Weekly Japanese Pop Culture Thread (August 25, 2021)

Welcome to The Avocado’s weekly discussion of Japanese pop culture! If you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy bento, then the classic soboro bento is for you! A soboro bento includes dishes that are chopped, flaked, ground, etc. and placed on a layer of rice. There are lots of dishes that you can make for your soboro bento, but the basic idea is to have a protein (I usually use ground turkey, but you can use ground beef or chicken, or even flaked fish), a green veggie (green beans work well, or spinach, but I usually to add edamame), iri tamago (looks like a very fine scrambled egg), and shredded/chopped carrot cooked in dashi, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. Each dish is placed separately and neatly on top of the rice. You can also add pickled ginger on top as a garnish. The end result will look something like the header image (taken from this website which has a pretty good recipe), but you can pack it any way you want. You can also just serve it in a bowl and eat it at home!

My favorite thing about the soboro bento is that you can make the meat and carrot dishes ahead of time and freeze them. Both are easy to break off in the morning and reheat before putting in your bento. The egg dish only takes a couple minutes to make, and then you just boil some greens. Easy and delicious! Looking for some recipes? If you search for “soboro bento” you’ll find a ton of options and great recipes, but I use Makiko Itoh’s recipe from Just Bento. I really like that recipe because the protein is ground turkey and it includes ginger (which I think adds a really nice flavor). But you can use the free recipe on her website to get started. She also has a recipe for iri tamago on her website. Here’s a recent soboro bento I made (the carrots are chopped because I used the leftover bits when I was cutting out hearts and other shapes for the cute orange-glazed carrots I put in many of my bento):

If you try it, let me know! And if you already make soboro, please share your favorite version(s)!

And, as always…

What have you been watching/reading/playing/eating/listening to lately?

Happy Wednesday! 🙂