In many parts of Asia, population density is high and the available school buildings are limited. Hence, the same facility is shared by two separate sessions, morning and afternoon to allow twice the number of classes available for the same school year. Children going to the morning session will start at 7:30am and end by 12:30pm while the afternoon school is from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. Given this schedule packed lunches are not necessary for school children. In contrast, children in the United States go to school for almost a full day. Thus, school lunches are a part of life here.
I have been packing lunches for my boys since those little feet started making their way to school. In fact, I really miss packing lunch for Ro-Taro who has gone out of state to college. The school lunch is my way of including a token of my love for them to carry to school. These lunches can range from a simple ham and cheese sandwich all the way to the most elaborate and decorative bentos.
This month’s theme for World on a Plate is BENTO. Our chief decided that it would be a good topic to coincide with the start of the school year here in the United States. I have decided to adapt a popular office breakfast from Malaysia and Singapore for this event. In keeping with its name, this is a simple and economic meal to prepare. It consists mainly of thin rice sticks or beehoon as it is known there, and vegetables. Despite its simplicity, this dish can be easily combined with an array of other foods like sausages and lunch meats. For additional flavor, most people add a dash of sweet chili sauce or ketchup into the mix. This dish does not require reheating and may be eaten at room temperature.
I have added some shredded egg for protein and color interest. Other possible additions may include fried tofu strips or spam. The lunchbox that I am using here is a super-size one for healthy teenage appetites. It is an insulated flask and keeps the lunch warm. I usually pack fruits in the top tier container so that they do not get stewed. For this bento, Ro-Jiro requested for some mooncakes as it is currently the Mid-Autumn festival.
- 6 oz (170g) beehoon (dried thin rice sticks)
- 2 eggs beaten plus ½ tsp soy sauce and a dash of pepper
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 oz (170g) bean sprouts, trimmed
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 red jalapeno chili, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp water
Soak beehoon (thin rice sticks) for 15 minutes or until soft. Combine eggs, soy sauce, and pepper in a bowl. Beat with a fork to get everything well mixed.
Heat a large non-stick fry pan with a teaspoon of oil. Pour egg mixture into pan. Swirl pan to get egg spread out as much as possible. Let egg cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip egg over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove, roll, and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
Add remaining 2 tablespoon of oil into pan. Saute garlic for a minute. Drain noodles and add it to the pan. Stir to spread it out.
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over noodles and give it a good stir to get noodles thoroughly coated with sauce. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
Mix in bean sprouts and continue to stir for another minute or so. Turn off heat and sprinkle egg strips, green onions, and red chilies over noodles.
Dish into plates and serve immediately.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!