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Posted on Aug 25, 2007 in Bento, For Kids, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Meat, Rice, Tofu | 10 comments

Latin-Korean fried rice box lunches

Latin-Korean fried rice box lunches


This week I misjudged the heat level when making kimchi fried rice for dinner, and it wound up being too spicy for my preschooler. Although I usually serve him the same things that we eat in order to broaden his palate (and make things easier on me), this is one of the only times I’ll actually make a different meal for Bug — when it’s simply too spicy and I can’t fix it by adding yogurt, etc. So while my husband and I got leftover fusion fried rice in our bento lunches, Bug got green onion bread and mini burger patties from the freezer. I made the mini burger patties about a month ago when we had meatloaf for dinner. I reserved some extra meatloaf mix and fried up the mini patties at the same time as I was making dinner, then flash froze them on a little metal pan (putting them in a freezer bag afterwards for longer-term storage). This is a convenient way to build up a stash of quick lunch items in your freezer that you can grab and pack quickly on busy mornings. (Read about more speed techniques in my Mommy’s Lunch Manifesto.)

Fusion fried rice lunch

Contents of my lunch: Fusion fried rice with kimchi, Salvadorean chorizo, tofu, onion, broccoli stems, carrots, nopales (prickly pear cactus paddles), egg, green onion and chogochujang sauce (recipe here). The fruit half holds crisp Asian pear (nashi), Concord grapes, green and gold kiwifruit, and cherries. Kimchi fried rice is a standard dish at our house that uses up whatever leftovers I have around. Leftover cold rice, the last of the kimchi, whatever veggies are on hand — you name it. It’s also nice with a garnish of roasted/ground sesame seeds and a bit of sesame oil.

Morning prep time: 8 minutes, using leftover fried rice from dinner. Just prepped the fruit in the morning.

Packing: To keep the fruit from browning, I tossed the Asian pear with lemon juice mixed with cherry grape juice to cut the sourness. Packed in a 500ml Leaflet box with movable divider.

Green onion bread lunch for preschooler

Contents of preschooler lunch: A whole red banana, green and gold kiwifruit, Asian pear (nashi), mini meatloaf patties, and Chinese green onion bread. After having tried the tiny Manzano bananas in a lunch the other week, I was intrigued when I spied the red bananas in the store. Also known as Jamaican bananas, red bananas are more commonly used in baking than raw, and are ripe when there are black spots on the skin. I learned this the hard way by peeling one last week and discovering that it was green and inedible in its raw state. But let ‘em sit for a week and Bug was begging for them. They were delicious and not mealy, although I think I prefer the Manzano bananas for out of hand eating.

Morning prep time: 10 minutes, using frozen mini meatloaf patties and store-bought green onion bread. In the morning I popped the frozen meatloaf patties into the microwave to thaw, put the green onion bread in the toaster, and sliced the fruit.

Fusion fried rice lunch

Packing: Packed in two tiers (280ml and 180ml) of a 4-tier nesting Thomas the Tank Engine bento box.

My husband’s lunch is the same as mine, packed in a 600ml two-tier box.



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  1. Yummy! I’m a “high heat” fan as well and my kids have eaten the consequences on occassion.

    Where do you purchase sushi grass? I went to the Asian market today in search of it and was told they didn’t carry it. I’m tempted to stop in my favorite sushi place and see if I can snag a few off of them for Svea’s first day of school bento (no take-out sushi on the menu for me between now and then to use what would come with my purchase.)

  2. That banana looks so funny, I always love seeing new sorts of fruit at the grocery store, but I’ve never seen this one! Nashi pear is one of my fave fruits as well.

    The fried rice looks so good, I’m into all things fusion, and especially foods with kimchi and gochujang :-)

  3. I am so curious - do you make your own kimchi or buy it in a store? I would love to have more kimchi and as your recipies and things are so easy to follow, if you’ve got a kimchi recipie I’d love to see it :)

  4. @1 from Amber: Yes, once we realized the fried rice was simply too spicy for Bug even at the “mild” setting, we went ahead and stirred more chogochujang into the remainder for ourselves. Mmm, heat. I get sushi grass at Ichiban Kan or Daiso, but I’ve seen it on eBay or

  5. @2 from amvn: The nashi was actually on sale at New May Wah (big pan-Asian market on Clement St. in SF) — five for US$0.79 as they were at perfect ripeness. We need to eat the remainder today/tomorrow or they’ll be past their peak. I love fried rice for its forgiving nature — it’ll take so many things in and make them delicious!

  6. @3 from Val: I actually just buy my kimchi from a store as the kimchi is of such good quality and available in so many forms here (naturally fermented the Korean way, not the Japanese way that takes shortcuts). My favorite is the daikon radish kimchi cut in cubes — in Japanese it’s called “kakuteki”, I don’t remember offhand what it’s called in Korean.

  7. Hey there, I know you from Flickr.. I think you, these ideas, and your photos are amazing. One day you should put all of this into a book!

  8. @7 from Kayla: Thanks, good idea!

  9. In Korean, the radish kimchi is called kkakdoogee.

    I don’t know if I would be brave enough to bring anything kimchi to work… I don’t want to subject my coworkers to garlic breath and the smell of garlic coming out of my pores!

    Biggie, what ethnicity are you, just out of curiosity?

  10. @9 from Moose: Ah, thanks for the Korean — I knew it sounded like the Japanese approximation, but couldn’t remember what it was. I hear you about the kimchi; my coworkers in Tokyo would comment even if I just had regular Japanese gyoza at lunch! Very sensitive to smells, they were. I’m white, BTW — British, German and Cherokee Indian.