One day I woke up and decided – today I really wanted to make a bento box. And so I did. And then I made another and another. Here they are with the contents of each listed above! I’m looking to improve my bento making skills though so feedback and handy tips would be greatly appreciated!
The First One
(Nerdy box bit – don’t read if you don’t care)
I had to start by making the box itself. I decided on a 3×3 square structure because I reckoned that would make achieving symmetrical beauty the easiest. I chose to make each slot relatively small as bento box slots go because I figured the smaller the slot the easier it would be to make each slot look neat. This decision was vindicated when I tried one with bigger slots (not featured on this article) and the neatness was noticeably compromised.
So I made the box frame out of balsa wood with four equal lengths of wood placed as you can see around four wooden pillars on each corner. They are secured with glue. The base I rather took a shortcut and just used card but corrugated cardboard would be preferable and thin wood preferable to that. Then I made a frame for the inside to make the individual slots with intersecting pieces of card wrapped in grease-proof paper. This slot frame is completely removable so it is easy to edit and the fact that it’s card rather than thicker cardboard or even wood means it is still sufficiently sturdy but is flexible enough to allow wiggle room if you’ve overfilled a slot and is not as intrusive to the eye as a thicker alternative. I also put paper cake cases in each slot just to protect the wood of the box so I could reuse it and I thought they looked quite nice too.
(Back to the food)
I was a bit tentative with my first one and so the slots aren’t as exciting as the other two but it still made for a pretty satisfying dinner.
(From left to right and top to bottom) – Fried pork and beef meatballs; tomato, cucumber and lettuce salad; sweet potato with carrot hearts; onigiri (rice-ball) with an umeboshi (sour plum) centre; tamagoyaki (Japanese style omelette) with a green bean; another onigiri with umeboshi; lettuce, carrot and radish rose salad; sliced cucumber with sesame dressing; fried glazed prawns.
I grew more confident with the second one. I think this was the prettiest of the three.
Broccoli with peanut dressing and black sesame with a radish pickle; fried lightly battered lotus root stuck to a layer of pork and beef mince with karashi (mustard); tempura prawns; tamagoyaki with green beans; white rice with an umeboshi; fried mini-peppers cut horizontally cut in half and stuffed with pork and beef mince; radish rose on a bed of cucumber; mini okonomiyakis with a mayonnaise and bull-dog sauce lattice (the customary dried seaweed and bonito flakes are underneath the top okonomiyaki); purple wheat noodle salad with sesame seeds and a carrot heart.
For the third one I was really hungry that day and so it was the most luxurious of the three. I was also particularly proud of the pepper in the middle for this one.
Avocado and smoked salmon roll; southern fried chicken drumstick; fried marinated tuna; boiled asparagus; fried red pepper cut in half and stuffed with pork and beef mince; edamame, pickled cucumber and wakame salad on a chicory bed; harusame (glass noodle) and pork and beef mince spring roll; tempura inside-out roll; fried Taro (hehe) yam.