2-Way Noodle Rolls Bento

23Oct10

This bento (Japanese-style packed meal) is my response to the #twitterpastaparty challenge (any kind of noodles permitted). After rummaging through my stock of food staples to see what was on hand, I decided to make one item with harusame (bean threads/cellophane noodles) and another with some chlorella-enriched, greenish somen (very thin, wheat noodles which are usually white).  As wrappers, I chose rice paper for the harusame, and nori seaweed sheets for the somen.

A. Harusame Rolls

Reconstitute dried harusame according to package directions and drain well. Stir-fry any combination of very thinly sliced, preferably colorful vegetables, meat, garlic (crushed), fresh ginger (grated), or whatever suitable leftovers you have on hand. Cook for two minutes, or till veggies are tender. Add the drained harusame to the pan for the final minute of stir-frying. Season with soy sauce & sesame oil to taste. Let the mixture cool.

Reconstitute rice paper according to package directions and spread desired amount of cooled harusame mixture across it, rolling it up according to package directions. Wrap the roll in plastic wrap. When you’re ready to pack the lunch container, cut the roll (without removing the plastic wrap) into segments that just fit your container when lined up vertically. Remove the plastic wrap from each roll when you’re ready to eat it.

B. Somen Rolls

Place uncooked somen noodles and raw carrot sticks in a pot of boiling water and cook for 2-4 minutes over high heat (depends on thickness of somen). Drain the noodles and carrot sticks, running cold water over them to chill them quickly. Separate the carrots from the noodles, and remove excess moisture. Toss the noodles with just a bit of concentrated tsuyu (dipping sauce for noodles or tempura) for flavor. Powdered dashi/Japanese soup stock also works.

Spread some of the noodles over a sheet of nori seaweed, leaving an inch or so of margin at the top and bottom. Place a row or two of carrots over the noodles, along the middle. I happened to have a pack of salt-preserved red shiso leaves (such as used in making umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums), so I rinsed these well, patted them dry, and cut them into wide strips. I placed these strips next to the carrots. If you have something like this that makes a nice color-and-taste-contrast with the noodles and carrots, use that instead. Roll up the nori sheet along with its contents. Wrap the roll in plastic wrap. When you’re ready to pack the lunch container, cut the roll (without removing the plastic wrap) into segments that just fit your container when lined up vertically. Remove the plastic wrap from each roll when you’re ready to eat it.

I filled the remaining space in the container with grilled chicken pieces (which had been marinated in smoky spices) and unseasoned, steamed asparagus segments.  Somen and stir-fried harusame often feature in our family suppers. So normally I make sure I have leftovers, and then all I have to do the next morning is roll up the noodles in their wraps and pack them in the lunch boxes. No hassle at all. : )

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9 Responses to “2-Way Noodle Rolls Bento”

  1. Wonderful entry Debbie! I love the noodle rolls idea. It’s a finger friendly way to have noodles, and the bento looks neat and tidy this way too. Asparagus and chicken round it all out nicely. Love it!

  2. I really love this – harusame is one of my favourite noodles, they soak up flavours so very well. And the saran wrap is ingenious, I often have trouble with sticky rice paper which tends to stick EVERYWHERE!

  3. I’m so glad I found this site! Japanese food seems so challenging to me. The noodle rolls look delicious 🙂

  4. Yes,yes, I echo the above comments! Fabulous idea to combine two favorites: noodles and wraps! I’m so glad that you’re participating with your amazing recipes! Thanks!

  5. wow, i love it. great idea i need to try.

  6. I LOVE the idea of noodles in sushi! Brilliant!!!!

  7. YUM! I love noodle rolls and these look fabulous! Excellent #twitterpastaparty contribution!

  8. 8 Jill

    Yummy! Everything looks delish!!!!

  9. I have no idea where to get harusame but you inspired me to wrap some nori around noodles! Hope it will work, thanks!


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