Soboro-bento (A lunch box featuring minced chicken and scrambled eggs)

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Broadcast date:April 12, 2013

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Ingredients (Serves 4 )

・minced chicken200 g
・root ginger5 g
・2 eggs
・6 string peas
・steamed rice600 grams

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons water

Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar

・Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Peel the ginger and cut into a fine dice. Remove the string from the string peas. Blanch the string peas in salted, boiling water. Remove on to a colander, let them cool down, and cut into diagonal slices.
  2. Prepare the minced-chicken soboro topping. Heat a frying pan. Coat the base with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Switch off or remove from heat. Allow the pan to cool somewhat. Add the ginger and the chicken to the pan, stirring briskly with a wooden spatula to separate the meat. Set the pan over low heat. Continue to stir and break up the minced meat until it assumes a grainy texture. Add A) and simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid is gone.
  3. Prepare the scrambled-egg soboro topping. Break the eggs into a bowl. Remove the white thread (chalaza) around the yolks of the eggs. Beat well and season the eggs with B). Heat a frying pan, coat the base with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, and allow to cool in the same manner for preparing the minced-chicken topping. While the pan is off the heat, add the egg mixture. Stir briskly with 2 pairs of chopsticks or a fork until the mixture has set slightly. Then set the pan over low heat. Stir until the eggs have been scrambled into a fine, grainy texture. Remove on to a plate and allow to cool. Do not let the scrambled eggs to remain in the pan, as the lingering heat from the pan will cause them to overcook.
  4. Pack 4 lunch boxes with steamed rice. Smooth the rice. Cover with equal amounts of each topping. Top one-third of the rice with the minced chicken, another third with the scrambled egg, and the remaining third with the string peas.

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Dishes which are Delicious Eaten Cold

Bento or Japanese-style lunch boxes are generally eaten cold.  The trick with the above dish is using lean chicken meat.  Minced pork or beef is fatty, and fat is not all that nice once it has cooled and congealed.  The meat topping should be cooked until most of the liquid is absorbed.  

Fukume-ni is the name for the technique of simmering ingredients and then allowing them to cool in the simmering liquid to absorb flavour.  Root vegetables and starchy vegetables like potatoes are often simmered and allowed to cool in a simmering liquid containing dashi stock and soy sauce.  The ingredients will expand when hot, and soak up flavour as they cool and contract.  This enables the ingredients to soak up more flavour than would be the case with prolonged simmering.  The resulting dishes can be eaten cold, or they are nice, of course, reheated.

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