A dish commonly found on the streets of Taiwan, Lu Rou Fan 卤肉饭 is a braised dish that is made by braising pork until tender in a soy-sauce mixture, then served atop a bed of steamed white rice.
There are many variations of this dish – some use a mixture of ground meat and pork belly, some are served with pickled radish as palate cleansers, while some come with a whole slab of pork belly. For extra flavour, our version uses 100% pork belly meat.
While you might be tempted to go lean on this one, we’d recommend using pork belly with the skin instead of lean/ground meat. The fat in the meat will add thickness to your sauce, and make it extra flavourful! For the health-conscious individuals to get the best of both worlds, you may opt to cook the pork belly with the skin on for the added flavour, and skim the extra fat off after braising.
Usually when the team develops a recipe, we write down what we think is the perfect version of the particular dish in question, and more often than not, there are always differences in opinions to what the perfect version is. For this dish, the common factor to what we think a superb bowl of Lu Rou Fan is lies in the sauce and the texture of the meat. The meat has to be fatty, tender, and melt in your mouth, together with a sauce that’s rich in flavour but not overly salty. We love a good shine to our meat, plus sauce that has a peppery kick to it. Umami with notes of caramelised sweetness from the brown sugar used, smoothness from the pork fat, along with the spices used made the final dish so irresistable we couldn’t stop going back for seconds.
Traditional braised pork rice is usually served with braised hard-boiled eggs, but this time, we decided to do something different – flowy ramen eggs with luscious, soft-centered yolks that ooze upon slicing.
These eggs can be done one night in advance, and left to marinate overnight before serving up your dish. The longer you marinate, the more flavourful your eggs will be! To prep for these eggs, all you’ll have to do is to make a mixture of water, brown sugar, dark and light soy sauce, along with some spices and a touch of brown sugar, before bringing it to a boil. Remember to let the mixture cool completely before adding your eggs in – this will prevent cooking the soft-boiled eggs further when you submerge them in the marinade!
Some marinades require less ingredients such as soy sauce and mirin only, but to better pair it with braised pork, we decided to spice it up with star anise and cinnamon sticks for extra depth of flavour. As we’re using these extra spices, it will require boiling of the mixture first, so as to extract the flavours of the spices. Otherwise, you will only need to combine the sauces with water and go straight ahead with the marination.
Watch the video tutorial:
Five Spice Marinade for the ramen eggs :
2 cups water
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp brown sugar
For the spice bag (wrap everything in a cheesecloth & tie with string / wrap tightly in a coffee filter):
3 star anise
3 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2-3 pieces fresh orange peel
2 slices fresh ginger
For the braised pork:
500g skin-on pork belly, cut into 4” to 5” length
2 tsp cooking oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp fried shallots
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup shaoxing wine
4 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp thick dark soy sauce
2 cups water (for sauce)
2 cups water (to soak mushrooms and add into pot later)
1 Tsp white pepper (to taste)
4-5 taukwa (optional)
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional, if you prefer braised eggs to ramen eggs)
4 bowls of steamed white rice
First, make marinade for the ramen eggs. In a saucepot/Bruno Hotplate with the Nabe Pot attachment add enough water to boil 4 eggs and bring to a boil, on medium to high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly so that the water is not boiling but simmering.
Carefully place eggs into the pot of simmering water and cover with a lid. Ensure that the eggs are fully submerged in the boiling water.
Boil for 5.5 min to 7 min depend depending on the temperature of your eggs (from fridge: 7mins, room temp, 5.5 mins). Meanwhile, prepare an ice water bath/bowl of cold water.
Once the eggs are done, take out the eggs and place them immediately into the ice water bath/bowl of ice water. This helps to stop the eggs from cooking further. Set aside and make the marinade.
For the marinade: Using a pot/Bruno Nabe Pot, add 2 cups of water. On low to medium heat, heat water until it comes to a simmer. Add 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anises, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, and 2 tbsp dark soy sauce to the water and stir until well combined. Increase to medium-high heat and boil for 2 min to 5 min. Then, turn off the heat and set aside to cool completely.
Once the eggs are completely cooled, peel and set aside.
Once marinade is completely cooled, submerge eggs in the marinade for 1 hour to overnight. The longer you soak, the more flavourful your eggs. If soaking overnight, keep covered in a fridge.
Cut into a fresh orange and peel out 2 to 3 pieces of peel. Set aside.
Cut about 2 slices of fresh ginger (optional).
In a cheesecloth or coffee filter, add 3 star anises, 3 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, 3 bay leaves, 2 tsps black peppercorns, 2-3 pieces fresh orange peel, and 2 slices fresh ginger. Secure tightly and set aside.
Braised Pork Belly
Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water. You may boil the mushrooms too for a more flavourful stock, if desired. Do not discard the mushroom stock, as it will be used later. Set aside and soak until completely soft.
In a large sauce pot/Bruno Nabe Pot, bring water to a boil, then blanch pork belly (cut into 4”-5” length for easier handling) for 2min-5mins. Drain and set aside.
Next, using a sharp knife, slice pork belly into smaller pieces, about ½ to 1” strips. Set aside.
Drain and slice rehydrated mushrooms into 1 to 2cm cubes, setting the mushroom stock aside. Set aside diced mushrooms.
Prep a nonstick pan/your Bruno Nabe Pot to cook/braise the pork. Preheat your pan/Bruno on low-med heat, then add 2tsps cooking oil. Add in 2 tbsps brown suar and stir until sugar has melted slightly.
Next, add in 3 tbsps of fried shallots (and minced garlic, optional), and sauté until fragrant.
Then, add diced mushrooms and continuing stir frying for a few minutes.
Lastly, add blanched pork belly strips and stir fry on med-high heat for a few minutes.
Then, add in ½ cup of shaoxing wine, 4 tbsps light soy sauce, 3 tbsps thick dark soy sauce, and stir to combine until the sauce has coated the pork belly.
Then, measure out 4 cups of liquid with the mushroom stock and ~ 2 cups of water before adding to the pot. For Bruno – you may fill the pot until 1” below the top, and top up any remaining water/stock as the sauce reduces during the braising time later.
Stir gently to combine before submerging spice bag completely.
Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. If you prefer braised eggs instead of ramen eggs, you may add in peeled hard-boiled eggs, along with tofu puffs (tau kwa) into the mixture at this stage. Then, cover and simmer on low heat for about ~1 hour, or until the meat is tender. The sauce will thicken over time. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking/burning of the base.
Once the meat is tender and ready to serve, remove the cover and spice bag and increase to med-high heat to finish. This will help to further thicken up the sauce; the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You may add white pepper to taste. If your sauce has reduced too much/ too dry, you may add in more water/stock and continue simmering and braising.
To serve, remove marinated eggs from their marinade, slice, and serve together with the braised pork on steamy, hot white rice.
A thick, saucy pot of braised pork belly is hearty, comforting food that never fails to remind us of the family reunion dinners we have every Chinese New Year growing up. The version our grandmas make usually come with hard-boiled eggs instead of ramen eggs like this recipe. Perhaps this new year you can surprise (and impress!) your elders at the dining table by whipping up a belly-good pot of braised pork and deliciously flowy eggs!
To make this recipe, we used the Bruno hotplate with the Bruno Nabe Pot attachment, which is a ceramic soup pot that can be used for anything from soups to stews and braised dishes. We even managed to make tarts using this pan! As the Bruno hotplate works using quick electrical heating, it is suitable for cooking on the table and to involve the kids with, as there is no open flame to worry yourself with. These properties make it great for dishes such as braised pork, stews, and hot pots, as it can keep your food warm on the dining table and safe from the younger ones, while maintaining the aesthetics that you might want for entertaining guests.
This post and recipe were developed specially for Bruno, by Bakestarters.
Trying this recipe out? Make sure you hashtag #bakestarters on Instagram so we can see your wonderful creations!
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