A lot of readers have asked for tips on bento making. Since I have been making bento for just 2 months, I’m not nearly an expert. However, I have one trick that my mom taught me which I think is helpful when you prepare a meal or even bento. That’s to work with colors. I’m going to explain the concept with my favorite Soboro Bento today.
Soboro is usually made with ground chicken seasoned with the slightly sweet soy sauce flavor. This dish is commonly served on top of steamed rice. Sometimes the bowl contains rice and soboro, but the brown color becomes overwhelming. To pretty up the dish, this dish often garnished with scrambled egg and some sort of green vegetables like green peas, snow peas, spinach, and etc.
Now on to the topic of colors and food. The Japanese tries to have multiple colors when we serve food. Before bringing dishes to the dinner table, my mom would always look at the plate and say “oh it’s missing this and that color” and search in the refrigerator for ingredients to add. If it was missing red, she would grab a tomato and add to the plate. It’s amazing how just one small thing would make a meal prettier.
A meal with various colors also help increase your appetite. Imagine if this bento only has brown food. The food is delicious but when it is lay out nicely and colorfully, your eyes and tummy receive positive feeling.
Lastly, colorful ingredients mean different kinds of nutrition and it’s a great trick to add extra nutrition in the meal.
If you look at today’s bento, it’s really simple; nothing fancy, and it didn’t take me more than 15 minutes to prepare it. Try to think of some ingredients that add colors in your bento, with colorful fruits or vegetables, just like how I did.
However sometimes you have no luck. No tomatoes for red color, no broccoli or lettuce for green color… in that case, use colorful bento accessories such as a separator, tooth picks, liners… there are so many accessories available for you to use which can add some color. You can find some of the things at a store like Daiso or Amazon.
This tip is very basic, but having this tip in your mind while making bento definitely helps to create better bento. As you see, I don’t make fancy character bento that requires more skill; however, I’d be happy if I could cheer up my son with some colorful bento during his lunch.
Previous Dinner was:
- Soboro Don Bento
- Water bottle
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- cooked Japanese short grain rice
- Soboro (pre-cooked)
- Lettuce (for garnish)
- Fill up half of bento box with Japanese rice. Let it cool so that hot/warm rice will not warm up other cool food.*
- Reheat leftover soboro in a frying pan until it's warm thoroughly.
- Wash lettuce and pat dry. Place nicely in the bento box.
- Place ground chicken, egg, and green peas on top of rice.
- Pack peaches and strawberries in an open space in the bento box.
- Cool down completely before close the bento box cover.
[Please read FOOD SAFETY TIPS .]
If you are using a thermal bento box like Thermos, you do not need to cool down before closing lunch box.
This lunch is for my 6-year-old son.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.