Monday, January 27, 2014

Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice ("Lu Rou Fan")


I was inspired to cook this after trying something similar at Lai Lai Casual Dining, a Taiwanese restaurant in Singapore. It's Taiwanese style braised pork belly with a thick, sweet and salty gravy that is full of  umami flavours. If you're far away from family and feeling homesick, this comforting bowl of braised pork over steamed white rice is just what you need! I usually make a big pot of this and freeze the leftovers for days when I have no time to cook.



Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice ("Lu Rou Fan")

Ingredients

1kg (2 lbs) pork belly, skin-on
1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1 star anise
2 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 cup light soy sauce (I used Lee Kum Kee Superior Light Soy)
1 tsp thick dark soy sauce (I used Cheong Chan Thick Caramel)
1/3 cup chinese cooking wine
3 cups water
1/4 tsp pepper
2/3 cup crispy fried shallots (I used the prepacked store-bought ones)
3 tbsp (about the size of a ping pong ball) rock sugar
6 hard boiled eggs

Method

  1. Blanch the pork belly in a pot of salted boiling water for 5-10 minutes to get rid of the scum. Remove, rinse the pork. Then, slice into 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) pieces.
  2. In a large pan/pot, heat 1 tbsp oil and fry garlic, star anise and cinnamon stick for 5 minutes. Add the pork and dark soy and fry until pork is lightly browned all over.
  3. Add the five-spice, light soy, chinese cooking wine and stir through until it starts to simmer. Add the water, crispy shallots and pepper and bring everything to a boil. Add the rock sugar (use more or less to taste).
  4. Cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer on low-medium heat for 1-2 hours until pork is tender and sauce is slightly thickened. About half an hour before the dish is ready, add in the hard boiled eggs and submerge them in the sauce to simmer. Adjust to taste by adding more water if it's too salty or too thick, Stir the gravy occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn at the bottom of the pot.
  5. When pork is tender and eggs are lightly browned, dish out and serve on top of steamed white rice with some blanched greens or pickled vegetables.