Lu Rou Fan is also known as Taiwanese braised pork belly Rice bowl. I have made this recipe 4 years ago. Nothing was wrong with the previous video. It was just really old. I am making it again with some improved tips and tricks. It’s gonna be even more delicious.
To braise the pork belly
- 2.5 lbs. of pork belly
- 8 slices of ginger
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 Star anise
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 3 Bay leaves
- 1/3 cup of rock sugar or 4.5 tbsp of white sugar
- 7 tbsp of light soy sauce (Preferbably Taiwan Kim Lan brand)
- 1 cup of Shao Xing wine
- 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp of white pepper
- 1 tsps. of five-spice powder
- 2-4 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of fried shallots
To make the fried shallot
- 6 shallots
- 1/3 cup of pork fat that is rendered from the pork belly
- 3 dried shrimp
- Boiled eggs
- Blanch bok choy
Cut the pork belly into 1/3 of an inch thick slaps then dice into 1/3 of an inch thick pieces. Make sure the pork belly skin is on because it contains a lot of gelatin, which makes the sauce thick, shiny and flavorful. Taiwanese Lu Rou Fan is very similar to Chinese red braised pork belly. One of the main differences between them is that you cut the meat much smaller for lu rou fan (red braised pork belly usually is cut into 1-inch cubes). After the braising, all the pork bits will melt into a lushes meat sauce – so delicious.
I am using a clay pot because it retains the heat really well and distributes it to the food slowly. Other heavy-duty cookware like a dutch oven or cast iron pot will also work as well. Turn the heat to medium-high and it takes a couple of minutes to pre-heat until nice and hot.
Throw in all the pork without any oil. As you are stirring, there will be some liquid released from the pork. In about 5 minutes. You will feel like your pork is boiling in the water. Don’t worry. Just keep stirring and wait until the liquid evaporates.
As the water evaporates, you will see the fat start pulling out from the pork. Now turn the heat to medium-low. Keep stirring. The fat will become more and more. The bottom feels a little bit sticky. That means there are mallard reaction happening. You will see some brown bits of pork here and there.
Turn off the heat. Tilt your clay pot and let the grease run to the side. So you can remove it to a small saucepot and reserve to fry the shallots later. This way, your final dish won’t come out too oily. But don’t go too crazy and render every drop of oil out, the pork will not taste good that way. This whole process will take about 15-20 minutes.
Turn the heat back on medium. Now you can add 8 cloves of garlic, 8 slices of ginger, 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 bay leaves, and 1/3 cup of rock sugar. Rock sugar is refined, and re-crystalized from regular sugar. It won’t affect the taste that much but it does make the sauce glossier. If you don’t have it, use 4.5 tbsp of table sugar. Continue to stir until the aromatics are fragrant.
Add the rest of the seasonings: light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, white pepper, and five-spice powder. Non-alcohol replacement for Chinese cooking wine varies from recipe to recipe, in this case, you can use the same amount of chicken stock. Stir this really well and make sure you scrape the bottom to deglazed all that brown bits.
Pour in 2 – 4 cups of hot water. We will let this simmer on low heat for 1.5 hours. The amount of water needed may vary depending on your stove and cookware, so keep an eye on it during the simmering to make sure it is not evaporated too dry. If you do end up needing to add more water, please add hot water, don’t add cold water.
Fried shallot is what makes this recipe taiwanese. You can buy this from the Asian market but I am going to show you how to make your own so even if you don’t have access, you can make still achieve that authentic taste.
6 shallots, discard the top and the root. Cut them in half. Peel the dry outer layers and slice them thinly.
Add all the shallots to the fat that we reserved before. Let it fry on medium-low heat. Stir it constantly to ensure even cooking. The store-bought fried shallots are fried in vegetable oil. Using pork fat is a whole different game. Just be careful. It does get foamy. You have to lift up the shallot bits to check the color.
On the side here, I have 3 pieces of dried shrimp, which I have soaked in hot water before I cut the pork belly. Now it should be softer enough for you to mince finely. If you don’t soak it, it will be very hard to cut. This is an optional ingredient, but it adds a third dimension to the dish.
When the shallots are slightly golden now. Go in with the minced dried shrimp. Continue to fry on low heat for a few more minutes or until the shallots are golden brown. Now you can really smell the difference with the shrimp added. The fragrance is more complex and pungent.
This whole process will take about 15 minutes. Let it go through a sieve. We only need the shallot for this recipe but don’t throw away the oil, it is packed with flavors.
Add the fried shallots to the clay pot and give it a stir. Let it keep simmering for the rest of the time.
Smells so good. Let’s pick out the spices. They have done their job. We don’t need them anymore. There will be some fat floating on the top. You can skim it out.
This is the right amount of liquid left. The sauce is thick and sticky. If yours is too thin, you can reduce it. If it is too thick, you can add a little more water. Now is the time to give it a taste to adjust the flavor. Mine is perfect.
Let’s assemble the Lu Rou Fan. Scoop the meat over the white rice. Look at that sauce – so glossy. To balance the meal. I like to add some baby bok choy. Taiwanese people will also serve this with Ludan (卤蛋), which is hard boiled egg that is brasied with the pork belly for a long time. I can’t stand rubber hard eggs like that so I am just using a perfectly boiled egg without braising it.
Garnish with a little bit of scallion. Here you go, a classic Lu Rou Fan. Everything just melts in your mouth before you even take a bite – so flavorful. Even though pork belly is fatty, but you don’t feel that way at all because we removed lots of oil.
This is one of those recipes that you can make a big batch and portion it out. It stays good in the freezer for a few months and it reheats really well in the microwave. It can be a quick, deliciou dinner for whenever you don’t want to cook.