To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bento Box 4: Sweet Sesame Bento

Another Monday, another bento!

When I was growing up, the only thing I would eat at chinese restaurants was sesame chicken. I loved it! To be honest, I still do, but most of the time when you get it, it's covered in breading and thick syrupy sauce. That's just no good.

Here's an alternative, along with some delectable spinach. Enjoy!

Sesame Chicken
(makes 2 servings)

meat of 4 chicken thighs, skin and fat removed, cut into bit size pieces
1 tbsp soy sauce (+ more to your discretion)
1 tsp mirin
2 tsp sesame oil, divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (use a nice thick one for this)
1 tsp honey
toasted sesame seeds

Mix the seasonings together in a bowl and marinate the raw chicken in it for 10-20 minutes, making sure the chicken is well-coated. Spray oil on a non-stick pan and pour 1 tsp sesame oil into the pan. Heat to medium heat. 
Lay out the marinated chicken on a piece of wax paper and shake sesame seeds out over the chicken and press them into the meat with a fork. Turn them over and sprinkle sesame seeds over the other side. Press them into the chicken again. Then transfer the chicken to the pan and cook until both sides get a nice, delicious seared brown color (took me about 4 minutes a side). As always, make sure your chicken is cooked all the way through!!
And you're done in no time. So good!

Marinated Spinach
(makes 2 servings)

~4 generous handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds

Blanch the spinach. [Boil it for 3-4 minutes, then take out, drain, and douse in cold water.] Mix the seasonings in a small tupperware container. Add spinach in, mix. Sprinkle in a generous portion of sesame seeds. Cover. Shake to really soak the spinach. Set in your fridge and chill for 15 minutes to overnight. 

Go on! Have a peace!

Q&A: What is Mirin?

Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine, or 'seasoning wine', made from glutinous rice. It has a low alcohol content and a very sweet taste. You should be able to find it in the liquor department at your local supermarket, or at a wine and spirit shop, even though it's extraordinarily low on the tipsy scale. (Manufacturers of Mirin only ferment it long enough to achieve the proper sweetness, without an eye for alcohol content.)
Mirin has a golden hue, sort of like the color you find in Tej or mead - very pretty. It is generally used as an additive in sauces and can even tone down the tastes and odors of a variety of meats (like fish). Apparently it is sometimes brushed onto fish and roasts to give these dishes a "sheen". In Japan, pleasantness of presentation is half the battle.
So that's my little expose on Mirin. Use it in very small amounts - a little goes a long way. :)

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