I'm only showing part of MisterMan's bento today. It includes pomelo (or jabong), cherries and carrots. The rest of it will be packed in the thermal jar you see in the background, right before he gets in the car to go to school. It's not the greatest container for keeping food warm, but I tested it with boiling water and it stayed pretty hot after 3 hours. Today I made jook, but this time I used black (Forbidden) rice to see if it was possible, and if so, how it would turn out. Perhaps you've read recently about the health benefits being attributed to black rice (high in iron and fiber, rich in antioxidants, cancer-fighting, improves memory, etc). Well, I've seen people make black rice pudding, and I thought it would be cool to make black rice jook. I actually made two different batches; one with black and white mixed in a 3:1 ratio, and one with black rice alone. I discovered that the white rice is necessary to provide the glutinous thickness we love about congee. The batch with black rice only kind of turned out like thin rice gruel, as you can see from the picture.
I wish I had taken a picture of the other batch to compare, but that got eaten up quick. I even cooked it longer than usual (about 2 hours), to see if it would eventually become thick and creamy. Nope. Anyway, it's still good -- I added roast duck, baby bok choy and green onions to give it flavor. It's cool how it came out very black. Even after rinsing the rice thoroughly, the black color is released when the rice breaks apart, and you can see it's a regular white color inside the grain. If you try it, don't forget to add some white rice. The resulting jook looks more purplish too; very cool-looking! In case you are interested, my basic jook recipe is here.
Basic Jook Recipe
6C water (or more -- up to 8C, depending on how thin you like it)
2C broth (chicken or vegetable -- you can also increase the broth instead if you like)
Diced kabocha (as much as you like)
Bring rice and liquids to a bubbling simmer, and maintain, stirring occasionally, until soup is of desired consistency. About an hour. Add the diced kabocha near the end of cooking, to soften in the soup about 20 minutes or so (or less, if you like it firmer). Add salt to taste. Other things to add: chicken / turkey / duck bones with meat (remove bones after cooking), shiitake mushrooms, salted pork, salted salmon, green onions.
I am a former research scientist turned stay-at-home-mom of 2 who got started with bento in an effort to help my kids learn that eating healthy and nutritious foods can be fun and cute. I make a bento lunch for my 13yo (8th grader) son & my 9yo (4th grader) daughter every school day, and post the pictures on my sherimiya ♥ flickr photostream. Here in this blog is where I describe each bento, and you'll also get a peek inside our family adventures. Thanks for taking a look, and please let me know what you think ^-^!