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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ruby Treasure Pockets

I've been really curious about bento lunches, I like the way the food is neatly arranged and portioned. I've not gone so far as to invest in bento boxes from Japan or making tiny flowers out of carrots, yet, but I have experimented with a couple of dishes that pack well into small containers for lunch. One of the easiest and tastiest are these little pockets of abura-age filled with rice and roasted beets. The beets turn the rice a gorgeous hue and look like little jewels. Christie supplied the lovely name for this dish.

The Stuff
  • 2 large pieces of abura-age (check out an Asian, preferably Japanese market for these, we get them at Uwajimaya)
  • 1 medium, red beet, peeled & diced into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 cups of cooked, short-grain brown rice
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar ("sushi" vinegar)
  • 1/2 T canola oil
  • salt/pepper
  • Furikake (to garnish, optional)
The Making

Pre-heat over to 375. Toss diced beet in canola oil and a little salt & pepper. Roast diced beet in oven until tender.

Add rice to a bowl and drizzle vinegar over. Stir vigorously, tossing the rice well in the vinegar and set aside to let rice absorb it. Once all the vinegar has been absorbed, add in the roasted beets and toss together to mix well. Rice will begin to take on a rich, red hue.

Slice the pieces of abura-age in half and carefully open up. Stuff rice, vinegar & beet mixture carefully, but firmly into the abura-age pouches. Sprinkle tops with your favorite furikake mix if desired.

Either serve immediately or pack into your bento lunch! The abura-age pouches make for a very neat way to enjoy the rice & beets. These even pack well for a hand-held snack while hiking!

The ruby beet pockets are at the top of this picture of a great, stir-fry medley we had a few weeks ago featuring broccoli/tofu/leek, the rest of the roasted beets not used for the rice pockets, and garlic/green beans.

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