Menu: goma konbu (marinated kelp with sesame) on rice, tarako (salted roe of Alaskan pollock) in between two layers of rice, chicken tofu pâtés, green beans with sesame sauce, pumpkin egg salad, broccoli and cherry tomato
2 new ingredients for our little girl’s kindergarten bento today; goma konbu (marinated kelp with sesame) and tarako (salted roe of Alaskan pollock).
goma konbu is marinated kelp (konbu) with sesame (goma) seeds, usually seasoned with soysauce based marinade. It tastes salty but sweet, kind of similar to teriyaki. I didn’t cook it, actually have never made one before, as it can be easily found in any supermarket. It is one of the most common ingredients for packed lunches in Japan, which always comes with rice. Similar to furikake, in Japan we say it is a “friendly match” with plain, unseasoned rice. The reaction from our daughter for this attempt? Two thumbs up!
The other new ingredient I put in our daughter’s kindergarten lunch for the first time is so-called tarako, salted pinkish roe of Alaskan pollock. The name “tarako” comes from the fish’s Japanese name, “suketou tara“, and “ko“, meaning children. It’s super fishy and salty but incredibly tasty, kind of the way Italian bottarga or caviar is. Tarako is however amazingly accessible compared to those western delicacy, and is eaten at any Japanese household on a regular basis. Its saltiness goes very well with rice, and is a popular ingredient for onigiri. For the bento I sneaked tarako in between two layers of rice, thinking it’d be too fishy if its exposed. According to our girl’s class teacher, Miss N, our daughter hurriedly closed her bento box lid when Miss N. walked past that day, but when she was asked she reluctantly admitted she couldn’t finish the rice because of the “pink thingy” in the rice. When I picked her up afterwards she very politely asked me to not put the pink thingy in the bento anymore… because it was yucky…. Hmmmm….ok… I’ll try sneaking it in some other time. It is an acquired taste, and I believe it’ll take a while for her to get used to this…