Monday was a public holiday in Japan, and we went to this beautiful and exciting museum called Team Lab / Borderless.
As soon as you step in to the museum, the world of fantasy spreads before your eyes, with the incredible combination of darkness, exuberant lightings and dreamlike hues. Kids start squealing in excitement, and grownups get stunned, marveling the creativity put into it.
Having been inspired, the next morning I wanted to make a colorful bento for my little girl, but I totally forgot about grocery shopping. I didn’t have much in my fridge, and all I could come up with was this unflattering bento. The panda pick was my pathetic effort to give some accent. Maybe that is how the reality goes, and I accept my shortcomings to start a new week.
Hijiki rice with scrambled egg, Boiled green beans, Sliced cabbage, Stir-fried Potato & spinach
Pear & kiwi for desssert
12 ingredients in total.
Our daughter doesn’t like a chunk of meat in general. She says it’s too chewy and dry, and prefers soft minced meat such as hamburger steak. It had always been like that since she was a toddler, until one day, she ate Tonkatsu (Ton (Pork) + Katsu (Cutlet) = Deep-fried Japanese pork cutlet). About a year ago I took her to one of the most popular Tonkatsu restaurants in Japan (the famous Maisen) where she ate a slice of this freshly fried, juicy, tender, tasty pork Tonkatsu with their rich, sweet & savory shiny brown sauce. It must have been an eye opener for her, because ever since then she became a big Tonkatsu fan.
Last night I made it for dinner, and she kept taking a slice after another, to the point where I had to tell her to stop eating any more. She indulgently poured the Tonkatsu sauce (store bought – they have a good selection in the supermarket) over the Tonkatsu slices and ate it with great pleasure.
I don’t know if she knows it yet; I certainly won’t encourage her to make a connection that the pork is pig, who she adores through her favorite Olivia and Peppa Pig.
– Pork filet (preferably with a bit of fat)
– Egg (beaten)
– Bread crumbs (in Japan we use what is called “Pan-Ko (パン粉)“, which is rough bread crumbs rather than the fine powdery ones you see in the western countries)
– Oil (I mixed salad oil and olive oil yesterday – I do NOT recommend sesame oil for Tonkatsu. It’d be too heavy)
- Make some incisions between fat & flesh – this way it prevents the filet to warp once being placed in hot oil
- Sift a large spoonful of flour over the pork filet and cover it entirely
- Dip the floured pork filet into the beaten egg
- In a tray, pour a cup of bread crumbs, place the egged pork fillet on top and cover the crumbs over the fillet
- Pour the oil in a small frying pan, heat up the oil (drop a small bread crumb in it for testing – it’s ready when it immediately comes back up on the surface)
- Deep-fry it in medium heat until the flesh becomes harder (kind of like someone’s bicep muscles, rather than my soft tricep)
- Once ready, take it out of the pan and place it on top of a sheet of kitchen paper placed on a metal net (so that it wouldn’t get soggy from the heat)
- Eat with the delicious Tonkatsu sauce
Shirasu (baby sardine) rice with nori seaweed & sesame & wakana sprinkle, Hamburg steak, Slices veggie salad, Boiled broccoli, Boiled egg
Kiwi & Nashi pear for dessert
19 ingredients in total!
Menu: Nikudon (pork on rice), Hijiki, Boiled green beans, Boiled egg
Kiwi & banana for dessert
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Sautéed spinach & bacon, Boiled string beans, Boiled cabbage & daikon, Boiled egg, Rice with goma-konbu
Kiwi and banana for dessert
Menu: Grilled cod with saikyo miso marinade, Spinach omelet, Veggies from miso soup, Rice with goma-shio (sesame & salt sprinkle)
Sliced kiwi for dessert
Our daughter loves miso soup, especially with cabbage. She had a cold for a week and at long last is getting better. At the same time her appetite is coming back as well, and I made her favorite miso soup as part of her dinner. She gobbled all the cabbage & carrots in the soup before eating anything else on her dinner plate. She must’ve craved veggies after a week of eating only yogurt, jelly and apple mousse. So this morning I thought why not putting in the leftover miso soup veggies although it is not common at all to reuse them for bento. For Japanese, miso soup is miso soup, it’s not ‘okazu’, the side dish. It never occurred to me until now either, but there should be no problem to pack your soup ingredients in your lunch box. There is no such rule, and no one can blame you for that. Plus my daughter loves them, and they are very tasty.
It may sound funny to hear my excuse for using the miso soup veggies, but sometimes you feel hesitant to break one’s habits repeated for years and years. Well, I also admit that I was being lazy in the morning and wanted to stay in bed for 5 extra minutes rather than getting up to make one extra dish for bento from scratch.