Just a good, colorful bento guest that, though I have never tasted, is enjoyed very well by my husband!
Tips and tricks
I've done this many times without mirin and I think it was fine. I have no idea between the difference in taste, anyway. ^_^;
Another version of tamagoyaki that earned a voluntary "the egg today was delicious" comment from my husband was when I used small bits of eggplant (instead of carrot and bell pepper), a bit of milk (instead of mirin) and cheese slice (instead of nori).
I've had better days with tamagoyaki rolling but I didn't have a chance to do a pictorial aside from when they were already in my husband's bento box:
When I first cooked this recipe for my husband exactly a year ago, he asked me to cook it for dinner and his bento again. And then again. We ate this 5 times during that week.
Then a few weeks later, I found out from his mother that since he was a child, he has never liked curry. I was so surprised! Turns out, my husband doesn't like Japanese curry-- in which they put a bit of ketchup, Worcester sauce and apple to flavor it. (I've tasted it from a vegetarian restaurant in Nara City called "Kinatei" and for me, it is to-die-for! I couldn't get enough of it. But well, if I'm cooking for just 2 people, I'd prefer to cook this coco curry so that my husband will also eat. :P But I'll be posting a standardized version of vegan Japanese curry next time. ^_~)
Anyway, let's just go straight to the recipe. :)
I first tasted this dish when a very good college friend cooked this for me. My friend used simpler ingredients (just good tofu, red chili, salt and pepper) but it was really delicious. This is just a tastier version-- so that even non-vegetarians will hopefully love our simple tofu friend a bit more and; so that even lazy kitchen people can enjoy a quick, plain-looking but tasty tofu dish.
Eggy Eggplant. Egg-Plant. Egg and the Plant. Stir-fried Egg and Eggplant. Mother and Egg.
One time my older brother mocked me for my choice of password for my laptop. My password then was "password". But after a few months, my younger sister started overusing my laptop when I'm not home, without my permission. So I decided to change my password. After some time, my brother borrowed my laptop and asked me my new password. I whispered to him "new password". He said verbatim, "for a sister of such creativity, you suck at passwords".
Yeah, I have very poor naming ability too. I named my bicycle Kicchan because it was given to me by a Kida-san. There are still a few examples on my poorly-named list but let's just go back to the dish.
I didn't want to turn you off with a poor dish name, as it did when I reread my candidates above. So I decided to call it "nasu omelet".
Nasu・茄子 is Japanese for "eggplant". I thought this name gives this very simple dish a bit of curiosity, enough to make you try it (and now you know another Japanese word ^_~). This dish is really worth a try-- my husband assures you. I also like running to this dish when I'm out of bento ideas.
Tips and Tricks
If you want it looking meaty like the one on the picture above, stir-fry it a bit longer.
Otherwise, transfer immediately to a plate to decrease after-cooking heat from the pan.
Takikomi gohan is a Japanese dish whose main ingredient is rice. It is cooked and seasoned with various ingredients, but in this recipe, we'll simply use carrot, aburaage, shiitake mushroom and our usual seasonings. Trivia-- gohan means cooked rice.
I remember when I cooked this recipe, I intended it for my husband's bento. After lunch the following day, my husband sent me a text message (which he doesn't usually do), to say that the takikomi gohan was very delicious! ^____________^ yeey!
Okay then, let's get started!
Sweet-miso glazed eggplant, or which I am more comfortable to call "nasu dengaku, | なす田楽", is a VERY easy recipe which involves a homemade sweet miso sauce and eggplant which I sometimes grill, fry or roast.
I've done this recipe at a family friend's gathering for dinner, together with other dishes, but this one became the highlight of the night. Everyone loved the sauce and even used it to dress their fresh cucumbers and lightly grilled tofu. Now I owe everyone this recipe. Sorry it's late! Been having difficulty getting myself to blog again. But this one's standardized now! ^_^
Tips and Tricks
This dish tastes good even after the eggplant has lost heat. But you will be surprised at how wonderful it can taste when the eggplant is still hot! My technique is, of course, either cook the eggplant just before it is eaten or; toast the sweet-miso-glazed eggplant in the toaster just before eating. If you want to have it in your bento, it is possible. Just don't mix the sauce and the eggplant and be prepared to be attracted to a possibly off-colored eggplant. ^_~ just close your eyes and it can taste as good as freshly... no. Freshly cooked is still best, but it tastes good even when packed for a later meal.
The technique in making the sauce is cooking it under low heat all the way through and; using a small saucepan so as to make it very easy to handle. When using wide pans, the sauce unnecessarily spreads out, letting the circumference of the mixture burn fast.
As for the kind of miso, if you can't find 58% less salt, just get any white miso and adjust the mirin and sugar first on the recipe. I've tried using red miso, but it didn't taste as good. I bet a mix of red and white miso will be amazing but I haven't tried that so far.
My husband is not a cheesaholic.
So I didn't have chance to prepare this dish until recently, when I started working and I need to bring my own bento. It doesn't only look beautiful in my bento, it tasted awesome. So for my first two weeks at work, it was an everyday guest in my lunch box. ^_~
Tips and tricks
I haven't tried it (because I don't think it matches the other flavors in my bento, like pad thai etc.), but I'm pretty sure it will taste wonderful with a dash of Italian herbs. It can also be a perfect side or topping to any kind of pasta sauce-- red, white or green. Don't you think so?
Well, here we go to two great recipes that I learned from my husband and from his mother.
This peppered pumpkin is one the my husband's favorite way of eating pumpkin. I've never seen pumpkin prepared this way until he cooked it, and I instantly fell in love as much as I fell for him. Uhm... maybe I'd choose the pumpkin. *evil laugh*
I've heard about tofu burgers before but my first time to cook it was after I actually watched my mother-in-law prepare her own version. Which was also her first time. It was good and I loved it but it was quite thick (about an inch) so the non-vegs in the house didn't appreciate it as much as I did.
Then the next day, before lunchtime, I was looking for it. And found out that my sister-in-law ate all the remaining 3 and a half burgers while drinking non-alcoholic beer the previous midnight.
So I guess this dish passed with flying colors! ^_^
For the peppered pumpkin, I'd like to mention a very important comment from my husband: sweet pumpkins work wonders in this recipe.
This is a must-try especially for peanut butter lovers.
Tips and tricks
I've tried adding mirin into this sauce and decreasing sugar a little and it had a wonderful deeper layer of flavor.
You may also mix some boiled or stir-fried vegetables like carrots and broccoli to make it colorful and more nutritious.
I didn't really have a name for this dish. I just cooked it one night for my husband's bento and when he got home, he said, 'the spinach in my bento this lunch was very delicious! what did you put in it?'. And concluding that the pepper was the amazing twist in that spinach, he requested another peppered spinach for that evening and the following day's bento. ^_~
Fried tofu on gingery cabbage topped with stir-fried shiitake mushroom is a simple-tasting yet delicious dish that is perfect for freshening up your taste buds specially after a series of too flavorful meals.
Inspired by the Filipino soup, nilaga, the cabbage layer of this dish is flavored quite similarly with the said soup. However, since this one was also meant to be included in my husband's bento, I made this one as "dry" as possible. I just lightly stir-fried the cabbage on ginger, then added a little water to cook and soften it.
My husband loved this dish from the moment he first tasted it, so he requested it to be cooked again and again and we ended up eating it for 4 consecutive meals... 0.o
Kiriboshi daikon is radish cut into strips and dried. It is sold in packs and normally cooked as a side dish.
This dish has many variations. Some mix hijiki (a black kind of seaweed), some mix boiled soy beans. It smells very strong so I haven't got any drive to actually eat it. But my husband likes this so I keep on cooking this from time to time-- despite the, uhm excuse me, farty smell. :P
A classic Japanese food!
You can't go wrong with the taste but be careful of overeating because it's a solid pool of oil!
Tips and tricks
If you don't have tempura flour, you can use cornstarch and flour mixture. But it burns faster so you will have to cook the vegetables in lowest fire or else the outside will end up cooked or burnt and the inside really hard and inedible, especially in case of pumpkin.
Flour-cornstarch mixture and a little ajinomoto can make a delicious tempura but I've never made crunchy tempura out of this. They look crunchy while cooking but they end up oily (or worst, soggy) a few minutes after removing from oil.
So, if you discover any good tip and tricks to a successful tempura even without using tempura flour, please share it with us! ^_^
A vegetarian for 12 years and a kitchen warrior since I moved in to Japan, my favorite battle has been winning over my husband's interestingly complicated taste buds.