Serves 2 to 3
You often see a pinch of black rice added to white rice in Japanese home cooking, which gives it a soft lilac tint with a slightly smoky flavor and chewy texture. The more black rice you add, the more dramatic the effect. Cooking 100 percent black is a little intense in flavor for everyday use, I think (not to mention pricey), so I like to mix anything from a handful of black (for this lilac rice) to half-half (for deep purple rice), getting a lot of color out of one bag of black rice!
This richly hued lilac rice can be made with brown short-grain rice too, as I’ve done here!
Combine brown and black rice in medium pot. Pour plenty of boiling water (any amount) over rice directly in cooking pot, cover, and let soak for 20 minutes.
Drain off soaking water, add measured water for cooking, replace lid, and bring to a boil.
Simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and, without removing lid, let rest for 10 minutes before using.
Let cool before packing in bento (unless using in onigirazu) and/or storage container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
This recipe is part of the These Bento Box Recipes Will Take Your Workday Lunches From “Meh” to Marvelous collection.
These mildly spiced salmon tacos served with sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds will bring a party together. Make a small quantity of salmon go further when you pair it with a fresh red cabbage slaw featuring citrus and cilantro. Drizzled with some bright lime yogurt, the flavours come together perfectly. Sustainability status Wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are considered among the most sustainable, as the fishery is subject to limited harvests. With salmon stocks in decline, supporting managed fisheries such as these can help maintain populations into the future. That may also mean eating salmon less often than we do now. Salmon is a favourite Salmon is the most popular variety of fish in Canada and the second most popular in the US.
B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.
The delicate flavour of shrimp is highlighted with just a touch of lemon and a hint of mustard, while radish and celery give some fresh crunch to this dish. Eat it in lettuce cups, on top of greens, or served on whole grain bread for a filling snack. Sustainability status Both wild and farmed shrimp can be sustainable depending on where they’re caught and how they’re raised. See our article “Sea Change” for more information about choosing ethical shrimp.
Steaming fish in parchment-paper packets, also known as cooking en papillote , is a classic technique that allows you to cook all your vegetables and fish at the same time in a quick, easy, and convenient way. Flavours of lemon, garlic, and spicy dried chili make this a simple, yet showstopping meal. Sustainability status Wild-caught Pacific halibut has Ocean Wise and Marine Stewardship Council certifications and is fished using longlines, which is a more selective method of fishing that results in less bycatch. Prep party Involve family or guests in the prep and have everyone make their own packet. Once you’ve mastered the technique, it’s easy to change up the ingredients. Make sure you select vegetables that will cook at the same rate as the fish.