If you have been fortunate enough to visit Japan, or enjoy Japanese food, you will almost certainly have seen or heard of bento boxes. Comprised of little compartments filled with rice, sushi, meat and vegetables, these beautifully arranged lunch boxes originated in Japan, but are now popular all over the world.
Ready-made bento boxes are often available in Japanese restaurants and outlets, but can be easily created at a home. You can prepare most of the dishes the night before, so the box is easy to assemble the following morning, and even a simple bento can look like a work of art.
These dishes require just a little more effort that my simple bento box recipe, but are still fairly quick and easy to prepare. The Japanese omelette may look a little daunting if you have never made one before, but actually they are not too difficult to master. A good nonstick frying pan is the only essential piece of equipment. The only other tricky element is moulding the rice to form the prawn nigiri. The best tip here is to have a small bowl of water on the worktop. The rice is incredible sticky, but keeping your fingers wet will make it much easier to work with!