Have you ever heard “Bento” before? Bento is a Japanese lunch box which is filled with something compact and easy to eat inside a box. Here, when I said “Bento style”, I referred to small cooked items as fillings of Bento. Something I can pick easily with chopsticks.
I made three items: Dashimaki Tamago (rolled egg omelet), Rolled Vegetables in Beef and Okura with Ume-boshi.
Dashimaki (rolled & seasoned) Tamago(eggs):
I put a scant of dried bonito base (diluted in water), Mirin(sweet Sake) and salt for taste. Mix eggs and the rest of ingredients well, heat a skillet and add grapeseed oil, then pour egg mixture spreading evenly. As soon as the eggs become a bit solid, start rolling the egg using chopsticks and shape like a cylinder. Inside this omelet needs to be a bit soft.
Place a plastic wrap on a counter where I put the omelet on. And then just wrap the omelet and roll to shape but I have to be careful so that I don’t burn my fingers. I used Maki-su (a tiny bamboo mat-like item to roll sushi inside) to shape the omelet in cylinder.
When it’s cool, just cut in desired thickness.
Rolled Vegetables in Beef:
On top of a paper-thin beef slices, I sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper, and place cooked vegetables on one end. After I just roll beef slices tightly like a mini cylinder.
Cook these in a skillet with heated oil. Season with soy sauce and ketchup. When they are slightly cooler, I cut them in half.
Okura and Ume-boshi (pickled salty plum):
Slice Okura, add finely chopped Ume-boshi, a little Men-tsuyu (Japanese noodle sauce for Udon) and dried bonito flakes.
Beside these, I cooked 3 different types of rice (brown, red and black) with cut tomato cubes, sautéed diced onions and chicken bouillon, a rosemary branch and water.
Usually, the Japanese rarely eat rice in this fashion. But for me, if it tastes good and healthy with loads of anthocyanin (type of flavonoids), then it’s even better than using processed white rice.
As an accompaniment, I prepared Miso (fermented soy bean paste) soup with several vegetables.
They are all easy to make in a short time which require about less than 1 hour not including a cooking time for rice.
I try to make something healthy with lots of vegetables and natural fresh produces. Do you know the Japanese live much longer than those folks in the other advanced countries who tend to live longer than the rest of the world. But it doesn’t matter if you live longer or not, if you are invalid in bed. My mother is a good example. She’s well over 70 now but she doesn’t need to take any pills to lower her blood pressure or cholesterol. She is totally healthy and active for her age. In general, old-fashioned Japanese eat healthily with grains, vegetables, seaweeds and fruits and some protein from soy beans, some meats and fish. I assume a good balance in diet is important for maintaining well-being and youth-”full”-ness.
In Japan, there is a proverb which I believe derived from China in ancient time.
In short, I want to keep whatever coming into my mouth, mostly they shall be GOOD.