Easy Salmon Bento Box Recipe

It’s time to throw away those Lunchables.

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Aug 2 2018, 1:00pm

Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Servings: 4
Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

for the soy-cured eggs:
4 large eggs
1/2 cup|125 ml soy sauce
1 cup water

for the pickled vegetables:
2 Japanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
2-3 Japanese eggplant, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt

for the sharizu:
1 cup|250 ml rice vinegar
2/3 cup|160 ml brown rice vinegar
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt

for the rice:
1 cup|200 grams short grain Japanese rice
2 tablespoons sharizu
3 rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons Hijiki seaweed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Arima sansho peppercorns
4 seasoned inariage tofu pockets

for the bento box:
4 (1-ounce) pieces salmon
4 (1-ounce) pieces salmon belly
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
12 shishito peppers, blistered
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
shiso leaves
edible flowers (optional)
24 snap peas

Directions

1. Cure the eggs: Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Gently drop in the eggs and cook for 7 1/2 minutes. Drain, then immediately place the eggs in a bowl of ice water until cold, then peel the eggs. Place the soy sauce and 1 cup water in a large bowl and add the eggs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. When ready to serve, halve the eggs lengthwise. The eggs can be kept, refrigerated in the cure, for up to 1 week.

2. Make the sharizu: Blend all ingredients together until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Sharizu will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 year.

3. Make the rice: Wash rice in cold running water until the water runs clear, about 5 times. Allow to thoroughly drain. Cook with 1 ¼ cup cold water in rice cooker. Season cooked rice (about 2 cups) with sharizu by “cutting” the rice with the shamoji (rice paddle). Reserve half of the cooked rice for stuffing inari. Cook dried hijiki seaweed in 1 cup of water seasoned with soy sauce until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Dice shiitake mushrooms. Mix ingredients into remaining half of the rice with the same “cutting” motion. Form rice balls: Lightly wet hands with water, sprinkle salt onto wet hands and form mixed rice into small triangles, making sure to apply firm and even pressure when turning in hands. Set aside. Form remaining white rice into small ovals and stuff into inari pockets, tucking the open ends closed around the rice.

4. Pickle the vegetables: Place the eggplant and cucumbers in a large bowl and toss gently with the sugar and salt. Let sit for 30 minutes, then, working in batches and using your hands, squeeze the liquid from the vegetables into a clean bowl or over the sink, and place the squeezed vegetables into a new bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The pickled vegetables will keep, refrigerated, for four days.

5. Cook the salmon: Lightly cure the fish by sprinkling salt and sugar on the pieces of salmon and allowing to sit for 30 minutes. Lightly rinse with cold water and thoroughly dry with a paper towel. Broil salmon, turning once, until cooked through. Allow to cool.

6. Assemble the bento box: Arrange all ingredients according to your taste and style into the individual bento boxes.