Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bento Box: Soboro (Rice with Toppings)

I've seen a lot of these saboro recipes but this is the first time I've ever attempted to make one, again this is from the "Just Bento" cookbook. It tasted really good, I think the only thing that could have made it better is if I had one of those rice machines on a timer, so that the rice was fresh that morning instead of having sat in the fridge overnight.

There are four toppings to this one - the flavoured carrot batons are used as separators between the other three, which are basically vegetable, egg and meat.

First, cook up your rice so that it has time to cool before you come to pack the bento. All of the items below are enough for two portions.

Carrot Soboro
Cut two fresh carrots into little batons and simmer until cooked in 8 tbsp of dashi (or ordinary fish stock), 2 teaspoons of mirin, 2 teaspoons of shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), plus a sprinkle of sugar and a pinch of salt to taste. Put to one side to cool down.

Green Vegetable Soboro
I had peas, the book suggests green beans, I suspect pretty much any green veg would work. I simmered them in the same liquid mixture as for the carrots.

Egg Soboro
Beat two eggs with a teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of sake and salt to taste. Cook just like scrambled egg, except make sure that it is completely cooked through and dry - you don't want any under cooked egg going in tomorrow's lunchbox.

Chicken Soboro
I took the meat off a chicken leg to make this, which was sufficient for two people. You just need to poach the little peices of chicken with a tablespoon of chopped ginger in a liquid mix of: 2 tbsp sake, 2 tbsp mirin, 4 tbsp dashi (or fish stock), 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sugar and salt to taste.

When everything is cooked through, put each dish to one side and leave until cold. Then you can layer each bento box first with a quarter of the rice, then a quarter each of the peas, chicken and egg, separated with the carrot batons. Repeat for a second layer.

In order to make sure that the pretty layers didn't get all mixed up on the way to work, I used old egg boxes laid on top of greaseproof paper to keep everything in place.

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