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Wing Yip Bento Box Lunches Inspires Parents

Parents tearing their hair out in frustration trying to find packed lunches that fussy children will eat can take inspiration from Asia. Mums and dads seeking healthy, tasty lunches that kids will love can try bento boxes, a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine and across the Far East.

A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. In China the equivalent is called biantan, while the Philippines, Korea and India all have their own regional variations.

Although bento is often purchased from shops, like sandwiches in the UK, it is still common for Japanese parents to make their families a carefully-prepared lunch box.

Part of the appeal of bento is that it can be very elaborately arranged in a style called character bento – ‘kyaraben’.

‘Kyaraben’ is typically decorated to look like popular characters from comic books, animation or video games. Similarly, there is ‘oekakiben’, or picture bento, which is decorated to look like anything the chef chooses, from insects to whole planets. There are even competitions for the most artistic and painstaking bento boxes.

However, most of us don’t have time for elaborate creations, so Wing Yip has provided a couple of easier recipes for parents or kids to enjoy.

Mr Wing Yip, the chairman of Wing Yip Supermarket, said: “These boxed lunches are a brilliant way of sparking children’s interest in food and introducing variety into their diet. “They are also great for adults – much more enjoyable than a pre-packaged sandwich at the desk!”

Here are two additional recipes from Wing Yip 

 Chicken Teriyaki

Serve with rice and steamed pak choi.

Ingredients

·         2 tsp Yeo’s Hot Chilli Sauce (available from Wing Yip)

·         4 tbsp clear honey

·         4 tbsp Wing Yip Pure Sesame Oil

·         4 tbsp Wing Yip Dark Soy Sauce

·         4 chicken thighs, bone removed, sliced

·         1 tbsp vegetable oil

·         knob of butter

Preparation

1.       Place the Hot Chilli sauce, honey, sesame oil and soy sauce into a bowl and mix well. Place the chicken slices into the bowl, stir well to coat and leave to marinate for five minutes.

2.       Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. Remove the chicken slices from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until completely cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover to keep warm.

3.       Pour the marinade into the pan and boil rapidly for a few minutes until slightly reduced. Add the butter and whisk until the sauce becomes glossy.

4.       To serve, place the chicken slices onto a plate and pour over the sauce from the pan.

Leave to cool before putting in the bento box or plastic container.

 Beef with Mange Tout

 Serve with rice or noodles.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
  • 2 cups mange tout, chopped
  • 3 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tsp water
  • 3 cups water (for blanching)
  • Sauce
  • 2 tsp Wing Yip Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tsp Rice Wine
  • 1 tbsp Wing Yip Soy Sauce
  • ½ beef cube dissolved in ½ cup water

 Marinade

  • 2 tsp Wing Yip Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

 Preparation

  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl then marinate the beef for at least 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and stir well. Set aside
  3. Pour the water in a cooking pot and let boil.
  4. Blanch the mange tout for a minute.
  5. Remove the mange tout from the cooking pot and soak in ice water for 10 to 20 seconds then drain excess water. Set aside
  6. Apply high heat on a wok or a frying pan then pour-in cooking oil when the pan is really hot.
  7. Put-in the beef and arrange so that all the slices directly touches the pan. Allow to cook for a minute.
  8. Flip the beef and allow the other side to cook then put-in the garlic and cook for a minute.
  9. Pour-in the sauce and bring to a boil.
  10. Add the broccoli and cook for a minute.
  11. Stir-in the cornstarch (diluted in water) and cook until the sauce thickens.

 Leave to cool before putting in the bento box or plastic container.

Wing Yip fact file

 -        Mr Wing Yip arrived from Hong Kong in 1959 and has since become one of the UK’s most successful Chinese businessmen.

 ·         Eighteen months later Wing and business partners opened their first Chinese restaurant in Clacton-on-Sea. Due to its success, this was quickly followed by the opening of two other restaurants and one takeaway in East Anglia.

 ·         In 1970 Wing Yip and his brother Sammy opened their first specialist Chinese grocer in the heartland of Birmingham to supply Chinese products to local Chinese families, restaurants and takeaways.

 ·         Now, Wing Yip has four superstores in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood (London) and Croydon which are landmarks in their local communities. Two further stores are planned for Cardiff and Nottingham.

 ·         Mr Wing Yip founded the W Wing Yip & Brothers Bursaries to encourage and provide financial assistance to students of Chinese origin, local and from overseas, to complete their studies in the United Kingdom.  Since it was established over 300 bursaries have been granted plus 30 scholarships for students from China to study at Churchill College, Cambridge.

 ·         Wing Yip imports directly from the Far East, with each store stocking more than 3,000 authentic Pan-Asian foods and products.

 ·         The centre of Birmingham hosts a Chinese pagoda, a gift from Wing Yip and his brothers as a thank you to the city which enabled their business to become so successful. The pagoda is hand carved from solid granite and stands 40 ft high. Created in China, it was shipped over to the UK in sections and assembled on site.

 ·         In 2008 Mr Wing Yip was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University.

 ·         2010 was a successful year for leading Oriental grocer Wing Yip. The year commenced with Mr Wing Yip being awarded an OBE for services to the Oriental food industry in the New Year Honours List, shortly followed by Mr Wing Yip receiving a lifetime achievement award at the World Food Awards.

 ·         In 2012 Mr Wing Yip was awarded Honorary Doctorate from Aston University.

Some more articles from Nee Hao

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