Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Taiwanese Soy-Braised Pork Belly Over Rice (Lu Rou Fan / Lo Ba Png)

Taiwanese soy-braised pork belly and soy-braised ground pork are oftentimes referred to synonymously as "Lu Rou Fan" in Mandarin or "Lo Ba Png" in Taiwanese. The sauce seasonings are pretty much the same: typically soy sauce, fried shallots, rice wine, rock sugar, diced shiitake mushrooms, and 5-spice powder, along with soy-braised eggs, all served over steamed white rice. The difference in my book is really in the type of pork used (diced pork belly or ground pork). I refer to the ground pork version as "Rou Zhao Fan" (recipe here: But, hey, I could be wrong - as they say, a rose by any other name smells the same...and I'm makin' myself punch drunk hungry now just thinking about the heavenly, to-die-for aroma of this dish... 

1 cup minced fresh shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. pork belly, diced

8 medium-small dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in warm water, stemmed & diced
1/2 cup fried shallots or fried red onion (available in most Asian markets)

1/4 cup dark soy sauce
2/3 cup regular soy sauce
1/2 cup Shaohsing or Chinese rice wine
2 tsp. 5-spice powder
1 large lump brown rock sugar (or 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar)

4 cups or more of water

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

1. Boil the eggs first. Heres a tip: to keep the shells from sticking on the eggs when peeling, I poke a small hole on the wide bottom part of each egg using a push pin (the kind you use to pin papers, etc. to a wall); cover the eggs with cold water in a saucepan; bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes; turn off the heat and let the eggs cool (in the water) to room temperature; peel and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a wok or large saute pan. Add the minced fresh shallots and garlic and saute for a couple minutes until fragrant. 

3. Add the diced pork belly and cook over medium to medium-high heat until lightly browned. 

4. Add the fried shallots and diced shiitakes and mix through. 

5. Add the sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add 4-6 cups water or enough to cover the pork mixture. Cover and simmer for 2 hours (taste during cooking and add more water if needed).

6. Add the peeled hard-boiled eggs to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. 

7. Cut each braised egg in half length-wise and serve on the side of the pork and sauce over steamed white rice.

NOTE: In the highly unlikely event that you have any leftover braised pork, the mixture freezes well so just pour into a Ziplock-type bag and pop into the freezer. The braised eggs are another story - you can freeze them, but their texture gets a little rubbery after defrosting.

 Rehydrated & minced shiitake mushrooms, fried red onion/shallots, minced garlic, and finely chopped fresh shallots.

 I buy my pork bellies from 99 Ranch Market, where they will cut a whole piece of pork belly into approx. 2" wide strips. For this recipe, I used three of those strips.

 I cut each strip into slices, and then in half again, lengthwise for bite-sized pieces.

 Saute the fresh minced shallot and garlic in oil.

 Add the diced pork belly and cook until lightly browned. 

 Add the fried shallots and minced shiitakes.

 Add 4 cups of water or enough to cover the pork mixture.

 Seasonings: Shaohsing wine, dark soy, regular soy, rock sugar, and 5-spice powder.

 After the mixture has simmered (covered) for 2 hours, add the peeled, boiled eggs. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the eggs have absorbed the sauce.

 Serve the pork and sauce over steamed white rice and a halved soy-braised egg.

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