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Miso Chicken Bento (309)

There are only two days left to vote in my 200k Bento Contest! Also open in this month’s contests is the Furikake Frenzy. I received the first entry last week and hope to see more soon!

Last Friday when I marinated the chicken for my Valentine’s Day lunches, I didn’t cook all of the chicken. This morning I broiled the last three pieces and used one for today’s lunch. Since I wasn’t using already cooked food, it took me an hour to put this one together. I’m pretty sure that time would have been cut in half if I had cooked the chicken and asparagus last night.

We went to Foodland on Sunday to buy Baby Girl some vanilla ice cream, so I bought some of this fishcake while we were there. We had taken her to the allergist on Saturday and after being put in my place like the stupid woman that I am (I think Mr. Pikko can take her to this guy from now on), he told us that we had to eliminate a long list of foods from her diet for a month, then slowly introduce things back. No more yogurt, miso soup, spaghetti, candy, chocolate, strawberries, spam, cheese, and eggs. I know, insane huh? At least it’s not permanent though. He said an acceptable dessert for her was plain vanilla ice cream, so out of pity we went to go get her some.

The fishcake has gobo (burdock root) in it, which isn’t on my list of favorite things, so if I’d bothered to read the label I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Too late now though, so I’m stuck with it! On to today’s bentorial!

Today I chose my two tier Sakura bento box (photo below), which I got from Kaolian for Christmas from J-List. First, I added rice to the box and gently pushed it off into a corner. Next, I sliced up one chicken thigh and placed each piece in order laid on top of the rice. I fried up three stalks of asparagus in olive oil and garlic salt, then sliced the stalks vertically to get the nice look. I put the tops in first, then cut the stalks to varying lengths, adding and removing them from the box to figure out how tall each piece needed to be.

In Step 4, I added sliced fishcake and then tucked some julienned takuan into the open space that was left. The final thing to do is to add an ume to the middle of the rice. If you’re going to be taking a photo of your lunch, I recommend that you leave the ume out until just before you’re ready to snap because the little plum will dye the surrounding rice red if left in there a bit. It doesn’t make for a nice photo with red glow around your ume.

In my second layer I cut up some mango and strawberries.

We bought these at Costco and half of them are mush, which really ticked me off. I might go exchange it tonight, depending on how much time I have.

This is one of my favorite boxes, so I thought I’d take a picture to show it off. Sadly, I couldn’t figure out how to get the darned lamp out of the reflection. I think maybe I should have turned the lightbox so that I wasn’t photographing from the top. I love how I think about that now.

You can buy this box at J-List. They also have a white and pink version available!

On Saturday we tried our best to convince Buddy that it was a cool thing that we were going to Toys R Us to buy him a bike, but once he saw all those kid cars to sit in, he had no interest in even looking at a bike for himself. After that failed, we went to Pearlridge to eat lunch and I wandered into the Sanrio Suprises store in the Downtown section of the mall. They’d totally upped their stock of bento boxes!

I wanted to get one of the 4 stack box sets on the bottom left, but ended up getting a dump truck box (second shelf from top, second box from left) for Buddy. I wish Sanrio would design some better boy designs than the Shinkansen train. I mean, it’s a little cute and all, but it’s not exactly my favorite design.

I’ve been getting nice exposure for my site and bentos in general after Sunday’s article on the bento community. I hope people continue to spread the word about bentoers and that our community expands greatly as a result!

Also, I’ve created a page on Facebook if people are interested in joining. Sadly, I won’t be putting images up there because I’m not all that happy with their recent change to the TOS.

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  • oh! I’ve been drooling over that sakura bento box! I’m soo envyous!

  • I love that box! I have the rounded rectangular version of it.

    Definitely jealous of all the bento boxes available to you!

  • ack… thanks for letting me know about the TOS change.

  • Love the mini tutes you’re doing these days.
    One thing I have to ask about the reflection of the lamp….do you diffuse the light in any way? I normally do. So I place a piece of posterboard in front of the lamp to diffuse the light. That way, your box (or whatever object) just reflects back at you the white posterboard. Normally, that’s not too bad of a reflection. Anyhow, just a suggestion.

  • pssst… i bought all those bento boxes from sanrio a couple of weeks back. all in my melo and sugarbunnies. don’t tell my husband! 😛

  • I *ahem* bought that box for my son for “book research”. I must make little boy bentos too right?

  • Rain

    my 5 year old son loves your bento pictures and would love a little boy one too. call it “securing future bento enthusiasts” get ’em while they’re young and all that.

  • Claire

    Looks beautiful and delicious..

    I know this is probably a n00b question, but could you direct me to some good information about fishcake? I find very little about it, although I see lots of veteran bento makers using it and I assume it is a good source of protein. I go to my local asian market but all the packaging is mostly non-english and I’m lost. Are there basic styles I should try before I get into fancy (accquired taste) flavors? Tips/tricks for preparation?

  • Jennifer

    I love your bento! Cho kawaii! (plus I love it when you write about Hilo since that’s where I’m from…)

    I have a tiny question for you…do you know if Nijiya Market closed? My aunty drove past it yesterday because I wanted something from there and she said it was gone.

  • @Rain Great take on it, I’ll have to use that next time.

    @Claire Are you looking to make your own or just looking for one to buy? If you see the pink kamaboko, that’s one that I can’t imagine someone not liking. I’ve never made my own fishcake, though I want to try!

    @Jennifer That’s cool you’re from Hilo, what high school? 🙂 I don’t think Nijiya Market closed, I was just there last Thursday. You are talking about the one at Puck’s Alley right?

  • Golly! that’s a lovely looking bento and I’m sure delicious too. Definitely an inspiration for me 😀

  • Poor baby girl! Weird that they’d have her cut out cheese but not ice cream.

  • That Sakura bento box is simply gorgeous! I loveit!! And I love also how you’re able to fill it so beautifully with food.

  • Claire

    I’ll probably start with store-bought. How would you suggest preparing it? Does it need to be drained? Does it marinate and cook up like tofu or another protein? Any tips I should know? Thanks!

  • Fishcake is best eaten cold imo. It’s already fried up and all, so you can just enjoy it as is. My family also loves to put it in miso soup or oyako donburi.

  • This looks really good. I like everything in there: asparagus, takuan, tempura, mango and strawberries. I like beef better than chicken but probably chicken goes better with your meal. Great job!

  • Nice lunch! The asparagus looks really pretty cut that way.

  • I love the bento that you make, but you made a comment that inspires me to speak up. Your daughter’s doctor “put you in your place like the woman you are,” so now your husband is going to have to take her to see him? Seriously? Is this the doctor you want dealing with your daughter, who will also grow up to be a woman? For her good, and also yours, she needs to see YOU talking to him about how he speaks to you, and then she needs to hear you saying, “If you can’t be respectful of me, then you can’t be respectful of my daughter, and I will find a doctor who can.”

    That’s on top of the fact that he’s a male doctor, and your daughter may not be entirely comfortable asking him specific questions or even being examined by him as she grows older and more in tune with the fact that she is in fact female. I loved my doctor as a child, but once I was about eight and had figured out that I was a girl, I needed a female doctor.

  • The reason that I’ve stuck with him is that I like how blunt he is about how serious her allergies are. The first time I saw him he warned me he’d be this way so that I wouldn’t leave his office with some wispy idea that she’ll be fine. It just really irritated me that he basically set me up to fail by asking me a question he knew I’d have the “wrong” answer to, then interrupted me. When I tried to still finish what I was saying, he told me that I should just let him finish cause he’s done this for blah blah years and he knows what he’s talking about. When my daughter is older she can pick another doctor. 🙂