A bento snacking box with sashimi.

How to Make a Lacto-Fermented Kinpira Bento Box

Arrange your sushi restaurant favorites into a bento box. This innovative compilation incorporates ferments and familiar flavors that are both nourishing and delicious. A range of color, flavor and lively fermented notes work together to create an unparalleled bite.

Put your own spin on your bento box by adding rice crackers, pickled ginger, avocado, cucumbers, spicy mayo or steamed rice. Utilize your favorite seafood, or even keep it plant-based with marinated mushrooms or eggplant. The possibilities are limitless.

Related:  Chef Maya's Elevated Sushi Bake Recipe

What's Good to Know with Chef Olivia:

  • Turn any snacking bento box leftovers into a flavorful stir-fry. The shredded vegetable kinpira does especially well sauteed in a bit of sesame oil.
  • If you don't have access to sashimi-grade fish, feel free to cook a piece of fish with a miso glaze, or opt for cooked shrimp or a few widely beloved crabsticks known as surimi.
  • Do not leave raw fish out for an extended amount of time. It is recommended to consume your bento snacking box as soon as it is assembled.
  • Add some wasabi paste when fermenting your kimpira to give it a kick, or massage a coin-sized amount into the fermented vegetables before serving.
  • Serve any extra components over mixed greens for a fun take on a poke bowl.


Lacto-Fermented Kinpira Bento Snacking Box
Yield: 2 servings


For the Lacto-Fermented Kinpira: 
Yield: 1 quart-sized jar

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 burdock root, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 teaspoons cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • water, to cover

For Bento Snacking Box Assembly:
Yield: 2 servings

  • 8 nori sheets, cut into quarters
  • 2 cups steamed shelled edamame
  • 8 ounces sliced sashimi-grade salmon
  • 2 cups lacto-fermented kinpira
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, to serve
  • 2 teaspoons hot sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 8 shiso leaves (optional)


For the Lacto-Fermented Kinpira:

  1. Add cut carrots and burdock to a medium bowl.
  2. Massage with sugar, miso paste and sea salt. 
  3. Incorporate in the rice vinegar.
  4. Pack ingredients into a sterilized, quart-sized glass jar along with any liquid generated during the massaging process.
  5. Cover with water until it reaches the lower jar rim.
  6. Fasten an airlock lid and label jar with dates and contents.  
  7. Ferment at room temperature for 5 to 7 days. 
  8. Store in refrigerator for extended storage.

For Bento Snacking Box Assembly:

  1. Arrange nori sheets, steamed edamame, salmon slices, kinpira and soy sauce in a bento box or on a serving platter.
  2. Drizzle kinpira with hot sesame oil for a spicier finish (optional).
  3. Garnish with sesame seeds, sliced scallions and shiso leaves.
  4. Arrange salmon slice on nori sheet and top with kinpira, edamame and shiso leaves (if using).
  5. Dip in soy sauce before consuming.

More Fermented Recipes by Chef Olivia:

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