It is very easy to make braised pork rice. Anyone with only a little cooking experience can make braised or stewed pork at home. You can serve it in whatever way you like, and it will still be delicious!
However, there is a little difficulty involved in making such a delicious meal which will have people in awe. After all, it is not easy to understand the delicate human taste bud. Once you know a few tips, it is possible to make a stunning braised pork and rice dish.
Braised pork with rice(In Chinese, we call it lu rou fan) is a dish that is grounded deep in the hearts of the Taiwanese, being the earliest national snack of Taiwan. It is cheap to buy, being only a few dollars. You can find it not only in the street stalls but also on a restaurant’s menu. Braised pork plays a big part in the social culture of the island, being found as street food and in the home kitchen.
Braised pork with rice has a cousin which is a stewed pork rice dish. The two dishes have exactly the same cooking method, the only difference being in the meat: braised pork is made with diced meat and minced pork is used for stewed pork rice. Mincing the meat, however, takes time and effort, and regardless of flavor and appearance, diced pork is easier to work with.
Let’s get down to business, and talk about the process of putting this delicious meal together.
The predominant ingredient of braised pork rice is, of course, the meat, which is the focus of our introduction.
In the picture below, you can see all the raw materials needed for cooking this dish.
This amount is enough to serve a family of two or three. If you have a bigger family, of course, you can use more. After all, it is such a delicious meal and hard to stop eating. The choice of pork meat is also very important; we are using the meat on the outside of the ribs as this makes for a very tasty sauce due to the combination of fat and lean meat. Although the pork belly is very flavorsome, it breaks easily during the cooking process, affecting the final appearance of the dish.
30g fried red onion crisps
This is an indispensable ingredient in this dish. If you can’t buy it, you can make it with French shallots and sliced garlic by frying them in hot oil until golden brown. If you can’t buy French shallots, you can use green onions instead. It is best not to use ordinary onions because the flesh is too thick and you will not get the same result.
50 ml dark soy sauce,
This is the source of all the salty Chinese dishes. The color of soy sauce is quite dark and surprisingly low in salt but slightly higher in sugar in such dishes.
25 ml of cooking wine
I am using sherry here. You can use rice wine or even a dry white wine.
1 cinnamon stick
Don’t use cinnamon powder, it will go black as it cooks.
2 star anise
1 tablespoon of sugar
I am using raw sugar, although you can use other kinds of sugar such as rock sugar.
White pepper to taste
The method is as follows:
Cut the pork into 0.8 cm square pieces, making sure you cut it in such a way as to have a small piece of skin attached to each piece of meat. This is crucial to the final taste of the dish.
Find a flat, deep non-stick pan and warm it up completely (if it is a thick pan, it will take two minutes to preheat. If you are using a thinner pot, preheat it for a shorter period to avoid damaging the non-stick coating). You do not have to use oil, just stir-fry the pork in the pan with your spatula.
If your pan is hot enough, you will start to see a little bit of liquid in the pan as a small amount of oil begins to drip from the pork. Continue to heat the pork, and you will notice that suddenly the pork will begin to seep lots of water. The liquid in the pot will become cloudy (this is caused by the oil and water mixing), and you will see that the bottom of the pot will have water vapor bubbles. At this time, you have to be patient and constantly fry the pork until all the water has evaporated and the liquid in the pan has become clear (the water evaporates, leaving only the fat). You can then add the cinnamon and star anise and stir-fry to distribute their flavor in the pan evenly.
Add the sugar and red onion crisps and stir through.
Add the dark soy sauce and stir through.
Finally, add the cooking wine and stir it through.
Because of the small amount of meat, we need to change the pot for a smaller one. This will better maintain the flavor of the braised pork. Transfer the meat to a small casserole dish and stir until the liquid is almost dry, then add boiling water until all the meat is submerged.
At this point, you may be wondering why we had to dry the water up first, and then add more again. The liquid we first dried in the pot allowed all the flavors of various spices to blend with each other and be absorbed into the pork. If you do not dry the water in advance, the dish will still be delicious, but it will not be at its best.
Of course, you must not forget to add a few boiled, peeled eggs. Allow them to sit in the mixture only long enough to take on the color, and then remove. Add them back at the very end to heat through for serving.
You can maintain the aroma of the pot by placing a tea towel or piece of baking paper around the edges of the pot lid.
Simmer the meat for 30-40 minutes on the stove top, on low heat. Every 10 minutes check to make sure it does not turn to a paste. A good braised meat will have a nice thick sauce and will be rich in flavor. However it can very easily turn to a paste, so be careful. If necessary, add some boiling water (do not use cold water). Taste the dish and add some white pepper if required.
While you wait for the meat to cook, you can prepare some small side dishes. The more classic dishes are small vegetables such as edible rape, bok choy, and Japanese radish. Take the bok choy, boil some water, add some salt and oil and place the bok choy into it. Cook it for one to two minutes, until its color brightens. Take it out and place it in some ice water to keep the color and prevent it from cooking further.
To serve the braised pork, place some rice in a bowl with some braised pork on top. Take the vegetables, radish and eggs and place them around the pork. Enter the fragrant and rejuvenating braised pork!
I feel that there is a need to talk about cooking rice.
Too many people focus on the braised pork sauce, forgetting about how important rice is. All Taiwanese folks know how crucial rice is to braised pork. Taiwan is a source of rice and has a higher standard for it than non-natives. It is hard for rice to escape the mouth of the Taiwanese. Properly cooked, rice must be clear and not too sticky, but a little bit waxy. Check out my guide about How to Cook the Perfect Fried Rice.
Now I will highlight the three secrets to making the best braised pork with rice.
First, you must be careful with the choice and preparation of the pork belly. Choose the meat on the outside of the ribs as it has a better flavor. Also, take care when you cook the meat so that it does not fall apart. Cut the pork into small pieces, each piece having a small piece of pork skin attached.
Secondly, have patience when cooking the pork, and wait for all the water to dry up in the pan before adding the spices. After adding the sauce, wait until all the liquid dries in the pan before adding boiling water. If you have only used a small amount of meat, then you should use a small casserole pot in which to simmer the meat
Thirdly, pay attention as you slowly cook the pork, as it can easily turn to a paste.
Braised Pork with Rice (Lu Rou Fan)
- 400 g pork
- 30g fried red onion crisps
- 50 ml dark soy sauce
- 25 ml of cooking wine
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 25g of sugar
- white pepper to taste
- a few boiled eggs
- 1 bok choy
- a few radishes
- Cut the pork belly into 0.8 cm square pieces, making sure you have a small piece of skin attached to each piece.
- Find a flat, relatively deep non-stick pan and warm it up. Without using oil, stir-fry the pork in the pan. Continue to heat the pork as it begins to seep water. Keep frying until the pork until all the water has evaporated and the liquid in the pan has become clear. Add the cinnamon and star anise and stir-fry to evenly distribute their flavor in the pan.
- Add the sugar and red onion crisps and stir through. Then add the soy sauce and cooking wine, stirring after each. Change the pot for a small casserole dish and stir until the liquid has disappeared then add boiling water until the meat is submerged.
- Add a few boiled and peeled eggs.
- Simmer the meat for 30-40 minutes on low heat. Check it every 10 minutes that it does not become too pasty. Taste and add pepper if required.
- Blanch the bok choy for 2 minutes, adding some salt and oil to the water. Take it out and place it in some ice water to keep the color and stop the cooking process. Slice the red radish.
- To serve the braised pork, place some rice in a bowl with some braised pork on top. Take the vegetables, radish and eggs and place them around the pork.