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75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent addition for an English bento book collection
When I saw that a good looking new English bento book was released, and from a Japanese author, I had to have it right away. This is only the second English bento book I have. If you are interested in bento making and can't read Japanese, I say get this book RIGHT NOW. You should have no hesitations whatsoever.

If you can read Japanese, you probably wouldn't be...
Published 23 months ago by Merve Kaya

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ten-Minute Bento book by Megumi Fujii
This book was more about placement in bento boxes than about recipes. Very traditional. I will not use it frequently, but I do like the pictures and will refer to them now and then.
Published 17 months ago by Leslie Carter


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75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent addition for an English bento book collection, August 14, 2012
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This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
When I saw that a good looking new English bento book was released, and from a Japanese author, I had to have it right away. This is only the second English bento book I have. If you are interested in bento making and can't read Japanese, I say get this book RIGHT NOW. You should have no hesitations whatsoever.

If you can read Japanese, you probably wouldn't be looking at this book anyway, but just in case: I highly advise you to skip on this book because there is nothing new in it that you won't find from much better books. A few recommendations are つくりおきおかずで朝つめるだけ!and おべんとうつくりの正解.

That being said, let's get to the actual review of it as a cookbook:

I found the recipes authentic yet very simple. There are decidedly Japanese bentos (ex. Rolled omelet and boiled hijiki bento) and very non-Japanese bentos (ex. French toast salad bento) included in the book to satisfy every palate. However, quite a few of the recipes include Japanese items that may not be easily found in your regular grocery store. I believe this is because the book is just a translation from its Japanese counterpart. Things like seven-spice powder, yukari, konjac, wakame, hijiki; I definitely do not have in any grocery stores near me. I would not even know what some of these items were if it wasn't for my Japanese bento books. But at least half of the recipes use only common ingredients (assuming you have access to things like mirin, sake, rice vinegar, miso). If you have an Asian store near you, no problem. I personally make bentos every day of the workweek and prefer to use ingredients I can obtain easily.

One thing that should be noted is that this book is based on bentos that have the sides on top of the rice. That is the case for every bento in the book that has rice, and the ingredients and toppings are selected to be appropriate for that purpose.

Compared to my other bento books I found this book rather thin, empty, and void of content in general. I read the entire book in less than half an hour. (Yes I did read an entire cookbook, to get an idea of all of the recipes) I do like the presentation and organization of the book, though. Most probably it looks so empty because all of the recipes are as concise as they can possibly be, but the book just left me wishing there was more in it. For example, in the Just Bento Cookbook, most recipes come with variations and in depth explanations of what works, what doesn't work, and why. But it still did have some nice ideas I hadn't thought of before, such as the easy ham katsu, and quail egg topping.

If you are an absolute beginner in bento-making, I don't think you can jump in and begin making these recipes right away. The explanation of recipes are very short. Even for simple things like tamagoyaki or teriyaki, I think one needs a thorough introduction when they first begin making them. So for a beginner, I would recommend The Just Bento Cookbook as a first step, and this book as a second step.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice!, June 30, 2012
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This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
Since this didn't have a search inside feature, I didn't know what to expect. I was very pleasantly and happily surprised with this book. It contains quick to prep, single portion sized recipes to be served atop rice, pasta, bread or noodles with very nice pictures of the finished product. Recipes such as mushroom-stuffed hamburger, pork cutlet and ramen salad bento are just a few listed. There's even a small section on freezable mini desserts like brownies and sesame dumplings.

Most of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked grocery, although some items may only be available at an asian market (i.e. sake, bonito flakes, etc). The last page does contain a short list of common ingredients used in japanese cooking (with substitutions for some of them) and a list of online resources.

This is not a bento book that shows you how to make cute designs and characters, rather, it provides relatively simple and quick recipes to prepare for your bento meal. All in all, I am very pleased with this book and can't wait to start making some of the recipes.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yum! Great recipes portioned for one, July 11, 2012
This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
If you don't know what bento lunches are, they are packed box lunches made to be attractive and healthy with a good variety of foods. Frequently packed in boxes specifically made for bentos, they can also be packed in other boxes like plastic refrigerator food storage boxes. That's just a very quick definition, because they can be complex and are absolutely an art form.

10 Minute Bento was originally written in Japanese by Megumi Fuji and translated to English. It's paperback and printed in full color with lots of photographs of the finished food and great serving ideas. Instead of cute characters, these are bento lunches that are attractive without being carefully planned out to create images.

You'll start with steamed rice, then add in the main course and vegetables. The recipes are written with cooking for one in mind. The recipes can be doubled if you're cooking for more than one. Instructions are clearly written and understandable, and measurements are by weight. The rice steamed ahead of time and the meat topping and vegetable sides are the 10 minute part of the cooking, that includes prep time.If you're doubling the recipe it may take longer for cutting and prepping. The portions are smaller than a lot of people are used to, but perfect for healthy lunches on the go.

For people who rarely eat or cook Japanese food, there are some recipes that will be familiar enough to be comfortable. These are just a few of my favorite examples. There are several more.

Mushroom Stuffed Hamburgers
Sliced Pork Cutlet
French Toast- It's a cheesy, non-sweet toast to serve with a salad
Avocado and Cucumber Salad which gets it's protein from surumi (imitation crab meat)
For people who love Japanese food, there are lots of quick to cook recipes that will make them happy for lunch. Here are a few examples:
Miso Salmon and Veggies
Soba and Daikon Salad
Shrimp Edamame Stir-Fry
There are also pages with quick veggie sides ideas, and a lot of the recipes have vegetables in them as well. Some of these may become favorite ways to serve vegetables for their flavors.

At the end of the book is an overview of things you can pack bento lunches in for yourself or your loved ones, as well as a list of possible substitutions and explanations of some of the ingredients. I'm fortunate enough to have a few well stocked grocers in my area. While some of the recipes do call for hard to find ingredients, most of them call for things that can be found fairly easily.

I like making easy bento lunches for my family. It's healthier and less expensive then getting fast food. It's also tastes better and fresher. There are so many great recipes in here to add a lot of variety to lunches. Since the recipes are small, they are also a good option for people who are cooking for one.
[I received a complimentary copy of the book to review on my craft blog- Don't Eat the Paste. My reviews are always my honest opinion]
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but great, September 7, 2012
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VA_barb (Chesapeake, VA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
I just received this book a few days ago and read it from cover to cover last night because it had some great stuff in it. Since being in Japan for 5 years a while back, I love Japanese food, and am recently infatuated with bentos. I have a couple other bento books that have some delicious recipes in them as well, but this one is my favorite so far, even though this morning was my first actual recipe I made from this book. I made the Miso Salmon on page 20. It turned out great! All of the recipes in the book are fairly simple (of course they have to be so they can be made in 10 minutes) and reuse basic ingredients (soy sauce, sake/white wine, etc.) in many of them, so you don't have to run out and spend a hundred bucks on a ton of ingredients just so you can make more than one recipe.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a simple but delicious book of bento recipes, though if you're totally new to bento making, you might want to do your own research online about the history of bentos, for tips on selecting different types of bentos, etc., because there is almost nothing 'extra' in this book outside of the recipes. That being said, it's still a great book overall and I look forward to making many more of the recipes. If you want great recipes plus the 'extras', including morning time management charts for making bentos, I would also recommend The Just Bento Cookbook by Makiko Itoh.

The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good New Addition to My Bento Library, October 10, 2012
This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
Taking into consideration some of the caveats in other reviews, I am lucky to live in a large city with easy access to at least three major Asian markets. In addition I read cookbooks, bento blogs and the cooking sections of the newspaper extensively and am familiar with many of the ingredients already. That being said I agree the recipes in this book may be challenging to a beginner or to someone not familiar with, or with access to, the less common ingredients.

One thing I really like about this book is that it shows you do not need to buy expensive bento boxes to have a successful bento. Bentos are pictured in containers ranging from beaufitul (expensive) wooden bento boxes to less expensive but no less beautiful plastic and lacquer boxes to take-out containers and (my favorite) a plastic whipped topping container (just like at home).

I especially like the brevity with which the recipes are written - when I am copying recipes this is the way I like to write them. Just the facts, ma'am.

I had started preparing bento for my work lunches but a change in schedule left me with less time in the morning and I have resorted to just sandwiches, chips and a piece of fruit lately. This book gives me hope that I can return to my prior bento habits with some quick to prepare bento meals.

Pre-planning is the key. If vegetables, meats and tofu are cut up the night before, cooking will be even faster in the morning.

My caveat is that the meals may not provide enough variety - easily remedied by adding a few additional raw or blanched vegetables, a boiled egg or a quick pickle for a little extra.

This book gives me hope that I might even convince the Man to try bento lunches, even if I have to give him sauteed spinach every day instead of the vegetables he does not like. I look forward to preparing bento from this lovely little book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ten-Minute Bento book by Megumi Fujii, February 11, 2013
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This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
This book was more about placement in bento boxes than about recipes. Very traditional. I will not use it frequently, but I do like the pictures and will refer to them now and then.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT!, October 28, 2013
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This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
I'm not the kind of person who'd wake up early in the morning and make bento boxes, but thought I'd grab this book and what's the worst it could be?

Turned out i LOVE the book and recipes! I use them for daily cooking when I want to make some home made Japanese dishes. My husband loves what I have made so far from using the ideas from the book and he'd pack the leftover for lunch next day or so.

As a picky fish eater, there is some fish that i would never cook in my own kitchen cause I think it "smells", salmon is one of the fish. I used the salmon recipes from this book and now I'm obsessed with salmon and I cook it once a week!

If you love cooking and are always looking for different recipes that's totally manageable, this book would be a great addition for you, whether you want to use the dishes for bento or not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Tips for Bento or Dinner, July 18, 2013
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This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
I received this book as a gift after recently buying some bento boxes, and was fairly pleased with the contents. The first half of the book focuses on dishes that go with rice, because rice is super fast, easy, and filling, which is important when you have a small bento box. Most of the recipes seem pretty easy, although I think they will take a little longer than "10 minutes". It doesn't bother me, more likely I would either prepare these recipes while I prepared dinner or prepare them as dinner and then take leftovers for lunch. I doubt any of these would take much longer than 20 minutes plus a little prep time possibly, so it's still pretty quick.

The second half of the book discusses asian noodles, "salad" types of dishes, different kinds of rice, and even a small section on desserts. It gives a lot of tips about cooking these ingredients, as many are not typically used in American cuisine. This is one of the reasons I like it not only as a bento book but a cook book as well, as I could see these dishes being very delicious for dinners.

Another convenient feature of the book is that most dishes are broken up into different side dishes, making it easy to mix and match all combinations of meat, vegetable, and starch in order to make a filling and delicious bento. Overall, I think this book provides a lot of good bento elements and gave me some good ideas for my own bento boxes as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I bought a lot of these, December 7, 2012
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This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
I got these books for all my grandchildren for Christmas. My theme this year is "Bento". After looking at the books I have decided my husband could benefit from this type food too, so we shall see what the old "steak and potatoes" guy will say. The younger ones will love it as they are more nutrition conscious. I think I bought at least 8 of these books. I am pleased.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 13, 2014
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This review is from: Ten-Minute Bento (Paperback)
simple ideas.
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Ten-Minute Bento
Ten-Minute Bento by Megumi Fujii (Paperback - June 26, 2012)
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