Introduction: Make a Japanese Bento Lunch

Bento or Obento is the Japanese term for a meal served in a box, and since ancient times Bento has been a central part of Japan's culinary history. There are many different types of Bento that have been developed, and making them has even become a hobby for some people.  But my favorite type is the simple lunch Bento that is meant to be made with ease and taken to school or work for lunch.

In my instructable I'll show you how to make a few traditional Japanese foods' to fill your Bento Box, which could be anything from a regular lunch box, or Tupperware container (as i used for this instructable) to a real Japanese Bento Box. Their are tons and tons to buy online and most are really affordable, have fun!

Step 1: Making the First Part of Your Bento - Fried Shrimp (Ebi Fry)

Fried Shrimp or Ebi Fry, is a delicious and easy dish to make for your bento lunch, it cooks fast and tastes great.

Gather these ingredients:

1/2 pound , uncooked shrimp , peeled with the tail on
1 egg , lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs - usually can be found in the international foods section of  
                                                                    grocery stores like super fresh, shop-rite, acme
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp sake - beer will work if you don't have sake
1 tbsp lemon juice

I originally found this recipe on a site full of great Japanese Food Recipe's , here is the link -

Step 2: How to Cook the Ebi, Fried Shrimp

 First set up three bowls and two small containers. Then putt the the sake in one small container and in the other the lemon juice. In your bowls add the egg, flour, and panko bread crumbs.

Before you start to dip your shrimp, you need to cut them on the belly side to allow them to straighten out.

Then dip the shrimp in egg, allow the egg to coat it, then the flour, and finally the panko bread crumbs.The shrimp should have a light coating of bread crumbs and you shouldn't be able to see any wet spots. Don't worry its messy but easy to do. 

Step 3: Fry the Shrimp!

Now your ready to go , after you've got all your shrimp covered in bread crumbs , turn on your deep fryer to 375 degrees, and throw them in and let them fry for 3-4 minutes. When they're done the tails should be pink, and the breadcrumbs should be crispy.

If you don't have a deep fryer you can heat up some oil in a large skillet and fry them that way, cook them for a minute or so on one side and then flip them over and cook for another minute.

After their stack in your Bento Box

Step 4: The Second Part of Your Bento Box - Hot Dog Squid

For the next part of your Bento Box we'll be making Hot Dog Squid, and its even simpler than the first part.

You will need: Your favorite kind of hot dogs and thats it

To make the Hot Dog Squid , get one hot dog ( 1 hot dog makes 4 small hot dog squids)

slice the hot dog into two long pieces

then cut those two pieces in half

after that cut two slits on each piece halfway down

then cut the corners off the other ends to make each piece come to a point

finally cut two small junks out of the hot dog right behind the point , to make the squids eyes and your done

Step 5: The Final Part of Your Bento - Onigiri Rice Balls

Onigiri Rice Balls are a very common part of lunch bentos, and usually contain bits of pork or fish, but for this instructable we're just going to make simple rice balls wrapped with a small piece of Sushi Nori (Sea Weed).

You Will Need:
Two Cups Sushi Rice , found in the international foods section of your grocery store
Sushi Nori (optional) , if you can't find it in the store or don't think you'd like it its not necessary, but usually Onigiri Rice Balls have are wrapped with Nori

First cook the rice, Sushi Rice usually is cooked two cups water to evey cup of rice, add rice then water to a pot, bring to a boil then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, if all the water in the pot is gone and the rice seems done remove from heat, so the rice doesn't burn

Once the rice is done , and has cooled a little , wet your hands with water and some salt (so your hands don't stick to the rice) then take some of the rice and form it into a ball or small triangular shape

Once that is done the only step left for your Bento Lunch is to take a small strip of the Sushi Nori and wrap it around the bottom of the rice ball, and your done!

Also for the final photos , I cut up some cheese and apple to add a little extra to the Bento, most people dress up their Bento with small extras like this , think of your own and enjoy.