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!
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
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 slices fresh ginger
Preheat oven to 160 degree C.
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.
Add the mushroom pieces and chopped pork belly; stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
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.
Transfer everything to the oven and cook for around 1½ hours.
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!
Cycling on the farm roads of Yilan, fringed with healthy looking weeds, feeling the air- light and crisp on my skin, there seemed to be so much space to breathe in. Coming from Hong Kong, where everything is so tightly cramped in, the streets so suffocating in comparison. I couldn’t help but smile, feeling as though I’d climbed from a dim basement to a spacious garden.
Sanshing (Three Stars) town is famous for its spring onion. Unlike our local spring onion with flat stalk/leaf, spring onion in Sanshing has giant round stalk and it’s extra fragrant and flavorful. The restaurants in Yilan take great pride in this local produce; it is commonly incorporated in dishes to add a note of crunchiness and green freshness. Have you ever felt stalked by certain food? Ok, it may sound delusional but this was exactly how I felt when I kept seeing spring onion all over the place… in pancakes, dumplings, or cooked with chicken as skewers… showing the sincerest respect for locally grown ingredients from the Yilan people.