This month it’s back to school and, following the end of Ramadan, back to lunching. While Dubai’s children are getting ready to don their uniforms, the minds of parents will be turning to the daily challenge of preparing a fresh, healthy and tasty lunch for their brood.
Yet what of the parents’ lunches? If you’re returning to lunching in the office after a month of fasting, the novelty of eating the same old soups, salads and sandwiches will soon wear off. Looking for something more unusual to feast on during your lunch hour? As part of our hunt for lunch-box inspiration, we asked some of the city’s top restaurants to devise recipes for some healthy, tasty packed lunches to help you dine in style.
Okku’s Japanese bento box
A bento is essentially a traditional Japanese lunch box, featuring multiple compartments to allow diners to sample a variety of dishes. Typical foods contained in a bento box include rice with fish or meat, plus pickled or cooked vegetables. Okku’s elegant mix of teriyaki salmon, Japanese-style salad and stir-fried noodles makes the perfect portable lunch, because although noodles and salmon can be heated up, they also taste great cold.
Okku, The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8777).
80g fresh salmon
1g white pepper
1 lettuce leaf
For the teriyaki sauce
100ml soy sauce
150ml non-alcoholic mirin
100ml chicken Stock
1 Place the teriyaki sauce ingredients in a pan and heat until the mixture has reduced by half. You can thicken the sauce further by adding cornflour (5g) and cold water (10ml).
2 Season the salmon with the white pepper and salt. Grill to preferred temperature. Rest and slice.
3 Place the lettuce leaves in the bento box. Place the salmon on top and pour the teriyaki sauce over it, making sure it is completely covered.
Salad with carrot and ginger dressing
70g iceberg lettuce
20g white cabbage, sliced thinly
10g purple cabbage, sliced thinly
45g tomato, cut into wedges
5g carrot, sliced thinly
For the carrot/ginger dressing
30ml soy sauce
10ml non-alcoholic mirin
30ml rice vinegar
6ml lemon juice
15ml vegetable oil
5ml sesame oil
1.5g ginger, finely grated
5g garlic, finely grated
2g carrot, finely grated
A pinch of black pepper
1 Combine all dressing ingredients, whizz in a blender and refrigerate.
2 Mix the ingredients for the salad together and toss with the dressing.
75g udon noodles (dry)
5g red pepper, sliced thinly
5g yellow pepper, sliced thinly
5g green pepper, sliced thinly
10g carrot, sliced thickly
10g white onion, sliced thickly
5g spring onion, sliced thinly
10g bean sprouts
15ml sesame oil
45ml vegetable oil
15ml soy sauce
15ml dark soy sauce
A pinch of white pepper
A pinch of salt
5ml white vinegar
1 Add the udon to a pan of boiling water, bring to the boil again and cook for just under ten minutes.
2 Drain the noodles, toss them with sesame oil and set aside.
3 Add the oil to a hot pan and sauté the veg. When they are al dente, add a little hot water to the pan.
4 Add the noodles, the soy sauce, white pepper and salt.
5 Allow the ingredients to combine, and the sauce to coat the noodles and veg. Remove from the heat and add the white vinegar.