One of the recipes featured in Emi Kasuko’s Japanese Food and Cooking had bento in its name so you can just imagine how I reacted. Glancing at the picture, I was quite surprised, because I recall encountering similar looking bento before. I didn’t realize that it was more than just a design elementâ€”it was traditional in its own right.
Sanshoku Bento, which translates to three-color bento, is a colorful donburi with three colorful toppings. The book further says that it was a popular bento for kids since the colorful bento encouraged the kids to eat it. Going through the ingredients, I figured there was another reason why kids would love it. All the toppings were on the sweet side!
â€¢ Sauteed Ground Beef. The original recipe called for ground chicken and some caster sugar. Instead of cooking chicken however, I decided to use my leftover ground beef from Sunday’s korokke. The beef was sautÃ©ed in a little oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a few pinches of ground cumin.
â€¢ Sakura Denbu. My something sweet and colorful came in the form of sakura denbuâ€”ground codfish flakes that’s sweetened and colored pink. More sweet than fishy, it made a nice combination with the beef and egg. It was good that I held back on the sugar for the meat and egg since the sakura denbu compensated for it adequately.
â€¢ Scrambled Eggs. The recipe called for dashimaki tamago-style scrambled eggs, but since I was running late, I opted for plain, salted scrambled eggs. Turned out to be a good choice, preparing savory instead of sweet eggs.
â€¢ Rice. Yes, underneath all the colorful toppings is a bed of plain Jasmine rice.
Sanshoku Bento makes for a very no nonsense meal. Since the toppings were all minced / ground, it was a scoop from the box, spoon into the mouth affair. Very handy since I suddenly had a rush project, so I had me eating at my desk.