Yuzu chicken and sushi bento box

Makes 2
2 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

Chicken with yuzu and sesame

  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of yuzu juice
  • 1/2 tsp togarashi
  • 1 little gem lettuce, 6 leaves only

Crab crystal rolls

  • 50g of white crab meat
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 5g of noodles, any thin glass variety
  • 2 asparagus spears
  • 1 little gem lettuce, 2 outer leaves only
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp of chopped chives
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 rice paper sheets

Tuna sashimi

  • 250g of tuna, sashimi-grade
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp of lime juice, plus extra wedges to serve
  • light soy sauce, for dipping

Salmon and avocado maki

  • 40g of salmon, very fresh, sushi-grade
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 300g of Japanese short grain rice
  • 2 sheets of nori seaweed, trimmed to 16cm x 19cm
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into 6 sticks each 9cm x 0.5cm
  • lime juice
  • soy sauce
  • wasabi paste

Vegetable maki

  • 2 sheets of nori seaweed, trimmed to 16cm x 19cm
  • 1 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
  • 8 fine beans
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 12 chives
  • 1 carrot, cut into 6 sticks each 9cm x 0.5cm
  • 120g of silken tofu
  • 3 tbsp of tahini
  • 1 bird's eye chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 10g of root ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp of groundnut oil

Pickled vegetables with seaweed and edamame

  • 1 handful of sea vegetables, dried
  • 3 tbsp of mirin
  • 3 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g of edamame, blanched if frozen
  • 1 carrot, shaved into thin strips
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 handful of radishes
  • 1 tbsp of pickled ginger, sliced

Cucumber, sesame and spring onion salad

  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and sliced into sticks
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1/2 bird's eye chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp of sesame seeds

Method

1
Begin with the chicken with yuzu and sesame as this will need time to marinate. Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, yuzu juice and togarashi in a bowl. Add the chicken thigh pieces, stir to coat, then cover and leave to marinate for 2–3 hours in the fridge
2
Before cooking, soak 6 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to high and line a grill pan with foil
3
Thread the marinated chicken onto the soaked skewers, leaving a little space between each piece. Cook under the hot grill, basting occasionally with the marinade until golden and sizzling. Allow to cool
4
Once cool, divide the lettuce leaves between each bento box to act as cups, then add the chicken skewers
5
For the crab rolls, place the crab meat in a bowl and mix in the lemon juice. Season with a little freshly ground black pepper then leave to one side
6
Cook the noodles as per packet instructions then drain and refresh in iced water
7
Bring a small pan of water to the boil over a medium heat. Add a pinch of salt then blanch the asparagus spears for 3 minutes until tender. Drain, cut in half lengthways then chill in iced water
8
Cut the thick stalks from the centre of the little gem lettuce leaves then tear in half
9
To prepare the rolls, have all the elements to hand along with a bowl of warm water. Lightly dampen a clean board so the wrappers don't stick
10
Dip a rice paper wrapper in the warm water, making sure it is wet all over but still firm. Lay it out flat on the board then scoop 1 tbsp of the crab meat and arrange in a strip down the middle of the rice paper
11
Sprinkle over half of the herbs and top with half the lettuce leaves, half the noodles and half the asparagus
12
Lift the top edge of the wrapper and fold it over the filling, tucking the edge underneath. Roll the wrapper towards you, folding in the sides as you go so that they are sealed inside and you end up with a long roll
13
Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make the second roll. Chill the rolls in the fridge until ready, then cut in half diagonally and divide the 4 rolls between 2 bento boxes
14
To make the tuna sashimi, use a very sharp knife to cut the fish into 0.5cm thick slices (or ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
15
Divide between the 2 bento boxes and scatter over the spring onions and sesame seeds. Combine the olive oil and lime juice to make a dressing and place in a sealed container
16
Place the soy sauce in a separate container and store with the extra lime wedges ready for serving
17
For the salmon and avocado maki, place the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Rest the sieve over a bowl and leave to drain for at least 15 minutes
18
Place the drained rice in a pan and add 180ml cold water. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and immediately reduce the heat to as low as possible to cook for a further 10 minutes
19
After this time remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes with the lid on. Tip 100g of the cooked rice into a bowl and leave to cool, reserving the rest for the vegetable maki
20
Peel and thinly slice the avocado then toss the slices in a squeeze of lime juice. Slice the salmon into strips, each about 6cm long
21
Lay a trimmed nori sheet out on a sushi mat and have all the other ingredients ready to hand along with a small bowl of warm water. Wet your fingers and press half the rice over the nori, leaving a 1cm border along the top edge
22
Place a strip of salmon along the edge of the rice nearest to you and cover with slices of avocado and cucumber. Lift the edge of the mat and use your thumbs to roll it away from you, holding the filling in place with your finger
23
Continue to lift the mat until the filled nori forms a tight roll. Dab a little water over the clear border and press to seal the edges. Trim off the ends with a sharp knife to neaten the edges then cut the roll into 6 pieces
24
Repeat with the remaining ingredients to create a second roll then divide the rolls between the bento boxes. Add a small container of soy sauce and wasabi paste for dipping
25
For the vegetable maki, lay a trimmed nori sheet out on the sushi mat and have the other ingredients to hand along with a small bowl of warm water
26
Wet your fingers and press half of the reserved rice from the salmon maki over the sheet. Sprinkle with half of the sesame seeds
27
Lay a sheet of cling film over another sushi mat and flip the rice-covered nori over onto the cling film, rice-side down (the rice is very sticky so should hold in place)
28
Now that the nori sheet is exposed on top, lay 2 pairs of the green beans side-by-side along the edge nearest you, then top with half the avocado, chives and carrot
29
Place the tofu, tahini, chilli, lemon juice, sugar, ginger, garlic, pepper, salt, water and oil in a blender and whizz to a smooth sauce. Spread ½ tsp over the vegetable filling (any leftover sauce will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks)
30
Lift the edge of the mat and use your thumbs to roll it away from you, holding the filling in place with your fingers. Continue to lift the mat and the cling film until it forms a tight roll. Dab a little water over the edge and press to seal
31
Trim the ends with a sharp knife then cut the roll into 6 pieces. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and divide the finished maki between the bento boxes, adding a little container of soy sauce and wasabi paste for dipping
32
To prepare the pickled vegetables, first soak the dried sea vegetables in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the mirin in a small pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the rice vinegar, sugar and salt and cook for 1 minute to dissolve. Pour into a large bowl to cool
33
Place the edamame beans in a bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for 3 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of iced water
34
Drain the sea vegetables and edamame beans and add to the mirin pickle with the remaining vegetables and pickled ginger. Mix well and leave to pickle in the fridge for at least 15 minutes, or alternatively overnight, before dividing between the boxes
35
For the cucumber salad, divide the cucumber sticks between the bento boxes and scatter over the spring onions. Whisk together the rice vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, chilli and salt in a bowl to form a dressing
36
Pour the dressing over the salads and garnish with the chopped coriander and sesame seeds
37
Keep the bento boxes in the fridge until ready to serve