I’ve decided that it would be nice to work on my bento making skills a bit more, but I needed some inspiration. Last night I took the initiative to offer dedication bentos, for only 150 tokens! Well the wonderful KnightGhaleon was the first (and only) guy to take that up and I found myself today realising it was a lot harder than I thought it would be! Let’s have a look at the results!
Hehe, it looks bad right? I actually put a lot of thought and effort into this. I even made a couple of draft ideas, but in the end I came up with this. The left container contains from the top downwards : Rice with two types of furikake on top and some slices of gruyère cheese, some sweet plum tomatoes and finally scrambled egg seasoned with salt and sugar. The container on the right contains a simple nikujaga, that is just a potato and meat stew
So the reason I choose these for Knight’s bento are pretty simple. I firstly had to think about what sort of person Knight was. This is actually very hard to do, because although he is my friend and comes watches my shows a lot, it’s not like we many opportunities to talk one on one. However, from our kik messages and the fun times he’s been my room, my feelings about Knight have always been “He’s so sweet and bright! I always feel at ease when he’s in!” and it’s a really happy, feel-good feeling. You know?
So I wanted the bento to have lots of bright yellow colour, because it’s the colour of the sun and sunflowers which are so bright and happy. That’s why there’s to furikake, the first one I used wasn’t yellow enough! I also needed to convey the sweetness across too, but for that I didn’t want to use sweets or anything. It’s not that kind of candy sweet. Instead he’s a supportive sweet, like the natural sweetness of the plum tomatoes. I also made the scrambled eggs more sweet than salty, using the same recipe I do for my tamago (rolled omelettes) because they’re sweet but not too obtrusive either, a lot like when Knight first started coming into my room and he didn’t talk much or anything, but now he does! It’s the sort of dish that you grows on you and becomes a bigger player in the overall bento than you’d think at first. Finally the nikujaga is there because it’s a traditional dish, meat and potato stew, which has variations around the world. It’s a stew that reminds everyone of home cooking, or “grandma’s taste” or “mum’s taste” even if you mum never made it. It’s filling and substantial with your meat, veg and carbohydrates. I chose this as the main dish for my bento because Knight gives me a feeling of homey goodness, and it’s a taste of something you’ll always look forward to even if eat it a lot!
I thought, when I came up with the idea, I would do a lot of character bentos. Lots of things shaped like flowers or animals, with writing in ketchup. I realised making this today though that when you dedicate something to someone, it’s not just about writing their name. It’s nice to know them too, and so you have to try your best to put your feelings into it. Writing this, I feel really silly and lame, but I hope that my feelings have conveyed across to Knight and I’m only sad he didn’t get to taste it!
Oh, but here’s a recipe for the meat stew (I actually took it from the internet, but I use this recipe myself, although I added carrots this time)
Nikujaga, Japanese stewed meat and potatoes
- 900 g / 2 lbs of potatoes. Use boiling potatoes for a firmer texture, and baking potatoes if you want it rather crumbly and mushy. (Either way it’s good, though the former makes for a prettier dish.)
- 200g / 6 oz thinly sliced beef or pork. “Minute steak” is fine, or just cut up a thin cutlet.
- 1 medium onion
- A small piece of fresh ginger
- about 4-5 cups of dashi stock (You can use the granulated instant dashi, but be careful not to add too much or it will be salty)
- 6 Tbs sugar
- 3 Tbs sake, or sweet sherry
- 3 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 Tbs mirin (or just add another Tbs. of sake and a bit more sugar)
- vegetable oil
- 1 tsp dark sesame oil
- Some chopped green onions for garnish
Peel and cut up the potatoes. Roughly chop up the meat. Slice the onion. Chop the ginger finely.
Sauté the onion and ginger in some oil. Add the meat and sauté till browned.
Add the potatoes and sauté briefly. Add enough dashi stock to cover. Add the sugar, sake, mirin and soy sauce. Add the sesame oil. Bring to a boil, then put a pot lid that’s smaller than the pot you’re using directly on top of the potatoes, Simmer over medium-low heat, until the liquid is much reduced and the potatoes are tender, and infused with a sort of golden color.
Sprinkle with the green onions and toss around in the pan. Serve immedately.
If you are interested in having a bento dedicated to you, it’s only a 150token offline tip! It would also help to add a note of information, like what foods you like or how you found me, because that’s all part of what goes into my planning process. KnightGhaleon was amazingly nice in helping me paint a culinary picture, and I hope he has enjoyed this post! Ah! I forgot to mention why the cheese is in there, it looks out of place right? I added it at the end because I thought he’d be the kind of guy that would like cheese. That’s all!