Easy 15 min Japanese bento namuru recipe

Namuru in Japanese or Namul, the Korean version, incorporates many types of vegetables, roots. For the most part, vegetables are blanched before being seasoned, but this can also vary depending on the ingredients being used. Seasonings include sesame oil, vinegar, garlic and sesame seeds.
The Japanese bean sprout namuru is milder than its Korean counterpart, minus the garlic from its contents. I love garlic, but it’s a no-no with my kids and they seem to prefer it without because I do this for bentos practically every week. I also use the quickest and shortest-cut and fewest ingredients recipe, with the three veggies that my kids will eat – beansprouts, spinach or komatsuna greens and carrots, that you see in the photo.

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BEAN SPROUT NAMURU

4 servings
Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 5 min
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INGREDIENTS
400 grams/1 pkt bean spouts or soy bean sprouts / 1 pkt green spinach / 1/2 or 1 carrot sliced finely …and use the following for each veggie lot or increase proportionately. (I blanch-boil the sprouts first, no more than 2 mins, remove, then add the carrots cook 3 mins or more till soft and remove, add spinach to pot, 30 secs to 1 mins, and remove boil. Season according to the recipe below in between the batches.
Repeat the following steps for each batch. (See second recipe below if you like garlic.)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ra-yu (chili oil)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp dashi flavoring (I use aji-dashi granules ever since one of the famous 3 chefs said it gives the best umami flavor, it’s worth hunting for it, but most websites recommend hondashi)
2-3 tbsp ground roasted sesame seeds

METHOD
1. Put 8 cups of water into a pot and add salt. Bring to boil.
2. Grind sesame seeds, or buy ready ground fine sesame.
3. Rinse sprouts and blanch them for two minutes in boiling water. Drain sprouts in a colander.
4. Place sprouts in a bowl and dress with the la-yu, sesame oil, dashi flavoring and sesame seeds.
It’s best to dress the sprouts when they are warm so that the oils and flavoring saturate the sprouts evenly.
Namuru is a dish that can be made in 15 minutes with little effort (as long as you have ground sesame seeds). A little bit of namuru will give you a lot of flavor especially if you add a lot of chili oil. (DD doesnt like it spicy, so I add very little, and DS and I add more after.

***Tip: It used to be hit-and-miss with my namuru until I remembered to do this. I don’t see other recipes doing it, but this is my secret for not having soggy veggies, don’t overcook, and I press all the veggies between colanders ( i used to press them between two plates) to remove excess water. Find it makes the world of difference. Some recipes use soy sauce, but my recipe is the mildest of all. You can use the supermarket ready “namuru tare” too, and have a great effect, if you follow the blanch-boil, drain, squeeze between the colander steps, and then just mix with the supermarket tare. Add more salt to the boiling water or to taste, if you want it more flavorful, but I am going on a low-salt diet myself.
… My recipe ends here…
This next recipe is from http://justbento.com/handbook/recipes-sides-and-fillers/spring-greens-namul-namuru

I make namul with all kinds of vegetables, including the most commonly used one, bean sprouts. But at this time of year I like to make it with brightly colored spring greens. The toasty sesame oil dressing is a perfect foil to the bitterness of many of these greens. Here I’ve used three kinds of greens that are easily available to me, but do use whatever you have around where you live. I’ve used the dark green, mildly bitter leaves of a puntarelle or catalogna (which I used to think was cima de rapa), spinach leaves, and lamb’s lettuce (also known asmâche – see more about ithere). If I were in Japan at this time of year I’d use spinach, nanohana, and maybe some komatsuna. I’ve listed some green vegetables that would work below.
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Recipe: Spring greens namul (namuru)
2 cups or so of cooked or blanched greens (the uncooked amount depends on what kind of greens you’re using, but in my case I had a small head of puntarelle, about 200 g / 7 oz of spinach, and a big handful of lamb’s lettuce)
1 1/2 Tbs. dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
1 large garlic clove (see ‘etiquette’ notes!)
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
Optional: pinch of sugar
Optional: chili oil (ra-yu)

You can use one kind of green leafy vegetable or several. Wash the leaves well to get rid of any grit and so on. If the leaves have stalky parts, cut them off and slice thinly (as I did here with the puntarelle leaves). Cut the leaves up if necessary.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Put in the leafy parts that take the longest to cook first – in my case I put the puntarelle stems in first. Boil for about 2-3 minutes, then put in the rest. Boil for about 2 minutes or just until the leaves are limp, but not turning into mush! (For tender baby spinach leaves for instance you only need to boil them about 30 seconds.)

Drain well Return to the pot and add cold water, to refresh and cool them. Drain again and squeeze out the moisture well.

Grate the garlic clove on a fine grater, or smash it to a pulp with a knife, or pass it through a garlic press. Mix with the salt and oil. Mix into the well drained and squeezed out greens very well – your hands are the best tools for this. Mix in the sesame seeds. Taste, and adjust the seasoning: if it’s not salty enough, add a little salt; if the greens are bit too bitter for you, add a little bit of sugar. If you want it spicy, add a few drops of chili oil.

You can make this ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days, though no longer – think of it as a salad. Of course it’s better with the garlic… but not for school bento. Mixing the grated or mashed garlic with salt does lessen the impact slightly.

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