Recently I received my copy of Makiko Itoh’s, The Just Bento Cookbook which I picked up online from Amazon. First off, I am a big fan of Maki and her site Just Bento which is full of wonderful recipes, tip, and hints to making and packing healthy bentos. While her cookbook contains a lot of delicious Japanese recipes, I was pleased to find a lot of international recipes as well. Maki’s cookbook is really the complete package, as it not only gives you recipes, but also provides you step-by-step cooking and packing techniques. There are hundreds of beautifully taken photos that will inspire you to get up and make your own beautiful bento.
One of the first recipes that I tried was the Chicken Kara-age with green onion sauce. At first I was taken aback by the amount of fresh ginger that the recipe called for which was 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger to 4 ounces of chicken. I made a pound of chicken so I needed to use 4 teaspoons. Personally I love ginger, but I was afraid that it would be too strong for the kids. Anyway, I did as the recipe instructed and I was so impressed with the wonderful flavor of the chicken! The ginger was not overwhelming at all, and my kids and husband absolutely loved it. The chicken was moist and flavorful on the inside and amazingly crunchy on the outside. The green onion sauce was a delicious addition to the chicken, so don’t forget to make that too! The bento pictured is my lunch today which contains Maki’s chicken kara-age on a bed of lettuce, white rice with pearl barley, Japanese pickles, and ume.
This was one of Paige’s bentos from the other day. It contained two snowman onigiri, fried chicken, sauteed broccoli and carrots, and a mini apple.