When I had exams in my school days, my mom often drew the letters of "Ganbare (Good Luck)!" on my bento with pieces of veggies.
I appreciated her love expressed in her bento. At the same time, I was bit annoyed especially when I was not prepared enough for the subject.
My kids are still too small to go to school.
However in the future, I'm pretty sure that I'll do the same on their bento as my mom did when they take exams.
This time, I made a Lego Bento for my husband.
Step 1: Soboro: Seasoned Minced Meat
After seasoning with sugar and soy sauce, the sweet and salty soboro-meat goes perfectly with rice. We often top it on the rice with densely scrambled egg, as seen in the photo below.
Ingredients of Beef Soboro:
- 100g minced beef
- 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of mirin (sweetened sake)
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 100cc water
- Add beef, ginger, mirin sauce, water and sugar into a small pan. Cook them at medium temperature while stirring often for 10-12 mins.
- When the sauce becomes translucent, add soy sauce and salt. Cook another 10 mins.
Japanese cuisine often combines soy sauce seasoning with sugar or mirin sauce to deepen the taste. In this salty-sweet combination sugar must be added first, and soy sauce second. If the sequence is reversed, the dish just tases of soy sauce.
This is because sugar molecules are much larger than salt molecules. If ingredients are seasoned with sugar first there remains space to absorb salt in the cells. In the opposite order, salt is absorbed densely, leaving no space for sugar. (Please refer to the illustration of this site: http://www.tsujicho.com/oishii/recipe/j_food/ichinensei/sashisuseso.html)
Step 2: Making Lego Logo
Ingredients for three logo layers
- Sliced cheese
- Seaweed black paper
- Print out 3 pieces of Lego Logos and cut out the background of each
- For the yellow layer, beat the egg and thinly spread on the heated pan. Cook it for 2 mins and take it aside till it gets cold
- Cut out each layer with the prepared paper logo.
Step 3: Leek Lego
- 1-2 Leek, remove the top green part
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 100cc of water
- 4-5 sugar snaps for the Lego dotts
- Heat the pan at medium temperature, spread olive oil and fry garlic and leek for 2-3 mins
- Add water and bring it to boil. Close the lid and gently boil for 15-20 mins until the leek gets tender.
Directions of Leek Lego
- Once the leek gets cool, wrap it with a cling film
- Prepare square piller (about 2cmx2cm square in 20cm length) with a sheet of cardboard or thick strong paper
- Prepare Lego Ruler kept in a clear file (2.5cmx5cm cells, please refer Lego Cake)
- Fit the leek into the square piller. It there is a space, wrap the leek with a kitchen paper to fill the gap. Bind the piller with rubber bands in both edges. Leave it for at least 20 mins
- Boil sugar snaps and take it aside to get them cool
- Make the Lego dots with cooked sugar snaps by using a straw (that was stolen from McDonald's. Please refer Lego Cake)
- Cut the square pillar leek into 5cm and add the dots on the top to make it Lego.
Step 4: Salad Lego
- Cut ham, cheese and cucumber into square pillars by using Lego Ruler,
- Make dots by using a straw,
- Flatten the smoked salmon evenly by using a rolling pin to wrap cucumber.
Step 5: Pack Legos
Pack Leek, Cheese, Ham, Smoked Salmon Legos. I filled the gap with mini tomatoes.
In the Lego Logo layer, fill the cooked rice and spread beef soboro evenly over the rice. Add the layers of Lego logos on the top.