Cook’s tip

The Guardian - Feast - - Feast -

Prep Cook Makes 30 min 20 min 1 bento

For the ma­genta mash 100g dried split red lentils

1 small to medium beet­root (about 100g), scrubbed

1 small red onion, roughly chopped

½ tsp salt

1 bay leaf or 1 clove 2 tsp bal­samic vine­gar

To as­sem­ble

1 por­tion brown short­grain rice, pre-cooked 1 tsp flaxseed oil

1 tsp tamari

1 hand­ful rocket, wa­ter­cress or flat-leaf pars­ley

1 por­tion ma­genta mash (about half the batch above)

½ av­o­cado, flesh scooped out and sliced 1 hard-boiled egg (or as many as you want to make), halved

Pit­ted kala­mata olives, chopped, to taste

A few salted ca­pers Black pep­per, to taste This mash is great as a dip for raw veg and crack­ers, spread on toast, or even rolled into a nori roll with brown rice, a lick of miso paste and fresh co­rian­der

For the ma­genta mash, wash the lentils in cold wa­ter and drain. Put them in a pan and coarsely grate the beet­root on top. Add the onion, salt, bay leaf or clove, and 350ml wa­ter. Cover, bring to a boil, then sim­mer over a low heat for 20 min­utes, un­til the wa­ter is ab­sorbed and the lentils look big and mushy. Re­move the bay leaf/ clove, add the vine­gar and vig­or­ously stir to cre­ate a mash. Take off the heat and leave to cool. You can store any ex­cess in an air­tight con­tainer in the fridge.

Make a bed of rice in your bento box and driz­zle with the flaxseed oil and tamari. Ar­range the leaves, some mash, the av­o­cado and egg on top. Fin­ish with a scat­ter­ing of olives and ca­pers and a twist of black pep­per. Prep

Cook Makes Overnight + 20 min

15 min 1 bento

For the mid­night magic pump­kin 300g (about ½) small pump­kin or squash, peeled, de­seeded, cut into 2cm slices

3cm piece fresh gin­ger, peeled and thickly sliced (5mm)

1 big pinch dried hi­jiki or 1 tsp instant dried wakame sea­weed

1 tbsp tamari

To as­sem­ble

85g dry soba noo­dles 1 hand­ful wa­ter­cress ½ kiwi, peeled, sliced Toasted sesame seeds Chilli, to taste The evening be­fore you as­sem­ble your bento, put the pump­kin, gin­ger and sea­weed in a fry­ing pan and add wa­ter to about 3cm deep, en­sur­ing the gin­ger and sea­weed are cov­ered. Driz­zle with tamari, cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then sim­mer over a low heat for 10 min­utes – if it looks like it‘s dry­ing up, add more wa­ter. Turn off the heat, cover with a tea towel to keep warm and leave overnight.

In the morn­ing, cut the pump­kin into bite­size chunks and thinly shred the gin­ger slices, but re­tain the cook­ing liq­uid for flavour­ing.

Cook the soba noo­dles ac­cord­ing to the packet in­struc­tions, drain, cool un­der a cold tap and leave to dry.

Ar­range the noo­dles on one side of your bento box and the wa­ter­cress on the other. In the mid­dle, scoop in as much pump­kin as you want and pour any re­main­ing cook­ing liq­uid over the noo­dles to sea­son.

Ar­range the kiwi on top of the wa­ter­cress, add a gen­er­ous pile of toasted sesame seeds on the noo­dles and fin­ish with a sprin­kle of chilli.

All recipes adapted from Bento Power by Sara Kiyo Popowa of Shiso De­li­cious (Kyle Books)

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