The weekday mornings are always busy for me as I have to pack three lunches and prepare breakfast all at the same time. It is a little easier in the summer months when the boys are home and I only need to concentrate on one lunch for Ro-Ri San. I am not so much into kyaraben (character bento) but I do enjoy making the bentos look appealing with colors and shapes. This can be easily achieved with all the the wonderful and colorful fruits and produce available at this time of the year. Packing a bento to school and work is also a great way to eat healthy and do portion control outside of home.
Onigiri(s) are very popular in Japan and are found even in the convenience stores. These rice balls or cakes are very tasty, usually with a filling of umeboshi (pickled plum), tsukemono (pickled vegetables), salted salmon, or various meat tidbits. There are also rice cakes with just furikake (rice sprinkles or seasoning). Onigiri is very portable and makes a great addition to the obento.
For a quick and easy onigiri, I mixed cooked short grain rice with packaged rice sprinkles. Shape the onigiri using plastic molds and decorate with strips of nori (toasted seaweed sheets). Leftover onigiri can be wrapped in plastic and kept frozen for 2 to 3 weeks. When required, place in a dish and heat in the microwave on high for one minute. Flip the rice cakes and heat for another minute. This is most convenient for packing bentos in the mornings. For pictures of the rice molds, check out my post on Onigiri with Jyuntoro.
Furikake can be found at places like Daiso and some Asian grocery stores. I bought this from Daiso in Yokohama on my recent trip there.
This is a stained, double tiered Hinoki cypress bento. It is a thing of beauty. I used an elastic band, to keep the bento together. The spring mix salad with sliced strawberries is at the bottom tier.
I was delighted to find these Hinoki cypress bentos on my recent vacation to Japan. I bought an unstained one from this store in Narai-juku. You can see it at the bottom right corner of this picture. The other (shown in today’s post) was purchased from a store just across the street from this store. Please do check out Food Adventures in Japan for more pictures on my trip.