Monday, February 15, 2010

Rice & Bento

Good evening to the bento world; at least my mini-bento and very mini world.  It's so cold out that the writing on Sarah Palin's hand said, "Economy," "jobs," & "put gloves on stupid".  {thanks to Jimmy Fallon}.  Due to a popular request from the birthday girl I thought I would briefly review the rice and sushi component of bento. 

First the rice; a good quality, premium grade, Japanese or sushi rice.  Basically buy the best quality rice you can afford or find.  I make one cup at a time but you could make more.  Measure one cup of rice into the pot, rinse vigorously under running water swishing around with your hands.  Drain, add new water, swish, repeat 2-3 times.  Drain leaving a little water and massage or polish the rice.  Add water, rinse, drain, repeat a couple of times until the water is almost clear.  Drain in a sieve and let is set 30 minutes or more.  Put it back in the pot, add 1 to 1-1/4 cups of water and put on medium heat until it boils.  Cook on high for about 30 seconds and lower to simmer, cover, and cook for 5-10 minutes until the water is completely absorbed.  Remove from the heat, put a cloth over the pan, and let it rest for 15 minutes or so.  The idea is rice with grains that stick together but are not mushy or watery.  {All this was taken from}.  This is a process but I typically do it while prepping all the other stuff for the next day and after a while it is kind of mindless.  The whole deal takes about an hour and at least it is an hour spent after work not drinking, although occasionally there is some overlap.

Sesame seeds, rice, broccoli & carrots, asparagus, avocado, scallion, cucumber, hot pepper

If you are making sushi rice there is one more step.  While the rice is cooking take 1 tblsp of rice vinegar, 1 tblsp of sugar, and 1 tsp of kosher salt; mix in a small bowl; and microwave for 30-40 seconds.  When the rice is still warm mix with the rice and then allow to cool.  There's lot of versions of how to do this but this is the simpliest I've found. 

Then you are ready to roll.  To prevent anyone falling asleep the rolling can be reviewed another time, but it is fairly easy with a little practice.  Above is the latest roll for Monday's lunch, pre-roll.  Asparagus, cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese.  Another roll had scallion and sesame seed combined with asparagus & cucumber, and a third another vegetable combination. 

Here is Monday's finished bento box.  The small comparment has salmon saved from Saturday's dinner, broccoli & carrots, and cherry tomatoes.  The larger comparment has the vegetable sushis, plus pear & cherries.  That's a little sundried tomato on top of the sushi and a cornichon in the corner.  Lots of the little things are available from salad bars; the other stuff we buy in either small quantities or use the larger part for dinner, and some of the stuff is leftover from dinners.

I am trying for 2-3 blogs per week.  Be back Wednesday hopefully.

Cheers, Gary


  1. Well explained and well photographed. Thanks for the birthday shout out! Oh and that veggie sushi was delish :)

  2. I love it! I am definitely considering getting a bento box of my own... Making sushi is fun and easy, but I'm not allowed to have seaweed because of the iodine. I wonder what else I could use. Happy blogging!

  3. I think you could roll the sushi without the seaweed; the rice is fairly sticky and holds together. The first couple I tried I put wax paper between the seaweed and the rolling mat thinking it would keep the mat clean. It turned out the wax paper got in the way and the seaweed protects the mat. I would guess the wrap paper could replace the seaweed between the mat and rice without being rolled into the sushi. Having a bowl of cold salted water also helps in handling the rice without it sticking to your hands or spoon or the knife when you cut the sushi logs into pieces. The mats are very inexpensive and available at Whole Foods, kitchen stores, and such. Other than the wax paper I have no ideas for something thin you could both roll and eat {grape leaves sound weird with sushi}.

  4. I found something! Soy Paper!