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Posted on May 25, 2007 | 16 comments

Indian curry lunches, and Glad Press’n Seal

Indian curry lunches, and Glad Press’n Seal

Indian curry lunch for preschooler

Contents of Bug’s lunch: Chicken korma with broccoli (from a Costco simmer sauce), brown rice with black sesame seeds, and watermelon, mango and blueberries.Morning prep time: 7 minutes, using leftover curry and frozen brown rice. I heated the frozen rice and the cold curry (in a covered bowl) in the microwave at the same time to speed things along. The mango was already chopped and leftover from lunch a couple of days ago, so just sliced up watermelon and packed it all up.

Packing: I chopped up the chicken & broccoli in the curry and stirred in some yogurt to turn down the heat for my son. Curry went in the thermal jar portion of the insulated bento set to keep it warm; Bug eventually added the rice to the hot curry when eating. Each container has a separate lid, good for keeping the watermelon juice contained. You can get the same effect as the pricier insulated bento set by using a small side container and a thermal food jar , commonly available from stores like Target or Walmart. (Note to SF Bay Area locals: The Ichiban Kan stores stock four kinds of insulated bento sets for $20 – $25, and Kamei has two Zojirushi-brand sets for $33. Store info at the SF local shopping guide.)

Packed lunch using Press N Seal

 

This is old hat for a lot of people, but worth throwing out there anyway. Glad Press’n Seal sealing wrap is great for creating a seal over sub-containers without lids, allowing you to pack juicy items that would otherwise leak onto other food. The underside is kind of sticky, so running your fingers firmly along the top and sides of the container creates a pretty good seal. You can also use this on makeshift sub-containers, like washed disposable cream cheese containers, applesauce cups, etc. or the little container in the Laptop Lunchbox. Look for Press’n Seal in your supermarket by the plastic wrap. Japanese bento cookbooks encourage you to drain/dry food items before packing to avoid leakage and for best food safety in hot months. If you’re packing dishes with a lot of liquids in hot weather, be careful of how the lunch is stored prior to eating.

Indian curry lunch

Contents: Chicken korma curry underneath the rice, purple potato gratin (scalloped potatoes), and watermelon and blueberries with fresh mint and orange juice balsamic vinaigrette.Morning prep time: 7 minutes, using leftover gratin, curry and frozen rice. The vinaigrette was already made, so just sliced up the watermelon and mint, nuked the curry/rice in the microwave, and wrapped the fruit sub-container in Glad Press’n Seal before closing the lid.

Packing: I used the “rice lid” packing technique, where a layer of rice goes on top of the hot curry in a thermal food jar (keeps everything warm and somewhat separate until eating). The Press’n Seal kept the juices from the watermelon salad from getting into the potato gratin.

Lunch in a Box is nominated for Best Food Blog in the Blogger’s Choice Awards. If you’d like to cast your vote for speedy lunch packing, click here (you can vote for multiple blogs in the same category).

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  1. Oh I fell in love with that first lunch! The colours and presentation is just amazing! I’m often surprised at how much just one sprig on an herb, like the coriander in the korma, adds such glorious decoration to a dish.

  2. Tell me something about these hot bentos :o)

    I’ve been considering getting an insulated bento of the thermal kind because, to be honest I prefer hot meals (luckily I generally have access to a microwave at work)

    BUT one thing concerns me a bit:

    Food safety. Lukewarm food is highly dangerous because bacteria breed like mad in something close to body temperature. And my fear is that these insulated bentos can’t keep food sufficiently HOT for enough hours. (That might be up to 6 hours with my current work scheme).

    So for how long can these insulated bentos actually keep the food HOT (preferably + 70C/178F as that’s what is considered safe for keeping food at) And do you know if MrBento is worth the money? (is it better than the copies?)

  3. i have had nothing but bad luck with that press and seal garbage…. it works ok but dont tip anything too far horizontal or put anything too liquidy in it. true, its still better than your average cling wrap, but i think i would personally stick with real lids!

  4. I love this blog – great tips. What is orange juice balsamic vinaigrette made of? That sounds good!

  5. Hi there,

    I just found your site – I’ve just been given a Miffy bento set so I can’t wait to get started! Your bento lunches are incredible and a real source of inspiration. I’ve always brought my own lunch places but I get so bored with my dinner leftovers or sandwiches -you make everything look so much more exciting:)

    Looking forward to your future posts!

  6. Wow, watermelon, mango and blueberries… I’ve never heard of nor seen that combo before, but I bet it’s really good. Certainly very colorful.

  7. Thanks amvn! I was pleased with the colors in this too — curry can often be boring in photos, but a tiny bit of garnish adds a nice focal point (as you say).

  8. Yeah, I wouldn’t trust it to hold in soup or anything really liquid in a container that’s going to be turned upside down, but I find it okay for a moist dish like the watermelon salad (with a bit of dressing on it). If you’ve got real lids, absolutely stick with those! But if you don’t have lids for a sub-container, the Press’n Seal does expand your options.

  9. Thank you! I threw the vinaigrette together in a medium dressing bottle using about 2 parts orange juice, 1 part balsamic vinegar (regular supermarket kind, not the super-expensive drizzling kind), 2 cloves of minced garlic (you can substitute a shallot instead if you like), a splash of water, 2 parts extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tb of dried mint (substitute whatever dried herb you like, like thyme, basil or oregano), and a little salt and pepper. I’m out of orange-infused olive oil, otherwise I’d have added a dash of that as well.

  10. Welcome, docsarah! Thank you for the kind comments. You can get really creative with lunches without spending a lot of time on them — I’m really enjoying this exploration of my Japanese bento books. Come along for the ride!

  11. Honestly, it wasn’t planned — it was just what was on hand. I do try to think of colors when packing lunches, and the 5-color guideline (that a packed lunch should try to incorporate 5 different colored foods for best nutrition and visual appeal — natural colors, not from dyes if possible).

  12. Sorry this doesn’t directly relate to the post [although that watermelon is making me mighty hungry!], but I wasn’t sure how else to ask, since I have no LiveJournal.

    What are the prices at Moritaya like? (the store listed in the Shopping guide) You talk about them being overpriced, but are we talking $10 or $30? I’m planning a trip to San Francisco for the summer, and want to make sure I can get lots of bento stuff where I go. : ] : ] Thanks!

  13. $18-$28 for children’s character bento boxes, $10-$20 for bento accessories like utensils & sets, kinchaku lunch bags, oshibori hand cloths & carrying cases, etc. Definitely go have a look, but make it your last stop in Japantown (after Ichiban Kan, Soko Hardware, and Daikoku by Shiki) so you don’t come away with regrets. Moritaya is basically the only place in town for good-quality children’s character boxes & utensils/bags. If you have access to a car and can swing the time, Daiso is also a do not miss.

  14. First off, let me divide the insulated bentos into two types: food jars (no internal containers, basically just a short, wide-mouth thermos) and lunch jars like the Mr. Bento (with multiple sub-containers that fit inside the larger thermos-type jar).

    I find that the food jars retain heat much better than the lunch jars, perhaps because the top lids are better insulated. I’d say they keep the food HOT to my satisfaction.

    The thermal lunch jars like the Mr. Bentos seem to leak more heat than the food jars. The food is still warm (or cool, if I started with cold food) when I eat it, but not as hot as the food jars. I’ve heard anecdotal feedback that the Mr. Bentos aren’t as well insulated as the Nissan Stainless equivalent (that I have), but I haven’t done a side-by-side test. (Anyone in the Bay Area have a Zojirushi Mr. or Ms. Bento they’d be willing to loan for a couple days of testing? My thermometers are waiting…)

    As for the Mr. Bento being worth the money, it’s definitely better than the Chinese knockoff I have, but the Thermos/Nissan Stainless is equivalent in quality (and generally cheaper). The Tiger jars seem to be slightly lower quality, but still much better than the Chinese no-name knockoffs. Info on the Thermos/Nissan Stainless jar (& the Mr./Ms. Bentos) is here in my Amazon store: http://astore.amazon.com/lunch-20/

  15. Great info! I’ve been eyeing one of the chinese ones for a while (among other things, I like that it seems to be a tad bigger, and I tend to eat more than what fits an average bento (anything less than 600ml is simply far far too small to sufficiently sate me) but if you say they’re on a much inferior quality, I’d rather go the Thermos route. I’ve some of those under surveillance too °_~

  16. Indian food reflects the perfect blend of spices and other ingredients which adds taste in food. In order to taste the authentic Indian food, you can access several online companies especially dedicated to Indian food.