Homemade Bento Bowl

A really colourful dinner!

So Singapore announced a partial lockdown for Tuesday. What completely confused me was the number of people who went out and congregated in advance of the lockdown! I saw people posting their “last” favorite meals, and inexplicably there was a snaking queue outside IKEA. What furniture you need for a lockdown I have seriously no idea. Actually I did entertain 2 seconds’ thought about whether to go as my teaspoons appear to have run away again ( I think people in the home drop them into the trash by accident?) but I’m glad I didn’t in the end when I saw pictures of the crowd. In the end I bought a couple of teaspoons off AliExpress. Done. No need to go out.

Kid#1 has moved his stuff back from residential college. They all had to move out except for the international students who couldn’t go back to their home countries. Of course I was slightly horrified at how much STUFF he had…way more than could be stashed in his man cave. So now, great, we have to navigate the obstacle course of giant bags and piles of stuff in the home for the next couple of weeks. Plus having to factor in someone who snacks enough for 3 people. But truth to tell it’s nice to have him back home for a while. He also keeps the dog moderately entertained.

Anyway because I have oldies at home, it was a no brainer to stay home and cook at home for the weekend. I was scratching my head about how to keep everyone happy. It’s the usual conundrum – hubs doesn’t eat pork, kid#1 doesn’t eat seafood, kid#2 doesn’t eat spicy. But I had a few tuna steaks that I wanted to cook badly. So in the end I decided to make an eclectic bunch of things and put it together like a bento bowl or some kind of grain bowl that you see in health food takeaways.

I had the thought in mind to get kid#2 to get into cooking in this lockdown season. And she was actually amenable to the idea. But then she fell asleep for her afternoon nap and so I ended up chopping and dicing on my own. Still I think this bento bowl was easy to put together and so I’m just going to describe how I made the seared tuna steak and the pan fried chicken. The family really liked the chicken – I think it was the crusty lightly burned bits on the outside but with tender meat on the inside that was so good.

Homemade Bento Bowl

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A fresh, light, takeout-inspired meal that is great for a light lunch or dinner.


    Seared Tuna Steaks
  • 3-4 pieces of tuna steaks
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Pan-fried Chicken

  • 2 pieces of chicken breast
  • 1 small 2 cm knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp chinese cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • Roasted vegetables

  • 1 zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 200g pumpkin, cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • Other bento bowl ingredients (optional)

  • salad greens
  • soy bean sprouts
  • edamame beans
  • avocado
  • tomatoes
  • cauliflower rice
  • pistachio nuts or sliced almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Toss the pumpkin, red bell pepper, zucchini, olive oil and seasoning together. Roast for 45 minutes in the oven, stirring up the vegetables half way through. When done, remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Place the tuna steaks on a plate and sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the steaks and leave to marinate for 10 minutes in the fridge. Press in the sesame seeds on both sides of each tuna steak. Heat up the oil and butter at medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Carefully place the steaks on the pan, using tongs to hold the sides of the steak, then sear for 1.5 minutes each side. Remove from the pan and let the steaks rest on a cutting board. Slice carefully and plate.
  3. Marinate the chicken with the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, cooking wine, salt and pepper. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for 20 minutes. Heat up the oil in a skillet over moderate high heat. Place the chicken in the pan and sear about 3-4 minutes a side. The doneness of the chicken can be gauged by the fact that the meat feels firmer when prodded.
  4. Prepare the other ingredients. The soy bean sprouts and shelled edamame beans were blanched for 1-2 minutes with hot water. Cauliflower rice was stir fried with some aromatics like minced garlic and onion.
  5. Arrange the ingredients in a bowl. I put the cauliflower rice in the center and placed the different cooked and raw vegetables around the rice, and arranged a few slices of chicken and tuna on top of the rice. The nuts can also be scattered on top.
  6. 6.Serve with a little sesame salad dressing on the side.


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