nother favorite in New Year’s Bento boxes is a Spinach Roll. Similar to the Spinah Goma Ae that’s s popular in Japanese cooking. But a notch more advanced. Also, a bit more salty and sweet, like most Osechi dishes.
Osechi Ryoori お節料理 / A Spinach Roll for Bento
1½ tablespoons White Sesame seeds
2½ tablespoons Soy Sauce, plus½ tablespoon more Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 pound fresh Spinach, preferably long-stem
1 – 2 pinches Salt
First toast the Sesame Seeds in a small dry skillet until they begin to brown and release their aroma. Be careful, as it burns easily. Set it aside for use in a little while.
Boil the Spinach in a small amount of boiling Water for 2 to 3 minutes, only 2 minutes if the Spinach is fairly tender. Drain the Spinach, rinse with cold Water and drain again. Sprinkle with the half tablespoon of Soy Sauce and let it drain fully.
To finish the dish, put the Spinach leaves in a bamboo Sudare such as is used for making Suishi, and squeeze out all the excess Water and moisture. This will create one or two ropes of Spinach/ Lay these Spinach ropes on a cutting board, just as if you were making Spinach Goma Ae.
Take the 2½ tablespoons of Soy Sauce and the teaspoon of Sugar and put these in a deep plate.
Using a very sharp knife, but the Spinach rope into sections about an inch and a half long. Instead of keeping these horizontal, as with Spinach Goma Ae, put the individual mall Spinach rolls into the plate with the Soy Sauce and Sugar mixture and let them stand for a few minutes, until you are ready to pack them. They will absorb or draw up some of the Soy Sauce-Sugar flavor mixture.
When ready to serve the Spinach Rolls, remove them from the deep plate one by one, shaking off any excess liquid, and stand them vertically in one of the trays of a Bento box. The side that was in the deep plate should be on the bottom.
To finish the dish, put a pinch of the toasted Sesame Seeds on top of each mini Spinach roll . The flavor is savory and delicate but more intense than the Spinach rolls made at other times of the year. Of course, you can make them at other seasons as well if you like.