Ha, I did it: this afternoon I made my first bento-box ever! Yesterday I went shopping in one of the largest Asian supermarkets in Berlin (by my knowledge), which is in Charlottenburg. Although they mostly have Chinese items, there’s a big selection of Japanese groceries too. Just no fresh fish, but that’s a concern for later. And today I received one of my new books, called “Bento boxes” by Naomi Kijima (no, I didn’t buy it on Amazon).
If you don’t know what a bento-box is:
Bento (弁当, bentō) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋, bentō-ya), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.
Bento’s were (and still are) my favorite lunch while I was in Japan. And now I do not work for a certain company anymore, where I could go to the canteen and have a warm meal every day (although we were all complaining about the poor quality, we still went everyday), I thought it a good idea to try and learn to make my own bento-boxes. As you may (or may not) know: I’m not a big fan of Dutch or German cuisine (last time I bought potatoes was in 2005, I think) and I’m not very experienced as a cook. I can cook an egg, potatoes, and tea but that’s about it. Well, OK, that’s a bit exagerated: I can cook quite OK, but having no experience I need a recipe with the quantities and the instructions to cook it. If I have those, I can cook fine.
Here’s what I put together:
- Chicken Teriyaki
- Sesame Spinach
- Quick Mushrooms
No, I didn’t actually put it in my bentoboxes, but that’s a detail 😉 It would have been prettier maybe, but you’ll have to be patient to see my first completed bento-box!
It was delicious (of course)! But I need to work on the ‘prioritizing’ a bit, so everything is finished at or around the same time….now the spinach and the mushrooms had to wait until I finished the chicken. Wrong order, I admit 😛 next time I’ll do better!
And next time I’ll use these: