Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cilantro Salad: Great Bento Filler

If you love cilantro, or often get a big beautiful bunch of it in your farm share like I do, you may sometimes come up against the old "How to use this up?" question. You can only eat so much salsa, only eat Thai noodles and spring rolls so often (well, pretty often!!).

So here's the solution: cilantro salad. The recipe can be found in my new favorite cookbook DONBURI MANIA by my guy Kentaro Kobayashi, also the author of my last new favorite cookbook BENTO LOVE.

DONBURI MANIA is what the title suggests, but also more, since Kobayashi also includes some donburi sides like soups and salads.

Cilantro coarsely chopped, fresh ginger and garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, lemon or lime juice (I used lime and loved it), and a tad of sugar. Mix it up and let it sit for awhile, then stuff it into your bento next to some beautiful rice and voila.

Speaking of rice: Kobayashi loves him some rice. Listen to this verdict on what's really important in a good donburi:

"Can't get enough rice? That's the sign of a properly prepared donburi. Sure, the stuff on top takes a lot more time and preparation, but all of that, really, is meant to enhance the rice.It just serves to make the rice more delectable."

And his philosophy of donburi is this: "The goal of donburi is to create a dish that enhances the innate sweetness of rice".

How do you like that little paradigm shift? I love this guy.

Here's Jan's bento from yesterday, which has only one slightly unusual thing and it isn't the panda lid:

On the left: cheeses, Triscuits, Hello Kitty strawberry filled cookies, and a chocolate (Hello junk food; I was in a hurry); on the right, roast potatoes, cherry tomatoes, chicken, and -- the unusual thing -- Thai basil pesto. This recipe calls for fish sauce, rice vinegar, and few other non-traditional pesto ingredients and it is awesome!! I had scored a huge bunch of Thai basil at the Harvest Festival Saturday and this pesto kind of called my name as a noodle adornment.

Fun fun fun!

Here's the cover of Kobayashi's book: You have to love a cookbook named after mental dysfunction.


  1. ZOMG! I am so jealous that you got that cookbook... I want 3 of his books - the 2 you have and also Noodle Mania. I got a gift card from work for my bday and I was either going to get those 3 books or a new Laptop Lunchbox 2.0.... I got the box.

  2. Avie, put these books on your birthday list. they are so cool! Just enough information, all the recipes streamlined, and substitutes for hard-to-find Asian ingredients always suggested. I love this guy and I plan to make all the recipes except the ones involving sardines and octopus. (I only eat octodogs!!)

  3. I have that cookbook and love it too! Great bento and I love the panda box. :)

  4. Thanks Susan! I'm glad you like the Kobayashi book too!

  5. BAHHHH!!! I found the 3 on Amazon.com for $30 (free shipping)... I just might have to place an order...

  6. Dang! I paid more than that Avie!!