As the second semester started last monday I made a bento for my boyfriend to take with him. It contained two onigiri, wrapped with nori and stuffed with a tiny home-made meatball. (Idea from lunchinabox.net here); some sautéed spring-onions and the infamous home-made meatballs; corn in a silicon baking cup; some grilled bell pepper; a cheese triangle and some halved green seedless grapes.
Preparation time was about 20 minutes, mostly spent on cooking the rice, making the onigiri by hand and wrapping them with the nori. The meatballs were ready made the night before as were the corn, spring-onions, and the bellpepper. The grapes were cut so that more would fit into the box.
Normally I wouldn’t spend so much time on making a bento for a normal school day, but since this was his first bento in about two months and he really really likes the meatballs, I felt the need to make it something special. Fortunately he liked it.
Recipe for the meatballs behind the cut!
These meatballs are great to make on a quiet night and then stash in your freezer. This way you’ll always have a fast and tasty bento item on hands. This recipe makes about 40 small meatballs. Small being the ones you would find in your tomato soup, or maybe even smaller. It usually don’t measure the stuff I put in, it’s about the feeling. If you like some things better than others, feel free to experiment.
* 350 grams of minced beef. (I don’t like pork, but you could use it ofcourse);
* 1 egg;
* some flour;
* bulldog brand tonkatsu sauce, or any other tonkatsu sauce;
* some grated ginger;
Mix the egg with 4 to 5 tablespoons of the tonkatsu sauce, the ginger, a touch of salt, and the gochujang, depending on how spicy you like it, I use about one tablespoon for this. If you don’t have gochujang you can use sambal to replace it, I suggest you use sambal badjak for this. Mix well until the salt has dissolved and all the ingredients have blended. Add the ground meat and two tablespoons of the breadcrumbs and mix with your hands. See if you can make a small ball out if this mixture, if the texture is too moist, add more breadcrumbs. If it is too dry and won’t stick together, try adding a little more sauce, or maybe some ketchup.
On a plate, lay a thin layer of flour, than wet your hands and make the tiny meatballs and save them on the plate. If you like the meatballs with a bit of a crispy outside, cover them with the flower, or even the breadcrumbs if you like really crispy.
In a frying pan heat the (olive)oil, if the oil is heated turn down the fire a bit and add about half of the meatballs. They should be cosy but not crowded in there. If the meatballs are browned on the sides, turn the heat down to it’s lowest and let them cook like this for a few minutes. Save on a plate when done. Heat up the fire again and repeat the whole process for the rest of the meatballs.
If you do freeze the meatballs and use them in the bento I like to microwave them before I put them in my bento. I find that this restore the moist texture of the meatballs better instead of just letting them thaw during the day.