Lu Rou Fan- Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice

Lu Rou Fan滷肉飯 (Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice)

Caution: The following recipe is not for the faint of heart!!

Okay, just think of it as Chinese Bolognese meat sauce! Although pork belly is the cut where bacon originates, and is known to be heavy in fat, you’ll find that the Lu Ro, despite flaunting thick layers of fat, is surprisingly not as greasy as you might have imagined. In fact, since the pork is cooked under low heat for an extended amount of time, the amount of fat is somewhat mitigated.

Braising has always been one of my favorite ways to cook meat; it is the best sort of kitchen alchemy- transforming tough cuts of meat into something completely flavorful and tender, and you know what… braised meat tastes even better the next day!


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb skin-on pork belly, cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 piece of medium size rock sugar
  • a couple of shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 cups water
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

For the spices (wrap everything in the spice packet):

  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • cumin seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 slices fresh ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degree C.
  2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over low heat, add in the sugar. Add the minced shallots when the sugar starts to melt. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir-fry the shallots for a minute.
  3. Add the mushroom pieces and chopped pork belly; stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the blanched pork, rice wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices (which should be wrapped in cloth), along with the peeled hardboiled eggs.
  5. Transfer everything to the oven and cook for around 1½ hours.
  6. Once the meat is fall-apart tender, remove the spice packet. Transfer Dutch oven to the stove, cook under medium high heat to thicken the sauce, stir occasionally, for about 5-minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Serve over steamed white rice!

 

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Stilton Pork Melts with Caramelised Apples

France and Britain, having engaged in rivaling relationship for centuries, have near-identical levels of national wealth, population, and historical swagger. But when it comes to food…. The French raised cuisine to a high art, while Britain- just across the channel, has had such a poor reputation for food until recently.

French cuisine may be my all-time favorite. But I always turn to British comfort food when I have a rough day at work… scotch eggs, bangers and mash, sticky toffee pudding and the list goes on. Heartwarming, filling and satisfying, they are always there ready to give me a cuddle when I need it most.

Stilton pork melts – a classic British delight, can also be made with any kind of blue cheese on top of pork chop with a spread of Apple sauce in between. Here I replaced the apple sauce with caramelized apples, using the leftover apples I had from making chicken Normandy. The blue cheese adds a mellow depth of tangy flavor and sophistication to the dish.  It brings together the tender pork and the sweet, sticky apple pieces, fusing them to create an incredible depth of flavour.

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Let’s not lose hope in Brit food… as once said by a handsome prime minister – Britain may be a small country but it’s a great one. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot…


Ingredients:

  • 2 two-inch bone-in pork chops (I used iberico this time)
  • 100g Stilton or other blue cheese
  • pinch of pepper and garlic salts for seasoning
  • caramelised apples
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 3 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 apple cored and sliced
  • pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 deg c.
  2. Season the chops on both sides with a good sprinkling of garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan, cook pork chops on both sides until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Put the seared chops in the oven, cook for 20 min more. (the cooking time depends hugely on the thickness of the chop, do not hesitate to ask your butcher for advice =p that’s what i do all the time!)
  5. Start preparing for the caramelised apples for the time being. Peel and core apples. Slice into 1/4″ wedges.
  6. Melt butter and sugar over low-medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbly, about 1 minute.  Add apples and cinnamon and cook over medium heat until soft and tender, for approximately 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Spread a generous layer of stilton cheese on each chop, return to the oven to cook for further 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
  8. Transfer the cooked pork chops and caramelised apples to a plate, let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.