Classic Taiwanese Lu Rou Fan: Braised Pork Belly Rice Bowl

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Lu Rou Fan, literally translated to “Braised Pork Rice,” is a cornerstone of Taiwanese cuisine. This deceptively simple dish offers an explosion of savory flavors, making it a beloved comfort food for locals and a must-try for adventurous eaters. The melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly sits atop a bed of fluffy white rice, often accompanied by a perfectly seasoned hard-boiled egg and refreshing pickled vegetables. Let’s embark on a delicious journey by creating this iconic dish in your own kitchen!

Ingredients:

Lu Rou Fan (Taiwanese Pork Rice Bowl, 卤肉饭)
Lu Rou Fan (Taiwanese Pork Rice Bowl, 卤肉饭)

1 pound bone-in pork belly, cut into 2-inch squares

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rock sugar (optional)
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (about 3 inches each)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes (optional)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Blanch the Pork Belly: In a large pot, bring enough water to a boil. Carefully add the pork belly pieces and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the pork belly under cold running water to remove any impurities. Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels.

    2. Caramelize the Sugar: In a clean pot, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the rock sugar (if using) and cook until it melts and caramelizes to a deep amber color. Be careful not to burn the sugar.

    3. Combine the Ingredients: Add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon sticks, garlic, green onions, and 3 cups of water to the caramelized sugar. Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer.

    4. Braise the Pork Belly: Add the blanched pork belly pieces to the pot. If using, add the soaked shiitake mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Gently stir to ensure all the pork pieces are coated in the braising liquid. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least 1.5 hours, or until the pork belly is tender and practically falling off the bone. Occasionally turn the pork belly pieces for even cooking.

    5. Adjust the Flavor (Optional): After 1.5 hours, taste the braising liquid. If it’s not flavorful enough, add a little more soy sauce or brown sugar to your preference.

    6. Thicken the Sauce (Optional): If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the pork belly pieces and some of the green onions to a plate. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer the remaining braising liquid until it reduces and thickens slightly.

    7. Assemble and Serve: Spoon the fluffy white rice into individual bowls. Top with the braised pork belly, a drizzle of the flavorful sauce, and a seasoned hard-boiled egg (optional). Garnish with the remaining green onions and enjoy!

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    Please note: This is an approximate nutritional breakdown and will vary depending on the specific ingredients and cooking methods used.

    Calories: 600-800

  • Fat: 30-40g
  • Saturated Fat: 15-20g
  • Cholesterol: 100mg
  • Sodium: 800mg (high)
  • Carbohydrates: 50-60g
  • Protein: 30-40g

  • Conclusion

    Lu Rou Fan is a testament to the power of simplicity. With a handful of readily available ingredients and some patient simmering, you can create a dish that is both satisfying and soul-warming. So, gather your loved ones, prepare a pot of Lu Rou Fan, and embark on a delightful culinary adventure through the heart of Taiwan!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I use boneless pork belly?

    Yes, you can substitute boneless pork belly for bone-in pork belly. However, the bone adds flavor to the braising liquid, so you might need to adjust the seasonings slightly for a richer taste.

    2. What are some good substitutes for Shaoxing wine?

    If you don’t have Shaoxing wine, you can use dry sherry or even chicken broth for a slightly milder flavor.

    3. How long does Lu Rou Fan leftovers last?