There’s no room for discussion, in my opinion. Among the many popular comfort dishes in Taiwan, lu rou fan ranks among the top. Almost as comforting as a steaming cup of beef noodle soup on a cold day (and even then, a very close second).
Meat was considered a delicacy back when it was eaten. When only a tiny amount of pork is available, what should one do to feed a large family? You dice it up, braise it for a long time to make a rich, flavorful braised meat sauce, and then serve it over a mountain of hot, cozy rice for the whole family to share. Genius.
All right, a couple of caveats before we begin:
- Take advantage of the pig’s natural fat content by using pork belly with skin. We’re keeping things classic; this is not a dish for those looking for healthy alternatives. If you’re searching for lighter fare, we have plenty of alternatives on hand. Look in the veggie freezer!
- Shiitakes, either fresh or dried, can be used. The flavor of dried shiitakes will be more intense.
- The beef can be braised for as long as you like; if you have a slow cooker, this is the perfect dish for it.
- Keep the heat at a minimum while simmering. The sauce should be thickened over greater heat at the end without drying out.
- 450g of skin-on pork belly (cut into 1/2” pieces)
- 25g of rock sugar
- 8 shiitake mushrooms, diced
- 4 peeled hardboiled eggs
- 1 small onion or shallots, diced
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of shaoxing wine
- 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons of oil
- Chop the pork belly into small pieces, fill a medium pot with water, and bring it to a boil to completely submerge the pork. Drain, scrub thoroughly, and put aside.
- Add the sugar to the oil while it is heating in a wok over low heat. Toss the onions into the pan once the sugar has begun to melt. For a minute, stir-fry the onions with the heat turned up to medium-high. Stir-fry for a few more minutes after adding the mushrooms.
- Blend in the water, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and shaoxing wine with the blanched pork. Mix it together and get it boiling.
- Once the water is boiling, add the hard-boiled eggs that have been peeled and the spices (which should be tied in cheesecloth). While simmering for 1 1/2 hours, make sure to stir it occasionally to avoid sticking.
- The meat should be fork-tender at this time. When ready to serve, discard the spice packet and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring regularly, to thicken the sauce. It shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes in total. You should be able to coat a spoon in the sauce, but there should be plenty left over. Prepare with steamed white rice.