3 Japanese bento side dishes for your next picnic


What side dishes should you make for a picnic bento? We will share some unique recipes for Japanese bento side dishes.

Let's bring a bento for outings


When enjoying hanami (flower viewing), or the fresh green outdoors, it is all the more delightful to experience it with a delicious bento!  Japan has a long-standing bento culture. Even today, many households pack 3-4 types of side dishes in lidded bento boxes for lunch. There are plenty of recipes for bento side dishes that taste good even when cooled and emphasize the appearance when opened.

Recipe 1: Sesame Butter Sweet Potato Fries


In Japan, there's a popular sweet potato recipe called "Daigaku Imo" (“imo” is Japanese for sweet potato.) It involves frying sweet potatoes cut into large bite-sized pieces, then coating them with a sweet and savory sauce made of soy sauce and sugar or mirin, and sprinkling with black sesame seeds. It's a popular recipe enjoyed by both adults and children. In this recipe, we're going to cut the sweet potatoes into stick shapes for a twist. Since they cook quickly, they'll be ready in no time!

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Sesame Butter Sweet Potato Fries

Recipe 2: Grilled Lotus Root and Shrimp Sandwiches


Make this dish of grilled lotus root and shrimp called “hasamiyaki” by sandwiching the ingredients between sliced lotus roots and frying them in a frying pan. This dish is convenient as it combines vegetables and protein together, making it easy to portion out when serving. The crunchy texture of lotus root provides satisfying bites, and when coated with sweet and savory sauce, even just one piece is fulfilling.

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Grilled Lotus Root and Shrimp Sandwiches

Recipe 3: Deep-fried Tofu Ham Cutlets


Although the recipe name includes "deep-frying," it actually refers to the ingredient. This menu uses "aburaage," which is a deep-fried tofu product. While delicious when simmered or grilled as is, filling it with sliced ham or green onions adds volume. When cut, the cross-section reveals a beautiful pink and green color, making it visually appealing in bento boxes.

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Deep-Fried Tofu Ham Cutlets

Join our culinary community

These three recipes are also featured on our Instagram account. Alongside bento recipes, our account offers a fun glimpse into Japanese culture, regrams from our fans  who cooked our  recipes from the Kikkoman Group, and recipe introductions from our overseas group companies. If you make a shrimp dish, tag it with #KikkomanLife and share your wonderful cooking experiences with us!

Published on Apr 25, 2024