Delicious food is never hard to find, and when you make it yourself it’s even better. Many people often make their own packed lunch and in anime you can’t go a single series without seeing one. It’s said that the best way to someone’s heart is though their stomach, so, grab your pad and take a few tips. But BEWARE you may “get too excited and make too much food” when trying to impress.
ONIGIRI RICE BALLS (On-e-gear-e)
Onigiri, translated as ‘rice balls,’ are usually triangular, disc-shaped, or capsule-shaped. Ingredients like meat or fruits like plums often are mixed in with the rice or stuffed into the middle. There are many types of molds available to turn Onigiri into bears, bunnies, and other whimsical shapes. Onigiri is meant to be eaten with the hands and often has a strip of nori wrapped around it to keep the fingers from getting sticky.
Karaage, is a Japanese cooking technique in which various meats most often chicken, is deep fried in oil, similar to your own home made KFC. The process involves marinating small pieces of the food in a sauce, then lightly coating it with a seasoned wheat flour or potato starch, and frying in a light oil. It is similar in technique to the preparation of tempura.
Egg is one of the most common bento ingredients, it’s served in various ways, such as tamagoyaki (a slightly sweet layered omelet), hard-boiled, fried, and scrambled with various ingredients. Tamagoyaki is a type of Japanese omelet, which is made by rolling together several layers of cooked egg. These usually are prepared in a rectangular omelet pan called a makiyakinabe.
Sushi is usually cold rice dressed with vinegar, formed into any of various shapes and garnished especially with bits of raw seafood. There are so many varieties out there. For lunches, it’s good to use things like smoked salmon, vegetables, tofu, cooked meats, grilled eel, SPAM and shrimp.
Tako Saugage (Ta-ko saw-sage)
Sausages, or mini wieners, often are cut into various shapes using a sharp knife or molds to resemble animals and other objects, such as an octopus, a crab, or a flower. It may seem childish but this little creative flare is very entertaining and often admired in anime.
Raw, steamed, simmered, boiled, stir-fried, or pickled. It’s always good to use colorful vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, cucumber, peas, broccolini, red/yellow/green bell peppers. Fruits can be another good addition to a lunch everyone loves a colorful and vibrant fruit salad packed with flavor. You also can shape the vegetables using mini cookie cutters to add extra cuteness to your bento.
Miniature kebabs are the cutest! Traditionally made with chicken, beef, vegetables and scallions, you can use whatever suits your fancy to make some yummy kebabs. Yakitori is traditionally skewered with bamboo in Japanese cuisine and then grilled for that smoky flavor and charred texture.