This week’s Bento Challenge is all fired-up! Literally, with theme fire. I have to admit, I was quite stuck with it. I was exploring ideas like Prometheus bringing fire to man, but honestly, would I want to eat something with a half naked giant on it? I don’t think so! I was going to pass it up, until this particular bento started falling into place. As I added the final touch, a breath of fire, I realized that hey, this could work for the fire challenge! So anyway, presenting, my Chibi (little) Dragon Bento.
Still in line with the, “I’m totally broke” theme, I raided the freezer and vegetable crisper for easy to cook food items. I was rewarded with two pieces of Chicken Pandan(screwpine) and a vacuum bag of enoki dake (golden mushrooms). While the chicken pandan looks boring with its bland, non-descript features, it’s such a moist, flavorful chicken dish. It remained really soft and juicy despite being fried and sitting in a bento box for a couple of hours. Even cooking it was such a treat on a sleepy Thursday morning. The fragrant pandan produced a sweet, refreshing scent as it fried, invigorating my sleepy spirits.
Originally, I bought the enoki dake to make enoki dake bacon maki, but seeing we had no bacon at home, I jogged my memory for quick enoki dake preparations. Remembering that Lunch in a Box once did a broiled enoki dake entry, I decided to try it. As directed, I took a bunch of enoki dake, placed it in a foil cup, added a pat of mushroom, a dribble of soy sauce, and salt and pepper. I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand so as much as I wanted to, I had to skip the herbs part. I heated them in the toaster oven for a few minutes, then slipped the whole thing, cup and all, into my bento.
As I was surveying the rice tier, I was saddened by how plain it looked. I sliced some Naruto Kamaboko from yesterday then arranged it on the rice. It occurred to me to place a face on the first circle so it would look like a worm. I cut nori eyes then I thought, “Hey, they look like big nostrils!” So I then cut new eyes from nori and cheese, added a spiky, nori fins and fiery pickled ginger breath. I admit, it was supposed to be a tongue at first, then I figured, what the heck, it could look like tongues of fire, so I added more. With that, a Chibi Dragon was born. Unplanned, sheer serendipity strikes yet again!