January 29, 2009

O-Bento Day/お弁当の日

First of all, I made curry (well, Japanese curry, of course) for supper last night.
For me and for millions of other Japanese, curry is something that you make when you just can't think of the right dish to make. For me, this happens once or twice a month.
The premade curry roux that I used to make curry:

In most cases, the ingredients of my curry are pretty basic: Thinly sliced pork (or chicken), carrots, onions, and potatoes.

This morning, I had to make an o-bento (or bento, which is less polite) for my daughter. On normal school days, almost all elementary and junior high school children in Japan have kyushoku (school lunches). But today was an alpine ski lesson day for the third graders at my daughter's elementary school, and they had to bring an o-bento with them.
Bento making is a major hassle for me, because I'm not yet used to this. I usually make as many preparations the night before as I can, yet I have to get up about 30 minutes earlier than usual on that day. This time, I made atsuyaki tamago (thick rolled omelet and lotus root kinpira last night.
The leftmost item in the photo is an oshibori (wet towel) in a container, and the top item is canned fruit cocktail in a Tupperware container. I wanted to include some fresh fruit like melon or strawberries, but fruit prices were high today, so no fresh fruit this time.

I made three types of onigiri (rice balls), nameshi (vegetable greens), salmon flakes, and yukari (red perilla).

I showed my daughter the bento, and explained each item of it, and she said she preferred the Hello Kitty chopsticks that she used to use when she was a preschooler. I tried to dissuade her, saying that they were now too short for her, but she insisted.
Shown in the photo are (top to bottom): Waribashi (disposable chopsticks), Hellow Kitty chopsticks and container, and the chopsticks for my daughter's everyday use. You can see their difference in length.

My daughter said that she wanted only one of each type of onigiri. I wrapped each onigiri in plastic wrap, as well as sheets of nori (laver).

A complete set of bento, together with her water bottle, which contains hot barley tea.


Stacy D said...

Hello Hiroyuki!!
I read your blog all the time, I find it fascinating what people eat in other countries.

The wooden chopsticks say "otemoto", can you tell me what that means?

Hiroyuki said...

Stacy: Thanks for your comment. I'm still too busy to add additional text.
"Otemoto" literally means "on hand", and in this case, it is short for "otemoto hashi" (chopsticks on hand). The term is usually used to mean a pair of disposable chopsticks made of either wood or bamboo for use by a diner when having his or her dishes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hiroyukiさん,

I also very often read your blog, because it is informative yet very pleasant to read.
I'd never thought of using pork in curry. I always use beef or chicken. I'll try it some day.

I have tried a few of your recipes on Egullet. Your tentsuyu sauce was absolutely delicious, especially with the grated daikon. I did add 2 teaspoons of sugar cause the soy sauce was quite salty (I'd used chinese soy sauce. When I tasted the sauce after it was boiled, it kind of had a funky weird taste. At that point I thought I'd messed up somewhere in the proces or used the wrong soy sauce. But the key was actually letting it chilled in the fridge and it turned out really really good. I just want to thank you for sharing that recipe. どうもありがとうございます。


Hiroyuki said...

momocha: I browsed through your blog and was surprised that it had expanded quite a lot since I visited it for the first time. Your macarons are mouth-watering!

Stacy D said...

Hi again Hiroyuki
I commented on this post such a long time ago but I was reading it again because of the curry.
I recently bought a box of Kokumaro brand curry. I found a picture of the box here:

I was wondering if you ever used that brand name before?

Hiroyuki said...

Stacy: Yes, I have. Kokumaro Chukara (Medium Hot). As you say, it's a little spicier than Vermont. My absolute favorite curry roux is Java (Jawa?) Curry Karakuchi (the hottest one that House offers).
Your curry looks yummy, and is very interesting; large cuts of potato and whole carrots!