Making my husband lunch is easy when I have left overs. He has such an easy going personality that he is happy when I pack left overs for him. If there is no left over then it is a race with time as I only have 15 minutes to prepare. First I start making vegetable juice while it’s going I may cook Japanese omelet (卵焼き) or cold cut sandwich in a jiffy. If I’m organized and a morning person then he gets to take a gorgeous and nutritious bento every day. My reality is not so dreamy though. My daughter had bento making class at her high school culinary class. It looks mighty fun! I recently discovered a food blogger who makes fantastic bento in Germany. I marvel at Japanese moms who spend so much time and energy making one of a kind, really artistic and cute bento for their child. Wait, why on earth would I do that? Do children just eat away in 20 minutes? When I ponder the questions and thought about my late mother who made fabulous rolled sushi (巻き寿司) for me and my brothers for sports day (運動会) or field day (遠足). Without thinking we ate those good looking rolled sushi. It’s the same thing, just a power-up version of what my mom did for us is what Japanese moms are making today. There quite a few books out there on how to make cute bento. Some techniques are really complicated, no way I can follow. See the bento book flying across the room into the trash can? Score, 2 points! I don’t need that book anyway, I’m making bento for a grown up,,,. I take that back, I may need that book for my grandchildren someday. My husband gives me a break from making lunch by going to lunch with friends a few times a month. He often brings back left over or brings an extra order of whatever, even dessert so I end up have not just lunch break but dinner break also. Isn’t that nice?
I like asparagus now but my first encounter of asparagus was a disaster. A side order of salad had white asparagus from a can (I presume). It was very mushy and I literally gagged. I was only 12(?) then. I didn’t try asparagus again until much, much later. This recipe is good for bento because it keeps the flavor even when it is cold and is great with rice. Deveining shrimp is bit of a pain though. I don’t think it’s necessary but old habits are hard to break. If I have fresh shrimp then I keep the shell for soup stock later. That soup is also good with this dish. Too bad my daughter doesn’t like shrimp. Is there any cure for shrimpaphobia?
Pork and Shrimp Wrapped Asparagus
- 15 medium size shrimp. Shell and devein then mince with food processor into a coarse paste
- Ground pork 400g
- 1 Green onion minced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- Ginger, about size of adult thumb, minced
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoon sake
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 8 asparagus, cut off hard stem end. Peel the skin if you prefer
- In a medium size bowl, combine all the ingridients except asparagus and mix until pasty.
- Put asparagus in microwaveable dish, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water then cover with wax paper and microwave for 2 minutes on high. Do not over cook. Asparagus should be tender crunchy. If it is still tough then microwave another 30 seconds.
- Mean while prepare ice cold water in a bowl big enough to soak asparagus in.
- Plunge asparagus in very cold water to stop cooking. Dry with paper towel.
- Heat oven to 375 F then put a little vegetable oil on your hands. Start wrapping asparagus with shrimp and pork mixture evenly over the entire asparagus stalk.
- Place the wrapped asparagus on a rack in a baking pan.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes until it starts releasing clear juice when poked with skewer. Rotate 2 or 3 times to bake evenly.
Eat with Japanese style hot mustard, Ponzu dipping sauce or sprinkle with lime juice.