This might have been the easiest bento I ever composed for Akim. Stupid-easy, but it’s all things that Akim likes, and it’s sort of cute the way the pita fit in the box.
Category : Bento
I’m sure you can tell that I don’t photograph every bento I make, nor do I even photograph only the best ones. That wouldn’t help anyone but my own ego. My goal was to make people see that bento doesn’t have to always be the best or the fanciest. It just has to be a little bit of everything — protein, starch, veggie, fruit, maybe a little treat — and there has to be some effort, not even a lot, at visual appeal.
This is just a very simplistic way of illustrating the fact that just because you’re working with the same ingredients doesn’t mean you have to produce the same exact meal. By the time I’d given Akim this meal, Akim’s desk was The Place To Be around lunchtime in the office. Bento are a real tourist attraction, it seems.
The following day, I repeated the contents, but not the arrangement.
Snack bento. I can’t remember where we were going, but clearly I knew we’d need a snack while we were there.
Nori, by the way, is dried seaweed. It’s possible to find kosher nori, but as with most things, it’s also more expensive. That’s why I don’t buy it very often.
Sometimes Akim likes a change from rice balls, raw fruit and veggies, and eggs. Voila, Italian bento.
We both needed bento this day, and so I made two different kinds, according to our tastes.
In addition to this picture, I’d also like to offer my recipe for sushi rice. See below.
1 C brown sugar
1/4 C sea salt
2 C water
Mix in a pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to extremely low, until water has reduced by about 1/3 its total volume. Allow to cool, then pour by funnel into a spray bottle (spritzer).
1 C sushi rice, also called sweet rice or glutenous rice (it is neither sweet nor glutenous; it’s just sticky)
1 C water
1 C water, additional
Wash rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Rub the grains gently between the fingers. Put the rice into a bowl with 1 C water and let sit for an hour.
Drain in a strainer for 20 minutes.
Put drained rice and 1 C water into a rice maker and turn it on. If you don’t have a rice maker, put rice and 1 C water in a pot, uncovered and WITHOUT SALT, and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and walk away for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Dump into a shallow dish or bowl. Immediately spritz with sushi vinegar, just a few spritzes, and start folding the rice over onto itself to air it and let out the steam. Keep doing that. You’ll need a total of about 10 to 20 spritzes, depending on the amount that your spritzer delivers. The rice should remain quite sticky. Play around with the ratios.
TO MAKE RICE BALLS
Make sure your rice has cooled sufficiently to handle, but no more than that. It should still be warm. Wet your hands. Scoop up some rice, and make a ball. Yes, that’s it.
If you want fun shapes or ‘perfect’ shapes, make them with some kind of mold, or try to do it by hand.
For pretty colors, either mix colored herbs or food dyes into your rice in the cooking stage, or roll the balls in prettily colored herbs. I like paprika or beet powder for red, curry for yellow, cilantro or basil or za’atar for green, black sesame seeds for black. I haven’t found a purple that I like; I’d love to hear input.
This turned out very tasty, Akim told me. I felt good about it.