We usually make sandwiches to take to our respective work for lunch. Although we have a quite collection of Japanese bento boxes, I rarely make bento for lunch (too much work). This was such a rare occasion. I made this for my wife since she was having surgery for her rotator cuff injury. Although this was a same day surgery, we knew she would be essentially fasting nearly 20 hours, before, during, and after surgery, by the time she was released from the hospital. Knowing she would be hungry I made this bento box so that she could eat it either at the hospital or on the way home in the car. (She wolfed it down in the car on the way home). I chose a two-layered Bento box (for adults) which is very functional and the right size that we like best. Both the bottom of the top layer and lid have gaskets and once the elastic band is applied it makes a good seal preventing leakage.
It came with a Japanese style “Kinchaku” pouch 巾着. Since the rabbit is my wife’s Japanese/Chinese zodiac animal, this is very appropriate.
So, the night before, I packed this bento for her. This lunch box comes with a small mold which can be pressed on the rice to make small individual semi-cylinders. This makes eating the rice a bit easier and looks more elegant. I sprinkled dried red perilla salt (“Yukari” ゆかり) on one row and dried green seaweed (“Aonori” 青のり) on the other. The small compartment next to the rice (which can be adjusted) is usually for pickled or salted vegetables (“Tsukemono” 漬物) but I put salad (my cucumber salad, skinned and sliced Campari tomato and arugula).
The upper layer can be divided into 4 compartments for side dishes. The central “H” partition can be slid to adjust the sizes of the end compartments. For protein, I used fish, pork, chicken, and egg including grilled salmon and Spanish mackerel simmered in miso (left), barbecued pork loin thinly sliced (center upper) and chicken squares with gorgonzola cheese and dried fig topped with my home-made figgy cranberry sauce (center, lower). Of course, any Japanese bento box has to have “dahimaki” Japanese omelet (right).
Both grilled salmon and blue fish simmered in miso were leftovers and I separated the two with slices of cucumber.
I added dried green sea weed “Aonori” to the “dashimaki” Japanese omelet . To make a snug fit for the space, I used slices of tomato.
Despite my wife’s total lack of ability to use her right arm/hand, she enjoyed and finished the bento box in the car. She said the bento was very good and assured me it was not due to “Hunger being the best sauce”. I thought the amount was quite large but she somehow managed to finish it. Now, she is on the mend and gradually regaining her right arm functions with physical therapy. I should make bento more often–for less serious occasions.