Making Bento Box, The Beginner’s Guide | Bento has earned a reputation for being a healthy lunch or dinner on the go as they are stuffed with nutrients, colour and great taste. The image of a packed bento may fill a novice with trepidation thinking about the daunting task that lies ahead while preparing the meal. However, this need not be the case. If you adhere to a few simple guidelines you too can pack an awesome bento meal.
Flavorsome and Satisfying
The basic rule for making bento which many forget in their haste to pack a healthy, appetising serving of lunch or dinner.
- First ascertain the type of foods you just cannot go without in the course of the day. Are you a fish or meat lover? Or are you crazy about colorful veggies? Do you like to have something different every day? Go for variety so that you can work with a lot of ingredients.
- Next, ascertain the portion size. Every single inch of space in your box should be utilised; so pack your meal tightly. The contents of your meal should be filling and flavorsome.
Pack the Right Kind of Food
The contents of a bento box are meant to be eaten at room temperature after sitting in the box for a few hours. Hence, certain kinds of foods are not advisable to be packed in a bento such as raw fish as in sushi, for example. This gets spoiled soon and is meant to be eaten right away.
The best foods that go in a serving include stir-fried, cooked, boiled or vinegared food items. For example, vinegared salads, hard-boiled eggs, fried chicken are just to name a few examples in this context. With regard to rice, ensure that it is prepared fresh in the morning or if you have previous night leftovers then add vinegar to it or salt it to prevent it from spoiling. Brown rice, millet, quinoa or pasta without a dairy based sauce are few other carb choices for a meal.
Maintaining a balance of texture, balance of colors, balance of ingredients and so on is at the core of a bento box. As for the ingredients, balance as per the Japanese principle comprises of 50% proteins vs. 50% carbs, veggies and pickled items. However, you are the one who decides what goes into your bento box. The point to note is to include as much variety as possible.
For a balance of color add some bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, boiled egg, broccoli or beans that balance the browns of your cooked food. A perfect serving includes varied textures. Include the crunchiness of carrots, softness of rice, juiciness of tomatoes or grapes, tenderness of fried chicken into your bento to bring balance of textures. A balance in cooking methods is also needed. It is essential that you do not focus on a single cooking method, which means all your food should not solely be fried or boiled or raw. It should have a mix of everything.
On a Concluding Note
Packing a bento comes easy once you get used to it and this is achieved through practice. Begin simple and then go elaborate.