’s fingers.  The little orange container holds some sambal belacan we brought from Malaysia. :)

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Cheeseburger Bento

February 2nd, 2009

I decided to be creative and came up with homemade cheeseburgers over the weekend. I loosely followed Chef Michael Smith’s recipe for Cheddar Cheese Burgers, and with 1lb of organic beef, I managed to make 6 not-too-large burger patties.

We had burgers for our meals on Sunday, and today, hubby had a Cheeseburger bento for lunch.  In the morning, I put a little bit of butter in the sesame seed buns, took the burger patty from the fridge, and placed it in between the buns.  Then I microwaved them for about 16 seconds.  Next, I placed a slice of cheese, a slice of tomato, some lettuce leaves and some mayo in betwee.  I secured the cheeseburger with a foodpick, added a packet of tomato ketchup and there…I had lunch prepared!

Instead of fries, I threw in some Ranch-flavored chips, and I also added some grapes for dessert. 

I asked my hubby if he wanted a double cheeseburger (2 meat patties), but he said I could have the other one, so I had the same thing for my lunch today :)

Making burgers at home might seem like a great idea, but it isn’t completely so.  I didn’t use a grill, so I panfried the burger patties, which resulted in my whole stove and kitchen becoming rather oily.  And I certainly didn’t like that.  The next time I make burger patties, I’d bring them to a barbecue for outdoor grilling instead!

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Steamed Herbal Chicken Bento

January 30th, 2009

 

A few days ago, I packed a really really simple bento for my hubby.  I had tried making steamed herbal chicken a couple of weeks ago with prepacked herbal ingredients, but this second attempt saw me using just the ingredients stated in the original recipe from HaveYouEaten.net.

I managed to get yok chok (dried polygonatum) from the Asian grocer here and of course, I added my all-time favorite kei chi (wolfberries).  Simple and delicious, this bento is nutritious too!

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Pyrex Bento

January 27th, 2009

One of the things that irk me most about bento-ing is the cleaning up of the bento boxes after.  It gets tougher to clean if I had prepared a bento with gravy which is rather oily, or curry.  Because most bento boxes are plastic, oil and grease tends to stick to the surface and since I only get to wash them after I get back from work, I have to use a lot of detergent (and strength!).

Most of the time, I would rinse it out with a little bit of soap after I am done with lunch at work, but that does not happen all the time.

So what do I do to minimize the hassle?

I recently bought a set of Pyrex containers, that came with covers (they were on sale!).  Pyrex is made of glass and so cleaning oil and grease off of glass is a breeze! 

 

The downside is, of course, glass containers tend to be rather heavy, and there is a (slight) tendency of breakage.  But apart from that, these containers work rather well.  They are safe for the freezer, microwave and steamer - just don’t put them directly over the stove though!

 

Yesterday I packed my hubby’s bento by including a small Pyrex bowl of Chicken Six-Flavor Soup.  In the main bento, there was some Hainanese Chicken rice, with slices of cucumber, and a side dish of leftover tofu from our restaurant outing the day before.

The Pyrex bowl is a great substitute for the thermos flask, if you are a soup-lover like me.  You’ll need to be able to heat it up before you drink it though!  And soup has such a feel-good factor to it, don’t you think so?

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Bento packed with protein!

January 15th, 2009

Today I prepared a bento jampacked with protein goodness for my hubby.  Not intentionally, of course, but only because we had some barbecued and roasted pork left over from last night’s dinner.  I had bought the pork from a local Asian grocer here.

Instead of the usual steamed rice, I made him some simple egg fried rice, seasoned with just soy sauce, sesame oil and dark soy sauce.  Vegetables were in the form of green lettuce and sliced cucumbers.  And yes, I didn’t forget the chilli sauce either!

It will certainly be a very filling lunch!

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Chicken Serai with Egg bento

January 13th, 2009

 

Today, I made a very simple and quick bento with some leftovers of the chicken serai (lemongrass chicken) stew we had for dinner last night.  I added a hard-boiled egg and topped off my steamed rice with some gravy from the chicken serai.  I do so like gravy on my rice. :)

I don’t own any fancy egg moulds yet, but I am on the lookout for some, so hopefully I will get to produce some more aesthetically-pleasing hard-boiled eggs soon!

And for the first time, I used my simple white bento lunchbox.  It has 3 removable partitions: 1 large and 2 smaller ones, and I have not used it since I bought it.  It doesn’t hold much food, but it works well with me now that I am in my third trimester of pregnancy and cannot really eat a lot at one sitting.  I do so love this box because it looks so classic and neat.  Wouldn’t you agree?

 

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“Char-siew-fun” bento

January 8th, 2009

 

I made some homemade “char-siew” (baked pork slices) yesterday evening.  Of course I had the help from some Lee Kum Kee “char-siew” marinade.  I marinaded 1lb of pork slices with 5 tablespoons of sauce and left it in the refrigerator for a good 5 hours or so.  Then I baked the pork in the oven for about 45 minutes, sliced them up and voila… yummy “char siew”.

It was way too much for us to finish last night during dinner, so I packed some for my hubby’s lunch today.  His bento today is “char siew fun” with sliced cucumber.  For dessert, I threw in some seedless grapes.  The “char siew” looks a wee bit too dry, so I drizzled some of the marinade on it too.

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