Chef Shannon Hayashi

A bento box is a Japanese meal simply and beautifully packed in a lunch box

By Chef Shannon Hayashi

A means of healthy food and lifestyle choices, a bento box is a Japanese meal simply and beautifully packed in a lunch box.  Although they will always be rooted in Japanese history and culture, bento boxes have transcended national boundaries and evolved into food creations with elaborate or simple aesthetically pleasing arrangements.  This bento box menu is designed for a four-compartment box.

• Black Cod with Teriyaki Sauce

• Cucumber Salad

• Rice with Furikake

• Sliced Orange Segments

Rice with Furikake

• 1 cup short grain rice

• 1 1/2 cup water

• Furikake (dry Japanese seasoning)

Wash and rinse the rice at least 3 times. Place in pot with the water. Cover and bring to a boil.

Simmer for 18 minutes. Do not lift the lid for 10 minutes. Sprinkle rice with furikake seasoning.

Cucumber Salad

• 1 English cucumber (thinly sliced, 1/32”)

• 1 oz. rice wine vinegar

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. black sesame seeds

Slice the cucumbers. Soak in the vinegar, sugar and salt for 20 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Garnish with black sesame seeds.

Black Cod with Teriyaki Sauce

• 4 oz. soy sauce

• 3 oz. sugar

• 1/2-inch piece of ginger (fresh)

• 4 oz. black cod

• 1/2 cup shredded cabbage

Combine the soy sauce, sugar and ginger in a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until 50 percent of the sauce has reduced. Set aside and cool.

Place the black cod filet under the broiler and broil for 6 minutes. Brush with teriyaki sauce and finish under the broiler for another 2 minutes.

Note:  Black cod is also known as sablefish or butterfish. It is harvested from the waters of Alaska and is managed under the Individual Fishing Quota system.  With 95 percent of the catch exported to Japan, black cod has become a high-end treat in North America as an alternative to Chilean sea bass. Black cod is rich in heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Locally, you can find black cod (Miso Butterfish) on the menu at Stillwater Fish House in Whitefish, and you can purchase it from Flathead Fish and Seafood Company in Columbia Falls.

Chef Shannon Hayashi, M.Ed., Ed.D., is the culinary arts program director at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit

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