Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Indian Bento and Taste of Sonoma

Leftovers and Tasty Bite made this bento possible. I just finished reading a great memoir/cookbook by Shoba Narayan called Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes. It made me hungry every time I opened the book to read a chapter. Shoba writes honestly and humorously about her family and her neighbors (and herself) in this book, recalling her childhood, teen years, move to America and eventual wedding. At the end of each chapter is a recipe that pertains to what happened. It's really well written and I recommend it highly! Of course, after reading stories about dal, idilis, rasam, curry, and chutneys I was ravenously hungry for Indian food. Short on time, I resorted to prepackaged Tasty Bite lentils. I know, I know, but I did make my own cardamom and clove scented rice pilaf.

In this bento: a green zebra heirloom tomato from The Patch, cherry tomatoes from Triple T Ranch and Ridgeview Farms, radish slices and apple slices from Ridgeview Farms, cucumber from Crescent Moon Farms, a silicone cup filled with lentils (Tasty Bite!) topped with basil from Triple T Ranch and homemade rice pilaf with a bit of black sesame seeds.

Recipe for Cardamom and Clove Scented Rice Pilaf
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/2 cup jasmine rice
2 cardamom pods
3 cloves
1 1/4 cup water

In a pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, rice, cardamom pods, and cloves. Cook and stir for about 2 or three minutes until fragrant. Add water, turn up heat and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove lid, fluff and recover for 5 minutes off heat. Makes enough for 3 or 4 servings. Top with minced cilantro and chopped tomatoes if desired.

This past weekend was super fun with a great visit to MacMurray Ranch, site of the 2010 Taste of Sonoma. Here is a video of the amazing food, wine, and atmosphere that I enjoyed at the event.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.


  1. Cardamom and clove scented rice pilaf sounds positively aromatically delicious. I love Indian food! Hope my kids come around to the spices soon too :) Lovely bento!

  2. It's pretty mild pilaf. I bet your boy would like it, and maybe even your daughter. I want to just gorge myself on tandoor chicken and naan! :)

  3. Love love aromatic food! I might try your pilaf soon ^_^. Cardamom is used in sweet bakery here, might try it differently from the usual .
    Very colorful veggies... *jealous* :)

  4. Indian foods always so rich in spices ... Very savory! Great choice to put in your bento. Always love your fruits and veggies section :)

  5. Oh I love Indian food!!! Gorgeous bento and the scented rice sounds wonderful. :)

  6. Your Indian cooking sounds heaven, I even can imagine the perfect combination of that sauce in the purple cup with the rice, yum! Btw, I thought your green zebra heirloom tomato is a green eggplant :D

  7. Thanks karaimame! I like the way the cardamom is so subtle in the rice. Be sure to remove it and not eat it with the rice. I forgot to add that part to the recipe. :)

  8. Thanks Lia! I need to cook Indian food more often, it has so many great flavors.

  9. Hi Susan! The rice is really easy to make, and the clove and cardamom add a lovely hint of perfume to the rice.

  10. Thanks tatabonita! It was a really tasty combo. The tomato does kind of look like an eggplant, right? :) I need to try some eggplant this summer before the season is over.

  11. I love Indian food too and your bento is full of spice and elegant sizzle...love the radish slice and baby tomato colors together, they sing of summer!

  12. Thanks bentobird! I wish I had put more Indian treats in here like naan and curry. YUM!