Have you discovered Cookpad yet? It’s a huge Japanese recipe site, and a great source for hugely varied homestyle Japanese food. Part of its charm is that the recipes are added by ordinary people, sharing their experiments or family favourites, and the translation attempts to capture the colloquial fun tone of the originals. There are sections for specific types of recipes, including bento side dishes – yay! I visit all the time, because more recipes are being translated/added all the time. You can find the English version here. Thank you to Maki from Just Bento for promoting it in this article! And big thanks also to Maki and the others who do the translating, making this wonderful resource available to us non-Japanese speakers.
This week I thought I’d try posting a gallery of my favourite bentos of the previous week. A couple of them feature a new recipe I tried from Cookpad, sesame shichimi pork patties. They were easy to make and full of flavour. I made some for the kids without the shichimi pepper, but it wasn’t necessary as they’re not too spicy. I made them again with beef, also great, as would be with chicken mince I think. The onigiri are studded with edamame.
I had some patties leftover, so it was easy to make a quick lunch the next day. These patties are great with some gochujang or chilli sauce on the side. Here I had them with some furikake onigiri, a side of potato salad, and broccoli, with carrot cut-outs. I’m on an onigiri kick at the moment…I picked up a great book about onigiri in Singapore. I will be reviewing it next week, so stay tuned!
One more bento, this time with hoisin pork and rice. So you see I don’t just put leftovers in my lunch! :) Also in there, scrambled egg with carrot, corn and peas, and a few leaves from the garden (spinach and red mizuna). The red mizuna looks almost black, so I think I will claim this bento fulfills the rule of thumb of traditional bentos, “red, yellow, green, black and white for a balanced bento.” I think that saying is apt, bentos with a good colour range look nice and bright. It’s hard to get yellow into bento though, without eggs! I wonder if that’s why so many Japanese bentos have tamagoyaki? I don’t like to eat eggs that often, so for future reference it might be helpful to make a list of yellow foods; pumpkin (orange, but I think it counts!), yellow peppers, mini patty pan squash, cheese, yellow kiwi, banana, wax beans (they don’t turn up often!) hmmm…if you think of any others, let me know!