Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lunch box, Doshirak or Bento

What to eat for lunch? A question I often ask myself during the week. I usually bring some weekend leftovers for Mondays and Tuesdays to my office and go out eating lunch somewhere for the rest of the week. Usually I eat far too much and irregularly. And a lot of times lunch outside is neither delicious nor nutritious. So when I came across some food blogs I found a very clever way to prepare lunch boxes: So called bentos. Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine, and the equivalent in Korea is called doshirak. There are different styles of bento, food that looks like cute animals or like flower gardens, real food art and for sure very appealing for kids to eat. I was more looking for practical and easy to do lunch inspirations though. Something I can prepare over the weekend, store in the fridge or freezer and use all week long. So I started with something really simple, yet delicious.

First I cooked some white rice with soy beans, filled two halfes of two  containers and stored the rest in the freezer in little portions for later occasions. I fried some tofu, cut into bite size pieces and seasoned with soy sauce (very yummy recipe found here). I think the tofu, which is almost invisible in the picture below (unterneath the parsley), is best to eat when just fried. It got quite dry on the second day. I peeled and chopped some cucumber, carrots and radish, added a mini tomato and some flat-leaved parsley. I also prepared some soy sauce-sesame oil dip in a separate mini container for the veggies. VoilĂ , my first lunch box:
It was very delicious and to my surprise quite filling as I used a small plastic container with only 400 ml capacity. And it saved so much time. I really enjoyed my first bento/ doshirak experience and had almost the same combination for two more days. (I did a variation on the sauce)
From last weekend's leftovers I packed a smoked salmon lunch box with hash browns, tomatoes, olives, some corn salad. Yet another tasty lunch!
I think I will continue making those lunch boxes more often. Sooo many inspiring blogs out there, so much to try out! And so simple too. All you need is a food container with a lid for safe transport. Fill half or two-thirds of your lunch box with carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, noodles ect., and the remaining space half with vegetables and proteins like meat, fish, egg, tofu etc.. Close the lid only when the food has cooled down. Use separate containers for food you will heat up in the microwave or for dressings/ sauce/ dips. The lunch box content should be colourful, well balanced and attractive for  you to eat. Try it out!

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