Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vegetable Pho in alt Bento

If you have any of these plastic takeout containers handy, they are perfect for packing soup or any other wet/noodle type bentos without worrying about spilling, making a mess, or having a microwaveable bento box.
 In this bento I have Vegetarian Pho (Thai Soup with Rice Noodles) It is most often seen with chicken and chicken broth, or beef. But I prefer the vegetable broth with vegetables and tofu. It is really easy to pack this bento, just do it in layers, rice noodles/vegetables/broth...
  • On the bottom I have about 1 cup Cooked Rice Noodles and some cooked Rrice (I had White Rice leftover so I added it in.)
  • Next I have the Steamed Vegetables and Tofu. I just added what I had handy (Tofu, Zucchini, Carrots, Shiitake Mushrooms, Bean Sprouts, Green Onion, etc.)
  • Finally, top with the Pho Broth (This is a Vegetarian Pho Broth, but you can use regular vegetable broth or to make Pho Ga use chicken broth and pieces of chicken.) You may think you'll need a lot of broth for such a big container, but you really don't use that much (see picture at bottom of page).
If you layer it like that you won't make a mess, but if you try to add vegetables and noodles to the broth you will end up splashing/overflowing the container.
To serve, just pop the lid to let steam escape, heat in the microwave, then stir the vegetables and noodles before eating with chopsticks. You can pack a spoon to eat the broth, but it may be difficult to use in the tall container. I just sip the broth from the container when done eating the vegetables and noodles.
Here's the amount of broth I ended up using (about 1 1/2 cups). It looks milky because of the rice I added to it, but if you don't add the extra rice like I did, the broth will be nice and clear and it will look pretty with the layers of noodles, mixed vegetables, and broth.

This is a great way to pack other kinds of soups as well as pasta with sauce, or even make a simple soboro bento and layer the rice, meat, and egg. Don't forget to add vegetables for nutrition and color!
So next time you get one of these plastic takeout containers, instead of tossing it in your recycling bin, wash it out and save it for an alternative bento container.

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