Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Special Lunchbox

My special lunch

When the weather is gorgeous like this, I can’t resist the urge to pack my lunch and eat it outside. Sometimes I grab just anything in the kitchen, and other times I feel like packing a very special lunch, taking time for preparation. Today I felt like the latter. So here’s what I brought to the park which is a part of the Castle Garden here in this city.

Bamboo sheath lunchbox and wrapping cloth

This retro-looking lunchbox is again from the 100-yen shop. Bamboo sheath was said to be widely used in Japan in the past (maybe until 50 to 100 years ago?) to wrap rice balls to bring to work. Now we use plastic lunchboxes, but the retro-looking ones are still available. I don’t think they’d look good at school or in the office, but perfectly appropriate for picnicking.

I made 3 kinds of rice balls. For the pink ones, I used seasoned salmon flakes --- one of those ready-made toppings to sprinkle on rice. The color of the green ones came from the minced Takana pickles that I mixed in. The last kind had a bit of Korean taste. I seasoned minced carrots, shiitake mushrooms and ground meat with kochujan, then mixed with the rice. Pretty good and spicy, but would have been better if I used kimchi instead of the carrots and mushrooms. In the past I didn’t make much of the idea of using saran wrap for making rice balls, but I changed my mind recently. This way you can hold the rice balls without getting sticky rice on your fingers when you eat. (Or you can use chopsticks, of course.)

A close-up

The tiny taro potatoes were microwaved, salted, then sprinkled with green laver. This was an idea I got from a women’s magazine, but they didn’t taste as good as I expected. Maybe I microwaved them too long. Then, the small fried eggs. What you see in the center is minced scallions with the kochujan-seasoned stuff I made for the rice balls. What was a hit this time was the rolled chicken with dwarf French beans(?) in the center. I just love the way it looks when sliced. The dwarf French beans could have used more seasoning, but the garlicky teriyaki sauce I made to season the chicken was a big success.

I was lucky that almost no one, except one young couple playing catch in the same park, was there to watch me taking so many photos of my lunchbox. ; ) I wanted to include some lovely autumn flowers in the photos with my lunchbox, but it was harder than I thought. Maybe the couple were watching me and laughing, but they at least didn't show that to me. Thanks, guys.


ting-aling said...

Hi Obachan. thanks for visiting my site. My family and I love Japanese food..sashimi..tempura..miso..sunomono, etc. Wil be frequenting your site.

obachan said...

Hi ting-aling,
Thank you for visiting mine! I’m not a good cook or anything, but I’ll probably post about Japanese food at least once a week (hopefully), so don’t miss it! :)

JMom said...

Oh man, what a sumptuous lunch! My lola (grandma)used to sneak fish into my daughter (who doesn't like fish) by putting them in rice balls. My daughter Jade discovered the 100-yen shop in CA this summer, and she has been raving over it. It's the Marukai dollar store, which is a sister store to my favorite Japanese store, Marukai. Jade brought back some lunch containers from Marukai for her use, but not as pretty as yours.

Dennis Mai said...

Hi, this is my first time here. Wow, what a great site! Japanese food always look so artistic and appetizing.


obachan said...

> JMom --- Thanks. I bet Jade’s lunch containers were beautiful, too. The name of our 100-yen shop here is “Daiso.” I heard that there are some Daiso shops in Canada and some Asian countries, but not sure about the U.S.
Sneaking fish in rice balls is a smart idea! ;)

> Dennis --- Thank you and welcome to my site! Well, I can’t guarantee that my Japanese dishes will always look so artistic, though. I’ll probably post about some real local recipes, too, and I have to warn that some of them may not look pretty. But it’s gonna be fun anyway. Hope you come often and enjoy my posts!

pinkcocoa said...

konbanwa~ obachan

your onigiri looks so yummy! love the colour combinations. i like your bamboo sheath lunchbox too. very very retro. maybe i should start packing my lunch and eat under the sun too!

sometimes i feel a little embarrassed about taking photos of the food i am eating too, especially when i am out. :p Once, this couple next to us thought i was sneaking pictures of them and they told me off. >.<|||

obachan said...

Ohayo pinkcocoa :)

Oh how sad! I hope something like that won’t happen to you again. Another thing that would be difficult for me is taking photos of food at a restaurant. I’ve never tried it before, and I don’t know if I would in the future. But, well, who knows…..

Anonymous said...

Konbanwa! I have to say that both bentos that I saw on your site look delicious. Recently I have been trying to make bento for myself, when I get the moment to play around with sticky rice. The next day people stare at me with amazement and suprise.... well how often do you see a 19 year old student in central Europe gulping down a box full of sushi with choptsticks. ^^ Looking forward to reading about more inspiration on your site for my future cooking "adventures".

obachan said...

Hi Mako,
Thank you so much for your comment and sorry I didn't respond earlier. I can imagine how people around you would react when you are eating Japanese style bento over there, but seems like you're enjoying it (just like I did when I was abroad).
Good luck with your cooking and other kinds of adventures over there! :D

Anonymous said...

ああ! すべてはとても風味がよく見る!

obachan said...

Hi tonya,
I guess you used one of those translation websites? Yeah, I can figure out what the original English sentence was. Thanks! ;)