Thursday, May 24, 2012

お弁当 (Homemade bento lunches)

I've started bringing my own lunches again to work at least once a week since February. While not all of them are 100% healthy (one of my latest bentos was katsudon), at least I get to control what I put in my body as I try to include at least two different vegetables in every meal.

Here's some visuals of my lunch boxes for the past four months taken with my iPhone 4S. :D

 Bento - Inarizushi topped with buttered corn and crab mayo, hijiki carrot salad, sesame mixed cucumbers, leftover bulgogi chicken and ajitsuke tamago.

Bento - Pork katsu on a bed of rice, hijiki carrot salad, ajitsuke tamago and sesame mixed cucumber.
Top L to R:

1. Furikake topped rice, cranberry soy garlic chicken, steamed sweet potatoes and asparagus.
2. Grilled salmon on rice, pumpkin stuffed mushrooms on a bed of corn, asparagus, tomatoes.
3. Garlic corn fried rice, mini Japanese hamburgers, carrot salad, sesame dressing green beans.
4. Onigiri, leftover bulgogi chicken, hijiki carrot salad, steamed broccoli.

Top L to R:

1. Meat patties, honey steamed kabocha, steamed broccoli and tamagoyaki with rice.
2. Lemon parsley couscous with pork cutlet, lemon green beans and tomatoes.
3. Carrot and spring onion gaeranmali, steamed sugar peas and leftover pork with rice.
4. Mushroom chicken rice, tamagoyaki, steamed broccoli and carrots.

Bento -  Beef rolls wrapped with carrots and spring onions, sugar peas, kabocha, ajitsuke tamago.

Top L to R:

1. Pork rolls, kabocha, tamagoyaki, hijiki salad with rice.
2. Grilled saba on rice, tamagoyaki, steamed snow peas, sweet potatoes, kabocha.
3. Egg and ham omelette roll, hijiki salad, steamed asparagus, sweet potatoes with rice.
4. Furikake rice, sweet potatoes, Pork enoki rolls, tamagoyaki and sesame dressing green beans.

Top L to R:

1. Mini sesame encrusted rice balls, omelette roll, steam carrots, sweet potatoes and mini sausages.
2. Noodles with sunny side up egg, kabocha, snow peas and grilled chicken.
3. 三色丼(Sanshoku) donburi.
4. Buttered corn couscous, steamed sugar snap peas, leftover beef and vegetable stew.

Bento - 비빔밥 (Bibimbap)

As you probably can tell, the vegetables I use in my bentos are pretty much the same cos there's only a few varieties that taste good just simply steamed (I'm lazy to season it with a sauce). I love Japanese food, and since bentos (lunchboxes) are kind of a Japanese thing, my dishes are mostly Japanese. I love Japanese rice but it's white rice thus I add pearl barley whenever I cook it (pearl barley to rice ratio approximately 1:2.5) to reduce the amount of actual white rice I'm consuming.

It might be actually a little time consuming if I prepare my own lunch (especially if a dish require alot of time), so I try to minimise my time in the kitchen (therefore maximising my sleep hours) in a few ways:
  • I cook a large batch of rice at one go, and portion it individually in plastic wrap. When it's cooled completely, I freeze it so whenever I need rice, I can just defrost a single portion in the microwave.
  • If there are leftover meats from the previous dinner, I'll just pack it into my lunchbox. One less dish to prep!
  • Prep whatever side dishes beforehand that can keep in the fridge for about a week (think tamagoyaki, hijiki carrot salad, meat soboro (for 三色丼) etc.
  • I have a helper at home, and as she wakes up quite early, I'll get her to help chop up vegetables and steam it for me so when I wake up, it's cooled down enough so I can pack it into my bento box. (Ditto for some of my meat dishes that she can just grill or panfry for me)

Of course, once in a while, I'll make the effort to wake up extra early to make certain dishes like bibimbap, inarizushi or sushi. Yeps, some of you might think I'm crazy and that I should just eat out and not make my own lunch, so that I'll get some extra snooze time. But I like making my own bento lunches, it makes me happy during lunch time when I open the bento box. Am I weird? :)


  1. They all look so cute ^^" I especially love the strawberry box and the bibimbap! i wish I had more time to prepare my lunch like that =_=" no you're not crazy!! Eating out and making your own lunch just isnt the same ;P I think you appreciate it more when you make it because you think of all the time and effort taken to prepare it :)

  2. omg so hardworking. i wish i'm 10% like u to even prepare my own lunches. most of the time, i just make a sandwich or wrap and pack it for breakfast the next day... Good job and keep it up!! 

  3. haha thank u! hopefully i do manage to keep it up. :)

  4. haha i love the strawberry box too! it comes in a matching set. hee. true, the appreciation during lunch time is always there - u do get what i mean! ;)


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