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Karaage (Fried Chicken) Bento

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Karaage, or Japanese-style fried chicken, is made by frying chicken soaked in a tasty batter and powdered with potato starch or flour. In Japan, karaage generally refers to chicken, in the same way, French fries refer to potatoes in the West. Karaage is the number one most popular Bento dish that doesn’t change its taste or shape even after a while.

  The basis of the flavor is soy sauce and sake. My mom always used a ready-made karaage batter mix. For me, karaage had always been something you bought at a store. You can pick it up at a convenience store or bento chain if you’re in Japan.

  It was in India that I began making karaage. There were times when I made two hundred pieces to sell at a bazaar held at my son’s school. 

  I use honey to make the chicken tender, following the advice of my friend Miho Tachikawa.

Karaage(Fried Chicken)

Karaage (Fried Chicken)

PrepTime: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Main Course
Japanese
Calories: 384kcal
Author: Chikako Tada
Servings : 2
Ingredients 
 
  • 300 g chicken thigh
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp potato starch
  • canola or safflower oil, for frying

Instructions

  • Take chicken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before frying. Remove any white stripes in meat, if any; cut into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle and rub salt into the meat.
  • Add soy sauce, sake, ginger, and honey. Mix well to marinate. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
    Karaage2
  • Place potato starch, then the seasoned chicken in a plastic bag. Seal and shake well.
  • Chicken is ready when evenly coated with potato starch.
  • Pour oil in a pan about 2-3 cm (1 in) deep; cook over medium heat. You’re ready to fry the chicken if small suds start to appear when you poke the tip of chopsticks in the oil (170 degrees C or 340 degrees F). Slowly add chicken.
  • Turn it over after 2 minutes. Fry for about 3 minutes and 30 seconds in total.
  • Drain chicken pieces on a wire rack when it turns golden brown.

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 1065mg | Potassium: 436mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know #Bentoboxpage how it was!

Japanese Omelet-Style Eggs

Japanese Omelet-Style Eggs

Japanese Omelet-Style Eggs

PrepTime: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Side Dish
Japanese
Calories: 189kcal
Ingredients  
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp granulated soup stock (dashi)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp canola or safflower oil

Instructions

  • Combine eggs, soup stock granules, water, and salt.
  • Heat a small frying pan or rolled egg pan over medium heat; add oil, heat, and pour in 2/3 of the egg mixture. Stir using chopsticks when the mixture starts to cook.
    Japanese Omelet-Style Eggs
  • Tilt pan and pile egg mixture in a corner.
  • Lift half-cooked egg mixture with a spatula.
  • Pour the remaining egg mixture into the pan.
  • Pile the egg mixture together again.
  • Turn over and allow to cook.
    Japanese Omelet-Style Eggs
  • Cut when the omelet has cooled.

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 491mg | Sodium: 1353mg | Potassium: 182mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 713IU | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know #Bentoboxpage how it was!

Boiled Broccoli Florets and Stems Pan-Fried in Tomato Ketchup

Boiled Broccoli Florets and Stems Pan-Fried in Tomato Ketchup

PrepTime: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Side Dish
Calories: 53kcal
Author: Chikako Tada
Servings : 4
Ingredients  
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 300 ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp canola or safflower oil
  • 1 tsp tomato ketchup

Instructions

  • Separate broccoli into small florets. Slice and shred the rigid stem surface.
  • Boil enough water to cover broccoli florets. Add salt.
  • Add broccoli and boil for about 2 minutes.
  • Drain broccoli and let cool.
  • Stir-fry stems in oil.
  • Add tomato ketchup and stir.

Notes

Once you’ve boiled the broccoli, drain, and allow to cool without pouring water over it. We also eat the stems instead of throwing them away.

Nutrition

Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 647mg | Potassium: 484mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 953IU | Vitamin C: 136mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know #Bentoboxpage how it was!

Sweet Potato Sticks

sweet potate sticks

Sweet Potato Sticks

PrepTime: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Side Dish
Snack
Calories: 49kcal
Author: Chikako Tada
Servings : 4
Ingredients 
 
  • 250 g medium-sized sweet potato
  • canola or safflower oil, for frying
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds - if available

Instructions

  • Cut sweet potato into 5-cm (2-in) long sticks.
  • Soak in water for about 10 minutes to remove excess starch.
  • Drain potato sticks and place them in a pan. Add enough oil to cover and cook over low heat (150 degrees C or 300 degrees F).
  • Fry for about 10 minutes until golden brown, drain.
    sweet potate fry 4
  • Place sugar and water in a small pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is light brown.
  • Blend with potato sticks.
    sweet potate sticks
  • Add black sesame seeds.

Nutrition

Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 3mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know #Bentoboxpage how it was!

Chikuwa  (Tubular Fish Paste Cake) Rolls

Chikuwa (Tubular Fish Paste Cake) Rolls

Cook Time: 5 minutes
Side Dish
Japanese
Author: Chikako Tada
Servings : 2
Ingredients  
  • 1 Chikuwa (Tubular Fish Paste Cake) Rolls
  • 2 small sheets of nori seaweed
  • 1 slice cheese (or 1 tbsp cream cheese)
  • 2 shiso (green perilla) - if available

Instructions

  • Cut chikuwa in half lengthwise.
  • Make 1- to 2-cm (1 in) incisions on the inside.
  • Cut nori seaweed in half; place it on the outside of chikuwa.
  • Cut a cheese slice in half; place over chikuwa with green perilla. Wrap chikuwa and roll. Dab on half a tablespoon of cream cheese at a time if that’s what you’re using.
  • Secure with a toothpick.
Tried this recipe?Let us know #Bentoboxpage how it was!

Packing Your Bento Box

1. First, pack the rice at an angle. It will be easier to fill karaage.

2. Sprinkle furikake garnish over rice if desired. Place karaage in your box.

3. Lay the broccoli stems. 

4. Add broccoli florets. Squeeze mayonnaise if desired. Do not use mayonnaise during the summer months.

Photo by Airi Matsuo

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