Bento box lunches don’t have to be time consuming and difficult: we’ve put together two fun and easy lunches for you to try. Many thanks to Sous Chef who kindly sent us some fun items to keep everyone in the family happy.
Hinomaru is the name of the Japanese flag, and this lunch is the easiest ever to make! Traditionally, the Hinomaru bento is a bed of rice topped in the centre with a red pickled plum, called umeboshi. However, umeboshi are not always easy to find, and not always to everyone’s liking. We like to use what we have on hand when we can, so we’ve come up with an easy alternative! Instead of an umeboshi, simply top your rice with a plum tomato. You don’t even need to slice it; just simply nestle it into a dip in the centre of your cold Japanese rice.
One can’t live on rice alone, so we’ve added in some extra veggies: more plum tomatoes, some snap peas, and a nice helping of tinned sweet corn brings some lovely colour to this box. I’ve used some silicon muffin cups to hold the veggies, but you can purchase some beautiful bento liners or leave your veggies loose if you so desire.
Some days all you need is a little smile to put you in a good mood; an emoji bento could be just the thing!
We filled one layer of the bento box with rice, then used okazu food cutters to cut some fun shapes from bell peppers; an oval and a shrimp shape. Then using the little face cutters, we cut some features from cheese for the shrimp, and a pepper for the oval and arranged them into little cheeky characters. How could you not smile when you open this cute lunch box? The second layer of the box we filled with plum tomatoes, snap peas, and more bell peppers cut into strips. We added a little soy sauce and salad dressing in some bento condiment containers.
These bento lunches hardly took any time to make; I just made up the rice the night before, making extra when cooking dinner. Then the kids helped cut up the veggies; they feel very special helping to make a lunch for Daddy to take to work! But today, Kalllista enjoyed the emoji bento!
Sous Chef has just about everything you could think of when it comes to cooking supplies, particularly Japanese bento boxes in all shapes, designs, and sizes! Our bento box is a Sakeya, a sake shop! It’s a fun shape, and adult enough for adults to use for work; and if the kids use it no one is likely to know specifically what type of shop it is unless they can read Japanese. This bento box has two full-sized layers, and in the ‘attic space’ you can either add something small, or use the included cool pack. Hold everything together with the elastic band that comes with it. Doesn’t it look beautiful by the sea?
The okazu food cutters we used are in the photo above; still in their package so you can see them all neat and tidy (We now keep them in a plastic box so they stay tidy in our kitchen cupboard). You can create lots of different characters with this set! And the tweezers come in very handy for picking up some of those small facial features.
Sous Chef also has some fun accessories that aren’t specifically for the kitchen….like these kids sushi socks. They come all nicely rolled up looking like sushi, but unroll them and the kids can wear some groovy socks! Pay attention to how you’ve unrolled them and they can be re-rolled again to sit lovely in the dresser drawer, too. Don’t worry, it isn’t very difficult; my children are able to do it! I wish I had smaller feet so I could wear these! One pair is shrimp, and the other futomaki.