Bento booster / Colorful, creative sandwich ideas

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri ShimbunThis series introduces everyday techniques to make bento lunches. This is the last installment.

Planning on bringing sandwiches to a picnic this spring? Satomi Sugiyama, manager of the Tokyo Gas Co. Food communication Center, shared several recipes for colorful sandwiches that use a variety of ingredients.

Despite being easy to make, some people may feel that sandwiches are not that filling. Sugiyama therefore recommends using generous amounts of several kinds of fillings.

In her grilled chicken sandwich, five kinds of fillings, including chicken and a boiled egg, are put between bread slices to make a sandwich that even men would find satisfying. She also uses five kinds of fillings in her omelet sandwich, which combines the omelet’s soft texture with the crispy texture of asparagus and apple.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Sugiyama uses plastic wrap to prevent the sandwiches from coming apart in the bento box.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Using plastic wrap she rolls the bread as if making sushi.

A tip for making delicious sandwiches is to use paper towels to remove excess moisture from vegetables and to also lightly spread butter on bread to keep it from becoming soggy.

Sugiyama suggests choosing four or five kinds of fillings with different colors, such as meat and vegetables.

“You can make colorful sandwiches that are also well balanced in nutrition,” she said.

Too many ingredients can cause sandwiches to collapse. Sugiyama placed a sandwich on a piece of plastic wrap, then lifted the edges of the plastic and pulled it tight over the sandwich. She then lightly pushed down on the bread with both hands and left it for about 10 minutes.

The word “moe-dan” has become a buzzword on the internet, and it means to be enchanted by cross-sections, such as those of sandwiches. A number of pictures of sandwiches after they are cut into can be seen on social media.

To make sandwich rolls, Sugiyama uses a homemade spread on two slices of bread that are placed vertically on plastic wrap and then rolled as if she was making sushi. The spread can be made by mixing mashed baked banana or blueberries with cream cheese.

Sandwiches with various colors and tastes can be made depending on the combinations of fillings and the kinds of bread. You can switch from ordinary loaves to bagels or whole grain brown bread and choose fillings you like.

“Have a great time making and eating them with your friends and families this spring,” Sugiyama said.

Ingredients and directions

Grilled chicken sandwich

2 slices of white bread from an eight-sliced loaf / 1 chicken thigh / 50 grams shredded red cabbage / 1 slice of tomato (1 centimeter thick) / 2 lettuce leaves / 1 boiled egg / butter and mustard / marinade (1 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp vinegar, 2 tsp sugar)

1. Make small, shallow cuts into the chicken thigh and sprinkle an adequate amount each of salt and pepper on it. Place the chicken on a grill to cook for about 10 minutes when using a double-sided grill.

2. Sprinkle salt on red cabbage, squeeze out excess moisture and coat it with marinade.

3. Spread butter and mustard on bread.

4. Put lettuce, tomato, chicken thigh, a boiled egg and the cabbage between the bread and wrap it in a plastic wrap. Cut it in half without removing the plastic wrap.

Omelet sandwich

2 slices of white bread from an eight-sliced loaf / 3 eggs / 3 tbsp milk / 2 cheddar cheese slices / 50 grams shredded carrot / 3 boiled asparagus spears / ¼ thinly sliced apple / 2 lettuce leaves / marinade (1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp vinegar, ½ tsp sugar) / mustard mayonnaise

1. Sprinkle salt on carrot, remove excess moisture and coat with marinade.

2. Beat eggs with milk, cheese cut into 1-centimeter pieces and a pinch of salt and pepper, and make an omelet in a pan.

3. Spread mustard mayonnaise on bread.

4. Put lettuce, carrot, omelet, apple and asparagus between the bread slices and put it in plastic wrap. Cut it in half without removing the plastic wrap.

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