food, Recipes

Asian Bento Box

Sean Calitz

Asian Salad

Ingredients 50g baby spinach leaves 1t black sesame seeds 115g water chestnuts, thinly sliced small handful alfalfa sprouts 2 sticks celery, finely sliced 2 radishes, very finely sliced 62g mangetout, blanched 50g cauliflower florets, finely sliced 1.5T vegetable oil ¼t sesame oil ½T rice wine vinegar ½t sugar ½T soy sauce ¼t grated fresh ginger Method Place the spinach leaves, sesame seeds, water chestnuts, alfalfa, celery, radish, mangetout and cauliflower in a bowl and toss. Combine the remaining ingredients and whisk well to make a dressing. Adjust seasoning if necessary and refrigerate. Pour the dressing into a small bottle or jar to transport and dress the salad just before eating. SERVES 2 

Vegetable Tempura with Mirin Dipping Sauce

Ingredients ¼ cup flour 2T cornflour 2T rice flour pinch salt pinch cayenne pepper 2/3 to ¾ cup cold soda water vegetable oil for frying 50g mixed vegetables (we suggest tender-stem broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas and baby onions), chopped into uniform size 2T mirin (or sherry) ½T sticky brown sugar 2T soy sauce dash lemon juice Method Sift the flours into a bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Gradually add the soda water, stirring until just combined. The mixture should be relatively liquid – add more soda water if necessary. Heat a large saucepan of oil to a moderate temperature. Dip each of the vegetables into the batter, allow to drain slightly and carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towel to drain. To make the dipping sauce, combine the mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon juice to taste. Serve the tempura vegetables with the dipping sauce on the side. SERVES 2

Salmon Teriyaki with Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms

Ingredients 63g shimeji mushrooms vegetable oil ½T rice wine vinegar ½T soy sauce ½t caster sugar ¼ green chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional) ¼ cup soy sauce 2T sticky brown sugar 2T honey 1t grated fresh ginger 1 garlic clove, crushed 2x 125g salmon fillets 1t sesame seeds, lightly toasted jasmine rice or onigiri, to serve Method To make the mushroom pickle, trim and wash the mushrooms, and break the individual mushrooms from the root. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and lightly sauté them until they have a little colour. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a bowl. Combine the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and caster sugar, and add the chilli if using. Pour the pickle over the mushrooms, cover and refrigerate overnight. To make the teriyaki sauce, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, ginger and garlic in a bowl, and mix well. Pour the sauce over the salmon fillet and allow to marinade for about 15 minutes. Heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan and place the salmon, skin side down, in the pan with the teriyaki sauce. Cook for about two minutes on each side or until cooked to desired wellness. Place slices of the salmon teriyaki on top of the mushroom pickle, sprinkle the lightly toasted sesame seeds on top and serve with sticky jasmine rice on the side. SERVES 2

Panda Onigiri (rice ball)

Ingredients jasmine rice, cooked 1 sheet nori Swiss or white cheese Method Place a square of clingfilm in a small bowl so that the corners hang over the sides. Spoon in some rice. Tightly twist the corners of the clingfilm together, moulding the rice into a ball. Remove the plastic and place the onigiri in a cupcake wrapper in a bowl. Repeat to make two smaller balls. Position them for ears, pressing down slightly so that they stick. Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut shapes out of the nori for the face – two semicircles for the ears, two ovals for the eyes, and a nose and a mouth – and position them. Cut two slightly smaller semicircles, and two ovals slightly smaller than the nori eyes, out of Swiss cheese. Position them on the ears and eyes. Cut two very small nori circles for the pupils and position them to complete the panda. This article was originally published in HL May 2013