Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork Rice Bowl)

There use to be a little Taiwanese cafe next to my old middle school, so instead of eating the disgusting food at the school cafetiria, my friend and I would sneak out and eat there. We would order Lu Rou Fan (滷肉饭) every time, because it was fast, cheap, and absolutely delicious. The cook there would start cooking this huge pot of meat at around 7 in the morning, and by lunchtime, the pork is slow-cooked to perfection, with a thick, sticky sauce, and an egg that has been braised in the same sauce, for a group of 12 years old, meat and rice was all we needed.

This dish is super easy to make and has a really short prep time, you can start it in the morning before you leave and come back and eat it for dinner.

You’ll need:

– 1 lb skin-on pork belly (if you can’t find them, shoulder meat also works)

– 2 teaspoons oil

– 2g of sugar

– 2 shallots

– 1/4 cup rice wine (Shaoxing wine preferred, but any rice wine works)

– 1 tbsp Chinese five spice (or 1 star anise, 1 clove, 1/4 stick of Chinese cinnamon, 5 Sichuan red peppercorns, 5 fennel seeds, if you can’t find them all, focus on the star anise and cinnamon, the others are not essential)

– 1 bay leaf

– 5 tbsp soy sauce (preferably dark soy)

– 2 cups water

– 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

– 2 slice of ginger

– 1 sprout of scallion

How to make this:

  1. Cut the pork belly into 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch thick cuboid, with the skin and fat on, the cross section should be the size of a pomegranate, which is a size standard often used in Chinese cooking, the marinate them with some rice wine, one smashed ginger slices, and chopped white stem of green onion for 30 min.
  2. Thinly slice the shallot, then fry them in a heavy deep pan or pot with oil until they are golden and crispy. If the color continue to darken after you remove them from the oil and turn to a darker brown instead of golden brown, don’t worry, that’s just the caramelized sugar, it’s will dissolves in the braising liquid/sauce.
  3. Blanch the cubed pork in hot water with a couple drop of the cooking wine to remove the meaty smell (肉腥味) or gamy flavors in the meat, then brown the blanched pork in a hot pan until most of the moistures are removed with some of the fat rendered out.
  4. Slightly fry the ginger and leaves of the scallion in the rendered pork fat, then add in the Chinese five spices (powder or whole) and slightly toast them a little with just the meat and fried shallot, it should only take about 30sec to 1 min but will improve the aroma of the dish.
  5. Pour in the rest of the rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and water, braise/stew for 40 min to 1 hours over low heat with a lid on. Add in the peeled eggs and continue to braise for another hour, or until the pork is tender. (Can be up to 8 hours, turn the heat to low-low if cook over 3 hours and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water for every extra hour)
  6. Before serving, turn the heat to high and evaporate/收汁 the more soupy braising liquid into a concentrated vicious sauce. While meat is being cooked, make some rice, 2 cups of rice (with 1.5 times water or whatever your rice cooker tells you to) would feed about 3 – 4 people.
“收汁” means reducing a large amount of braising liquid into a condensed rich sauce.

Here’s a quick video if you have any more questions:

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