- Lunch in a Box: Building a Better Bento - http://lunchinabox.net -
Brazilian salgadinhos bento lunch
Posted By Biggie On February 13, 2008 @ 4:49 am In bento, dumplings or buns, for kids, phyllo or pancake or other, recipe | 30 Comments
I went to a Japanese-Brazilian friend’s party this weekend where there was a gorgeous array of Brazilian savory appetizers called  salgadinhos. Salgadinhos encompass a variety of different savory bites, including inverted cone-shaped stuffed “ coxinhas“ whose dough is made with yucca and chicken broth, “bolinhos de peixe” fish balls, “ risole” thick fried half-moons stuffed with fillings, “ empada” pies baked in mini muffin tins, and Middle Eastern stuffed meat  kibbeh (ground meat & bulgur wheat) that reflects the immigrant influence in Brazil.
Often eaten with hot sauce, evidently salgadinhos are popular snacks at bars and parties in Brazil. They were definitely a hit with the three-year-old birthday party crowd, who staged repeated strikes on the finger food table. Also popular were  brigadeiro chocolate fudge candy and  beijinho de coco coconut kisses, little Portuguese-influenced sweets made from condensed milk and rolled in either chocolate jimmies or shredded coconut. We finally had to move the plate out of reach of the children, who took up positions nearby to snatch up the chocolate balls.
I was so taken with the salgadinhos that I asked the hostess if I could take a few home to feature in a bento lunch, and she was gracious enough to give the green light and fill me in on the details. They may seem unusual for a packed lunch, but they’re in keeping with other ready-made appetizers that lend themselves nicely to the small scale of bentos, such as  puff pastry appetizers,  spanakopita,  mini crab cakes,  meatballs, etc.  (Click to read the full post with lunch details…)
Contents of preschooler’s bento lunch: Brazilian salgadinhos appetizers (ham rizoli, chicken coxinha de frango, chicken-thigh empada with olives), mandarin orange segments, steamed broccoli with mayonnaise and  aonori seaweed (recipe below), steamed red and yellow bell pepper with soy sauce and dashi, and beijinho de coco coconut kisses. The salgadinhos were hand-made by a private caterer in Daly City, CA; let me know if you’d like her info and I’ll send it to you.
Morning prep time: 10 minutes, using leftover salgadinhos. In the morning I popped the appetizers into  my convection toaster oven for 5 minutes to re-crisp the exterior. While those were warming, I cooked both the broccoli and bell peppers in my microwave mini steamer and sauced them.
Cooking: I was looking for a different way to flavor steamed broccoli, and found a quick sauce in Papatto 15-fun! Oishii Obentou, one of  my Japanese-language speed bento cookbooks. I put some trimmed broccoli florets in my  microwave mini steamer with a tablespoon of water and heated them on high heat (1200W) for 50 seconds (you could also heat the broccoli in a covered microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water). Remove the broccoli from the steamer and pat with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Let cool while you stir together a quick sauce of 2 tsp mayonnaise, 1/2 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp  aonori seaweed flakes. Either dip the cooled broccoli florets into the sauce or smear a little of the sauce into each floret with a spoon. This added a surprising amount of flavor to the broccoli, and Bug gave it a big thumbs up.
 Packing: To make sure the appetizers stayed crisp, I let them cool after coming out of the toaster oven before packing them in the box. This kept condensation from forming in the box that would have made it more difficult to open the box and increased the odds of the  food going bad before lunchtime. The peppers went into a  reusable silicone baking cup, and the broccoli went into a  disposable plastic baking cup from Daiso that was easier to compact into a small space than a silicone cup. The lunch is packed in a  360ml Disney Cars bento box with both subdividers removed to fit the larger salgadinhos, and the box went into an  insulated Shinkansen lunch bag with a wide base designed to carry bento boxes flat, not tipped over on their side. Little ice packs cut from a larger  flexible ice blanket went inside the lunch bag to keep things cool. If Bug were hungrier, I could have frozen a little treat in a separate container and thrown that in his bag as an  edible ice pack. (Click on any photo for more info.)
Verdict: Not great. Bug downed the two fried salgadinhos, the broccoli and the orange segments at preschool, but left the rest. After school he ate a little of the bell peppers and the brigadeiro, but totally rejected the baked chicken empada even though its filling was similar to the coxinha that he downed. Oh well, at least he ate the broccoli!
* * * * *
The  Feisty Bento blog is running a bento contest, “ Does This Make My Lunch Look Phat?” with an  extended deadline of February 29, 2008. Selected winners will receive one of the cute bento boxes shown in her original post. A regular reader and commenter on Lunch in a Box, Yvo runs both  Feisty Foodie and  All My Bento Are Belong to Me (Feisty Bento) blogs.
On a self-interested note, I switched advertising networks last month and joined  Foodbuzz, a new online food community. If you have a food blog and are looking to run ads, you might want to  contact Foodbuzz and hear what they have to say (they’ll ask for a non-disclosure agreement). (Disclosure: The tracked contact link supports Lunch in a Box.)
Article printed from Lunch in a Box: Building a Better Bento: http://lunchinabox.net
URL to article: http://lunchinabox.net/2008/02/13/brazilian-salgadinhos-bento-lunch/
URLs in this post:
 salgadinhos: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/301808
 coxinhas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxinha
 risole: http://www.brazilianproducts.co.uk/index.php?cPath=97&osCsid=cb9e8d8be52dc6f1bffffe8d350c390b
 empada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empanadas
 kibbeh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbeh
 brigadeiro: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigadeiro
 beijinho de coco: http://trembomenglishversion.blogspot.com/2007/06/beijinho-de-coco-coconut-kiss.html
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lunchinabox/2261785452/
 puff pastry appetizers: http://lunchinabox.net/2008/01/26/bento-love-for-convection-toaster-ovens/
 spanakopita: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/10/24/spanakopita-lunches/
 mini crab cakes: http://lunchinabox.net/2008/01/09/side-dish-containers-in-action/
 meatballs: http://lunchinabox.net/2008/01/29/meatball-rice-bomb-bento-lunch/
 (Click to read the full post with lunch details…): http://lunchinabox.net/2008/02/13/brazilian-salgadinhos-bento-lunch/#more-362
 aonori seaweed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aonori
 my Japanese-language speed bento cookbooks: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/11/07/speed-bento-freezing-books-in-my-kitchen/
 microwave mini steamer: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/02/13/speed-bento-techniques-frozen-spaghetti/
 aonori seaweed: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009IIARS?ie=UTF8&tag=luinabo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=178
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lunchinabox/1935657157/
 food going bad before lunchtime: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/05/08/food-safety-for-packed-lunches-updated/
 reusable silicone baking cup: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/09/08/silicone-baking-cups-salmon-box-lunches/
 disposable plastic baking cup: http://flickr.com/photos/lunchinabox/353184243/in/set-72157594150632817/
 360ml Disney Cars bento box: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/10/10/carnitas-lunch-in-disney-cars-gear/
 flexible ice blanket: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/05/02/ice-blanket-and-inari-sushi-lunch/
 edible ice pack: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/07/31/edible-ice-packs/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lunchinabox/481978252/
 Feisty Bento: http://feistybento.blogspot.com/
 Does This Make My Lunch Look Phat?: http://feistybento.blogspot.com/2007/10/does-this-make-my-lunch-look-phat.html
 extended deadline: http://feistybento.blogspot.com/2007/12/does-this-make-my-lunch-look-phat.html
 Feisty Foodie: http://feistyfoodie.blogspot.com/
 Foodbuzz: http://www.foodbuzz.com/
 contact Foodbuzz: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=kHXJqpGe82UY7VLt0F6adA_3d_3d
 Image: http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Flunchinabox.net%2F2008%2F02%2F13%2Fbrazilian-salg
 Image: http://twitter.com/home?status=http%3A%2F%2Flunchinabox.net%2F2008%2F02%2F13%2Fbrazilian-salgadinhos
 Image: http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Flunchinabox.net%2F2008%2F02%2F13%2Fbrazilian-salgad
 Image: http://del.icio.us/post?url=http%3A%2F%2Flunchinabox.net%2F2008%2F02%2F13%2Fbrazilian-salgadinhos-be
 Image: http://www.kirtsy.com/submit.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Flunchinabox.net%2F2008%2F02%2F13%2Fbrazilian-salga