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Croquette lunches and metal containers
Posted By Biggie On May 11, 2007 @ 7:19 am In bento, equipment, fish or seafood, for kids, onigiri or sushi, potatoes, recipe | 473 Comments
Contents: Corn cream croquettes with tonkatsu sauce (a popular kids’ bento item), sliced cucumber, plain rice ball with strips of  pre-cut nori, sliced takuan pickles, and slices of kamaboko (fish cake) cut to loosely resemble rabbits. The side dish holds cherries and grapes. Bug devoured the croquettes as finger food right off the bat, then the fruit. He wasn’t much interested in the kamaboko or takuan — some days he is, some days he isn’t.
Morning prep time: 10 minutes to pack, 10 minutes to let everything totally cool before closing the lids. The croquettes were frozen from a store, and just needed to be deep fried in a little pot for 3.5 minutes. For best  food safety, I heated the kamaboko through (in hot water I was making something else in). The rice was refrigerated leftovers, so I heated it in the microwave and quickly shaped it with salted, wet hands (you could also use the  twisted plastic wrap method).
Packing: The takuan pickles turned the kamaboko yellow where they touched, so if Bug were sensitive about things like that I could use a food divider or a piece of lettuce. I did use a food divider to keep the moist cucumber away from the crispy croquettes, and let the lunches totally cool before closing the lid to avoid soggy croquettes. I also let the croquettes cool on a little wire rack before packing them in the box (they take extra time, but kids inhale them!).
I found some stainless steel bento boxes and side container dishes for US$1.50 each at Daiso (Japanese dollar store with  stores internationally) in Daly City CA, good for people concerned about using plastic food containers. They’re not totally metal, but you could put a layer of lettuce, waxed paper, etc. over the top of the food if you’re worried about food touching the lid. The large one is 480ml, and the smaller ones about 190ml and 220ml (measured with the  water method). These containers were originally meant for fast freezing of food: some had little date dials on the lids to track freshness, but these had the normal lids. There were other shapes, too (a rectangle side dish, a larger round side dish, etc.). Other metal lunch containers include: the  To-Go Ware two-tier box, the  multiple-tier Chinese lunchbox, the  Sigg watertight aluminum box, the  Totoro aluminum bento box, the  Totoro “Mei” aluminum bento box, and the  large two-tier aluminum bento box. Do you have a favorite metal lunch container? Tell us about it!
Contents: Corn cream croquettes with tonkatsu sauce, kamaboko, takuan, cucumber, grapes and cherries.
Morning prep time: 10 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling time.
Packing: Same as above, packed in the 480ml stainless steel box.
I can get cheap  tonkatsu sauce from my local Asian markets, but if you can’t get it locally and don’t want to order it online, you can make an approximation yourself. I actually prefer the bottled stuff, but maybe that’s just my Japanese food nostalgia kicking in.
Tonkatsu Sauce (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
1/2 tsp. dry powdered mustard
1 tsp. water
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tb Worcestershire sauce
2.25 tsp. soy sauce1. Mix mustard with water until smooth.
2. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the mustard powder/water with the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.
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Article printed from Lunch in a Box: Building a Better Bento: http://lunchinabox.net
URL to article: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/05/11/croquette-lunches-and-metal-containers/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lunchinabox/493392238/
 pre-cut nori: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/03/15/speed-bento-tip-store-pre-cut-nori-in-freezer-bag/
 food safety: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/05/08/food-safety-for-packed-lunches-updated/
 twisted plastic wrap method: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/03/08/speed-bento-scrambled-egg-purses/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lunchinabox/493392234/
 stores internationally: http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/english/storeinfo/storeinfo03.html
 water method: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/03/07/guide-to-choosing-the-right-size-bento-box/
 To-Go Ware two-tier box: http://astore.amazon.com/lunch-20/detail/B000H92LWE/002-5452062-3762400
 multiple-tier Chinese lunchbox: http://astore.amazon.com/lunch-20/detail/B00012F3SG/002-5452062-3762400
 Sigg watertight aluminum box: http://www.amazon.com/Switzerland-Aluminum-Available-Sizes-Colors/dp/B000HYHBP6/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-758
 Totoro aluminum bento box: http://affiliates.jlist.com/click/1817?url=http://www.jbox.com/PRODUCT/FY002
 Totoro “Mei” aluminum bento box: http://affiliates.jlist.com/click/1817?url=http://www.jbox.com/PRODUCT/FK102
 large two-tier aluminum bento box: http://affiliates.jlist.com/click/1817?url=http://www.jbox.com/PRODUCT/BENTO208
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lunchinabox/493392236/
 tonkatsu sauce: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&keywords=tonkatsu%20sauce&tag=luinabo-20&index=g
 here: http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/20676
 Need for speed: A mommy’s lunch manifesto: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/04/23/need-for-speed-a-mommys-lunch-manifesto/
 How to pack a bento lunch and use “gap fillers”: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/06/11/guide-to-bento-packing-and-gap-fillers/
 Biggieâ€™s list of top speed tips, tutorials and equipment reviews: http://lunchinabox.net/top-tips/
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