Friday, October 10, 2008

Lotus Flower Bento

lotus flower bento
This week's theme on Bento Challenge is "Flowers", so I decided to make a lotus flower (actually two) with Korean-style food. For me, design is one thing, but at the end of the day, how a bento tastes is most important. There's no point if the design is fantastic but you don't enjoy eating it...

The petals of the white lotus flower are made out of tofu, with an egg centre. Not pictured is a soy-sesame dressing to pour over the tofu. Underneath the flower are lettuce rolls containing Korean beef bulgogi and gochujang (red pepper paste). To fill up the background, there are boiled black beans with soy, sugar and black sesame seeds (kong jang) and some takana (mustard leaf) pickles.

The orange-red lotus (that is slightly closed) is made out of a nectarine. It is sitting on a background of blackberries and there are also some lotus leaves/pads made out of kiwi fruit.

Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe...

Korean Beef Bulgogi
(double/triple proportions if you are making a larger amount)
190g boneless short rib beef (or rib eye), thinly sliced
1/2 kiwi fruit (see note at end)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp garlic (1 clove, finely chopped or mashed)
1/2 Tbsp sake
dash black pepper
  1. Sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp of brown sugar over the beef and let it rest for a few minutes as you mix up the marinade.
  2. Mix the other 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar with the soya sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sake and pepper.
  3. Cut the kiwi in half, then squeeze it over the meat as if you were juicing an orange, except the whole kiwi is being squashed and mashed up. Discard the kiwi skin. Mix the kiwi into the beef (you can use your hands for this). The juice of the kiwi fruit tenderises the meat.
  4. Add the marinade to the beef, mix well, and leave it for 10 minutes. As the beef is thinly sliced, you do not have to marinade it for long.
  5. Grill (or pan fry) the beef for a minute or so each side until just cooked (the beef will cook very quickly).
  6. Serve with lettuce leaves and gochujang (Korean red pepper paste). Wrap a slice of beef and some gochujang in the lettuce, and eat.
Tip: You can make your own Korean bbq at home by setting up a cast iron grill on an induction cooker on the dining table, and frying the beef bulgogi at the table. Serve with white rice, lettuce, gochujang, pickles and other meats to bbq.

Note: If your beef is very thinly sliced, omit the kiwi fruit juice, as the meat doesn't need to be tenderised. Otherwise, the juice will make the meat go mushy.


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