Sea-Beans and Kimbap Bento

Today’s bento features an ingredient that I’ve never seen let alone cooked before!  “Sea-Beans”!

The texture  is what caught my eye!  Looks “stir-fry-able” and the vendor said that it could be done but “watch the salt” as these guys are naturally salty.  I nibbled a piece and yes…salty, but with a big crunch!  I’m not sure why they’re called Sea Beans as there’s nothing bean-like about them.  Maybe because of the “snap”… just like fresh green beans or peas!

And because of  it’s crispy texture I decided to prepare this using  Maki’s Classic Kinpira recipe .  However, the Sea Bean’s pack natural saltiness so I cut back on the soy sauce (only a few drops) just to capture the soy flavor.  I also embellished with sesame seeds.

They turned out tasty and I have plans to use it in other recipes soon!   The vendor said they’ll keep fresh for a few weeks if kept in the fridge in an airtight container.  I bought quite a bit so maybe I’ll attempt some Sea Bean pickles! 

This bento box lunch’s main course is kimbap?a common “hapa bento” item.  But the protein you see there is not.  Can you guess what it is?

Yup, it’s seitan and it’s from a batch that I made myself  “teriyaki” style!   It’s just the regular recipe/method but cooked  with teriyaki sauce before freezing.  For this bento, it’s sliced then pan-fried using the same skillet after removing the Sea Beans.

It almost looks like real meat!  What do you think?

Finally, there’s the ubiquitous cherry tomatoes for garnish.  I wish I could say they’re from my newly establish garden, but no, not yet. 

Anyway, there’s a lot going on in today’s bento.  Exotic Sea Beans and teriyaki seitan makes the kimbap seem kind of normal! :)

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