- Perfect Paperback: 64 pages
- Publisher: Japan Publications Trading; 1 edition (September 28, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 4889960732
- ISBN-13: 978-4889960730
- Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 0.2 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 73 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go Perfect Paperback – September 28, 2001
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About the Author
Naomi Kijima is a well known cookbook author and teacher in Japan. She has appeared on Japanese television and her recipes are regularly featured in women's magazines and newspapers there.
Top customer reviews
The structure of the cookbook is designed to build a variety of bento boxes: First, one is presented with complete boxes that are traditional Japanese favorites - crispy mackerel, beef sukiyaki, chicken dumplings, inari-zuzhi/maki-zushi, chicken-tofu rice ... Next one learns to vary elements with protein and vegetable recipes using crisp frying, grilling, pan frying, braising ... This is followed by the largest section which gives a variety of rice and noodle options including donburis, fried rice, rice balls ... with rice sprinkling options to add variety. This is finished with specialty items - low fat temptations, pickles, sprinkles etc. The final section is how to make soup packets to go with the bento boxes - appropriate as soup and rice are the traditional close to a Japanese meal.
If one gets confused and the pictures are insufficient, a search of the web should provide any assumed knowledge that you may not know e.g. how to easily julienne burdock (yes, I was recently shown a simple way compared to my big hassle method). But working through this book and observing the structure of the completed box will make you a very competent bento box creator.
What is left out is that you are supposed to pour part of the egg mixture into the pan. As it sets up, fold it in half so it sits on one side of the pan. Then pour more of the egg into the bare part of the pan. When it sets up, roll the previously cooked half back over the newly added side. Repeat the process.
This changes the texture of the finished product as well as the appearance.
Also as a word of warning, these will take a while to make. Some of the lunches presented incorporate 3-4 separate dishes. However you can mix and match so the book is a great resource in that sense. In addition the photos are beautiful and helps to make up what is missing in the directions.
The only complaint I have is not with the cook book itself, but the lack of ingredients my local markets sell that the recipes this book require. And some of these ingredients I have never heard of before, but that's part of the adventure!
1. Kawaii (cute) kid's bento lunches showcasing yellow bunnies, pink piggies, and black & white pandas
2. A step-by-step guide to Japanese cooking
3. Glossy, food porn, though there are lots of nice pictures
But if you want a variety of Japanese meals on the go and have experience cooking/aren't uncomfortable diving in with just a recipe, this is a nice set that won't break the bank.
I've been running a bento blog for going on 2 years and found the best way to learn about bento is to search web for Japanese bento blogs. Type the word "bento" in hiragana or try photo sites. This book is an excellent accompaniment to that sort of research because it enables you to identify what many of the items are and provides you with a recipe.
My only complaint is the book should have been spiral bound and laminated. My copy is in pretty bad shape from being used so much.
It's a cookbook for people who've read cookbooks and appreciate information efficiency -- rather than taking the time and page space to spell out "cut the carrot into matchstick-sized pieces, approximately one-eighth-inch square by two inches long, also known as julienning," it says "julienne the carrots." So it assumes you know some basic terminology, but it's never made an assumption I haven't been familiar with.
And for most recipes, the quantities are given in single-serving amounts - ideal for me as a single person and easily scalable. I love this book.
(Full disclosure: I've semiprofessionally taught Japanese cooking classes.)