Friday, March 08, 2013

bento friday: usuyaki sushi

Bento is a meal (sometimes of Japanese food) packed attractively in a box.  I love making bento, and will be showcasing my current and past creations periodically. 

an experimental bento: usuyaki-wrapped sushi, broccoli stir-fry, and spicy peppers. 

Usuyaki is a sort of Japanese egg crepe.  In this case, following the guidance of my Just Bento cookbook (have you noticed that I adore Maki?), I wrapped the crepes around simple sushi rice balls.  Sushi, you see, doesn't actually mean raw fish; it just means rice.  So I took vinegared rice, formed them into cubes, and wrapped the crepes around.  They were pretty tasty, if tricky to eat.  

While I wholeheartedly follow Maki's philosophy of taste and color being infinitely more important than cutesy bento details, I do occasionally try to add a little visual flair to my preparations.  This time I used a tiny cookie cutter to cut a star out of the center of each usuyaki, in the hopes that the rice would show through and be subtly pretty.  Unfortunately, cutting through the crepe was difficult, and it tended to tear instead.  Then after wrapping around the sushi, the star was generally kind of distorted and invisible.  So... that kind of failed.  But now I know not to do that again, so there's that. 

For side dishes, I threw together a really simple broccoli-ginger stir fry, along with some remarkably spicy bell pepper.  We had a lonely pepper half floating in the fridge, so I figured it would make an ideal side, fried up with some Laos chili paste gifted to us by a neighbor.  I guess I used a bit more chili paste than I'd thought, because wow those were an adventure.  I alternated bites with the blessedly mild and starchy sushi. 

Okay, so I'm a bit of a wimp. 

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