Colorful Lunches


There is folk wisdom to help Japanese Moms pack healthy lunches. "Something from the mountains, something from the sea" is one guideline and another is to use a mix of colors and cooking styles: steamed broccoli, sauteed shitake mushrooms, pickled ginger, scrambled egg, batter-fried fish (meat-colored!) and, of course white rice.

So today's Recipe Thursday lays out a nice Japanese lunch. Maybe you can take this with you on your next picnic. These recipes are derived from "Colorful Obento" published by Toppan (in Japanese). I've tried to avoid the ones with esoteric Japanese ingredients...

All recipes are for 1 portion.

Sauteed Chicken Breast with Nori
80 gr cskinless chicken breast
2 tsp "aonori" (powdered, bright green seaweed)
1/2 tsp oil
pinch salt

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Sautee in oil, add salt. dust with aonori, coating pieces evenly. If you don't have aonori, you could try crushed dried basil or your favorite green herb.

Ebi Mayo
5-6 small shrimp, frozen
1 tsp onion, minced
1/2 tsp butter
1 Tbsp mayonnaise

Sautee the onion in butter until it softens, toss the shrimp in the pan to heat through. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper. When cool, mix with mayo.

Sweet and Sour Cauliflower
40 gr cauliflower (3-4 florettes)
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Steam the cauliflower. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt. Drizzle the drained cauliflower with the sauce.

Green Beans with Black Sesame
20 gr green beans
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp crushed black sesame seeds

Steam the beans. Drain and toss with soy, sugar and sesame.

Red Cabbage Pickles
50 gr red cabbage, shredded
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
oil and soy sauce to taste

Mix the cabbage and salt, pressing firmly in your hands. allow to sit for five to ten minutes, until it starts to wilt. Rinse and pat dry. Top with vinegar, oil and soy sauce.

Rolled Omlette with Clams
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp canned clams
1 tsp sake
1/4 tsp oil

Mince the clams and mix them with the egg and sake. Over medium high heat, lightly oil a small frying pan. Spread he egg mixture evenly, and cook until done. Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly. Roll the omlette tightly and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Don't forget the rice!


Thanks, I didn't know know the first one I have to make two lunch boxes for my duahgters, so the recipe is useful. Well, sauteed chiken wrapped with NORI also tastes good.

What a nice lunch! Looking forward to trying this. Luckily there's a pretty good Asian market near my home, and the supermarket has a decent Asian section. I eat a low-carbohydrate diet, so I'll have to omit the rice and substitute Splenda for the sugar, but the rest of it sounds divine! I'll have to get a bento box. *grin*

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  • Razor: What a nice lunch! Looking forward to trying this. Luckily read more
  • Mieko: Thanks, I didn't know know the first one I have read more