|Tried making a pork-chop train bento at home. This recipe serves four. Feel free to add your own flourishes, like a floret or two of cooked broccoli or some tofu.|
For the pork chop:
4 boneless pork chops
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2.5 tablespoons regular soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon Chinese five spice
Sweet potato starch (or cornstarch, in a pinch)
For the braised eggs:
(Recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
4 peeled hard-boiled eggs
3 cups water
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
You’ll also need:
4 portions of cooked white rice
Sides of your choice:
sauteed greens like mustard greens, kale, spinach, cabbage
1. On a sturdy cutting board or countertop, lay down a piece of plastic wrap. Set the pork chops on top, and cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Then, pound the pork chops until they are thin and flat.
2. In a bowl or a plastic bag, add the garlic, star anise, pepper, five-spice, water, soy sauce, and rice wine. Then, add the flattened pork chops, making sure to cover them on all sides. Marinate for at least two hours, or even overnight.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the braised eggs. Add the water, soy sauces, sugar, star anise, and cinnamon stick to a pot. Let the mixture boil for at least 10 minutes, and make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Gently add in the eggs, and allow them to simmer for 5 minutes. Cover the pot, take it off the heat, and let the eggs soak, at least for an hour. The longer they soak, the richer the color and deeper the flavor.
4. To assemble your lunchboxes, heat up a large frying pan and coat it with oil. Rub both sides of each chop with the starch, and add them two at a time to the pan. Cook for three minutes on one side, and one to two minutes on the other, making sure to slice into one of the chops to check for doneness.
5. Then, assemble the bentos. Fill four lunchboxes (or plates) halfway with cooked white rice. Lay a pork chop in each one, as well as an egg sliced in half. Tuck your garnishes around the chop and egg. The bentos can be eaten right away or after a few hours on the go.
Recipe from Gastro Obscura