Bento no. 5:Lotus root burgers with chilli jam & cherry tomatoes
Today I thought I would push the boat out and make my bento from scratch!
Once in a dim sum degustation menu, I had some very excellent steamed lotus root sandwiching a chicken patty. It has been 5 years, but I still remember that dish for the subtle taste and lovely contrasting textures of the meaty patty and crunchy lotus root. I managed to find some fresh lotus root over the weekend, and thought I should have a go at recreating the dish that I remembered from so many years ago and had never found again since.
I should’ve known this was a recipe for disaster – I popped by the market on the way home from work for some chicken mince, not realising it was Wednesday which means that 80% of the stalls were closed by 3. With only a handful of stalls open, all I could find was beef mince..and no coriander nor minced chicken. Hmm.
Then the burger patties (mixed in with salt & pepper, paprika, ginger, minced onion & celery, mirin & corn flour) would NOT bind to the sliced lotus root. I tried everything, mixed the meat mixture with an egg which didn’t work too well; then dipping the whole thing into eggwash before panfrying – which still didn’t work. AArgh! Not only that, my supposedly lean mince started producing fats – obviously not very lean then! This then turned the whole pan into a potful of oiliness…and try as I may; all the oil from the meat patties drenched the lotus root slices in a state of grease that I was unable to completely blot away. AAARGH!
I packed my lotus root burgers on a bed of iceberg lettuce so I can wrap them up them like vietnamese eggrolls/springrolls. The iceberg lettuce will serve well in tempering the greasiness of the lotus root burgers…although I had blotted the burgers to within an inch of their lives. On the left are some cherry tomatoes, a home made beetroot chilli jam dip and a side of fried tofu. All squeezed into a 600ml bento with a static divider.
The hub’s bento was packed in my pink sistema 1litre container with three sections. The large section contains iceberg lettuce & cherry tomatoes salad. The other side of the container has a silicon cupcake container of salsa/home made beetroot chilli jam dip and lotus root burgers, with the rest padded out with celery sticks and baby carrots for his all-day snacking habit. I included a chip fork (very useful & FREE) so he don’ t have to dirty his fingers whilst tapping away at his laptop. I left the dip in the open container as he was working from home and therefore will not be moving his bento around, but would definately recommend a lidded container if it is going to be transported.
I’m going to have to tweak the recipe to make the whole thing bind together better – I’ve packed those that had bound together, but the rest of the lot had not held together. Wonder why is this…do I need to use thicker/thinner slices? Should I coat it in flour before panfrying? Or perhaps steaming will help? Hmm…
However, I do make a rockin’ beetroot chilli jam if anyone’s interested in it? VERY lovely, and goes with everything from roast vegetables to fries and salmon. Not to mention it keeps for months in the fridge, making it a very good staple for budding bentoist like me 🙂