Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Tsukune Dinner Bentos
This blog was originally named because we are a vegetarian family. Despite the belief here in the west that Japanese food is synonymous with vegetarianism, that is so far from the reality of daily cuisine in Japan. (More on this subject below...) I am an anarchist for combining my love of Japanese food and bento making with my life of vegetarianism! Many times I take traditional Japanese recipes and 'fake them up' into vegetarian versions that I can make quickly and easily at home.
Tsukune patties are one of our favorite of these anarchized recipes. And yes, I realize that 'anarchized' isn't actually a word but I like it so I'm going to use it anyway. Tsukune in Japan are made from ground chicken, usually served on a skewer. Mine are made from firm tofu, fried onion paste, flour, panko and water. Totally not traditional Japanese cuisine but oh so yummy! A-chan prefers hers with ketchup while I eat mine drenched in mayo and sriracha. I will post the recipe soon.
In the bento: Rice with black sesame seeds, carrot flowers, steamed broccoli, corn on the cob, vegetarian tsukune patties, an apple bunny for A-chan and a checkered apple for me. My bento had some broccoli sprouts scattered around while A-chan refused to have any in hers.
While I want to make dinner bentos as lovely as these every time, I admit that they aren't always so picture worthy. Somehow I'm only organized enough to make pretty food in the mornings and by afternoon I'm throwing food into bento boxes and hoping I'll get us to dance class on time.
(Vegetarianism in Japan continued...) Like my grandparents who used to think that life will end if one doesn't flavor food with meat, most Japanese consider a meal to be incomplete without some form of meat. There is more in common between the South and Japan than most people think! The idea of vegetarianism is not well understood in either place, though that is slowly changing. I've been told that it is as difficult to find vegetarian food in Japan as it is to get a veggie meal at a BBQ joint - almost impossible unless you want to eat plain bread. A meal without meat seems to equate to hardship and unhappiness in Japan, which leads to a very different view of food. Below are some links about this that are fun to read and occasionally eye-opening.