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Posted on Feb 23, 2007 | 25 comments

Speed Bento: microwave mixed rice

Speed Bento: microwave mixed rice

Today both my son and I have bentos that took about 10 minutes to make. I used a shortcut to make cheater’s 5-minute “fried rice” in the microwave that I adapted from Japanese bento cookbook 園児のおべんとう (“Kindergartner Bentos” published by Kodansha). I’ve also got tangerine, grape tomatoes and a mini pudding; my son has tangerine wedges that have been almost fully peeled to make it easier for him to eat by himself.

Speedy mixed rice lunch

I’ve had a stack of Japanese bento cookbooks for a while, but had been resisting their speed recipes as I thought they looked too simple to be good. When I serve fried rice for a family dinner, for example, I definitely take the time to do it right with more ingredients in a pan. But I’ve got to say that this speed recipe worked well and tasted fine — this way I can serve “fried” rice for lunch even if I don’t have any already made up.

I took some leftover white rice, roast pork and a green onion from the refrigerator, and frozen green peas from the freezer. First I chopped up a handful each of pork and green onion. (This is all the chopping I did for the whole dish!)

Prep for speedy mixed rice #1

Then I put the leftover cold white rice in a microwave-safe bowl, and topped it with the pork, green onions, and frozen peas right out of the bag. Covered it with plastic wrap and put it in my 1100W microwave for one minute (times will vary depending upon how much food you’re nuking and the power of your microwave). If you have fresh rice made up, just nuke the meat and veggies on their own, and mix them together with the hot rice afterwards.

Prep for speedy mixed rice #2

When it was hot, I added a teaspoon or so of soy sauce, a dash of salt and a splash of sesame oil, and mixed it all up. Done! Speed “fried rice”. I wound up mixing in a tablespoon of chogojujang (Korean spicy sauce) to mine to give it some spice. Next time I may add some kimchi, maybe substitute some leftover roast chicken or beef for the pork, try different veggies, etc. — there’s no reason it needs to be exactly this combo (but I do like using the green onion, one protein and one fast veggie option to reduce prep time). Whatever’s on hand.

Prep for speedy mixed rice #3

And here’s my son’s little meal:

Speedy mixed rice lunch for toddler

 

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  1. the quickie fried rice is BRILLIANT!
    your ideas are fabulous!

  2. I agree…the quickie fried rice is great!! This is going to be a great addtion to my lunch menu — and dinner, too,as well. Thank you for posting this!

  3. Thank you, outofthisplace! I do want to be sure to attribute the original ideas to the Japanese cookbooks where appropriate, though. They’re full of good ideas, and I’m fortunate to be in a position to convey them.

  4. You know, it didn’t taste half bad! Not my usual, mind you (I tend to go crazy with many ingredients), but very acceptable for a fast-prep meal.

  5. No worries, puppy52! Thank you!

  6. That is an awesome idea!

  7. The five minute fried rice looks amazing~!!!

  8. So awesome, thanks for sharing!

    Do you mind sharing the titles of the other bento cookbooks that you have on hand? I’d like recommendations on cookbooks for ideas, tips and recipes. =)

    Also, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve added you to my friends-list, I like reading your posts concerning food! =D

    Thanks!

  9. Thanks, and I’m really flattered that you added me to your friends list! I’ve got a lot of kid’s bento cookbooks — there’s a list of recommended cookbooks here that includes a number I have: http://www.youchien.net/useful/book_toy/ryouri.html Pretty much any Japanese bento cookbook will have helpful ideas, tips and recipes — they rock.

  10. Thanks, xiue!

  11. I thought it was good flavor payoff from minimal work — hooray!

  12. Thank you Super-Mommy-Martha-Stewart-of-Bentos.
    :)

  13. Ha hah! I hope that my tips actually SAVE time and money, though — I get the feeling that Martha Stewart projects are a huge time suck.

  14. That’s really great! Thanks! =D

  15. I’ve seen these mini-puddings in several bento boxes, but I’ve never spotted them in our local asian market. What do they taste like, and do you know of a site that sells them online?

  16. They’re like a little bite of flan or creme caramel. I don’t actually know of a site that sells them online to individuals, but here’s a link to what I was able to find on them (Kiku Co. Ltd.’s “Petit Pudding”): http://confectionery.jp/ekasi.php?code=4901358013017

  17. :D That was awesome! I now have a delicious fried rice lunch made in minutes, tucked neatly away into my bento. Thanks so much for your tips! Your site actually inspired me to order a bento (a beautiful cherry blossom laqure one) from J-Box and start hauling my lunch to school and work! Thanks again!!

  18. @19 from Sage: Excellent! Glad the “fried” rice worked out for you, and thanks for reading!

  19. I’m trying this recipe tomorrow; it sounds a lot tastier and healthier than the fried rice many restaurants sell. (I swear, many restaurants sell their own version of cheater’s fried rice by somehow deep frying it, there is so much oil in the mixture as well as puddled around it.
    And my own fried rice doesn’t come out so great anyway, so this will be an improvement.
    Thanks for all the info, Biggie.

  20. @21 from Kate Schultz: Let us know how it comes out, Kate! There are infinite variations — I made another with chopped crispy Japanese plums that was unusual and pretty tasty. Super-fast, especially if you’ve got premade rice in the freezer.

  21. Wow! Great idea! I’m going to try it out! :D

  22. Quik question. Do you pack the food hot? It would seem so from the preparation Instructions. How do you deal wiht condensation?

  23. @26 from Michelle731: I absolutely keep leftover cooked rice in the freezer, usually plain white rice although I’ve frozen brown rice before as well. You’ll want to wrap it tightly soon after it finishes cooking to trap in as much moisture as possible (i.e. don’t let it sit for hours in the rice cooker before wrapping it for freezing).

    This particular meal isn’t meant to be heated up as there’s no microwave at my son’s preschool. You might want to check out my post on Hot vs. Cold Packing Considerations for additional info.