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January 23, 2007
Mom's veggie curry

[tight bento box with vegetarian curry, broccolini, rice noodles, and french bread]

Left: my mom's vegetarian (and ) curry with tofu, mock chicken, carrots, potatoes, taro, and cassava (Vietnamese style)
Top right: wok-fried broccolini, shredded carrots
Bottom right: rice vermicelli, grape tomatoes, slice of French bread

Still suffering through the frigid weather here. Things could change though. I may be headed out to sunny Arizona later this week. Good news: better weather! Bad news: no bento for a week. Anyone know of any places to buy bento supplies near the Phoenix/Tempe area? ;-)

So before you even ask me, no, I do not have the recipe for the curry. My mom is one of those "a pinch of this, a smidge of that" type chefs. Her food is consistently wonderful, but heck if I can duplicate it!

This is definitely a 'lazy girl' bento. Microwaved the curry before adding it to the bento box, quickly wok-fried the broccolini with some Borsari salt (find it in your regular supermarket -- amazing flavor!), warmed up the rice noodles in the microwave, and toasted the bread in the toaster oven. Rice noodles taste better when they are fully dry. If you're making a meal that includes them as a base, try to cook the noodles an hour or so before you need them. Then drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside to dry out for as long as possible. Rice noodles reheat well from the refrigerator too.

The heart-shaped bread is something I picked up from my mom. When serving French bread at parties, she takes a big chef's knife and presses/crushes the non-cutting edge of the knife into the side of the loaf. You don't actually put any pressure on the cutting edge -- you kind of press the bread and fold it around the knife to create a valley in the loaf (like you tried to fold it in half). You can exaggerate the valley more if you like. Then hold the loaf-shape in place while sliding out the knife and slice off perfect little heart-shaped slices. Serrated knives work best f or me.

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