Lu Rou Fan was a staple in my household growing up. It’s considered Taiwanese comfort food and I turn to this dish often when I’m craving a hearty meal. It’s also easy to make and a big hit with my kids!
There are two versions of this dish: one with pork belly and the other with minced (ground) pork. The traditional version calls for finely diced pork belly, but as a working mother with two energetic boys, who has the time to dice pork belly? Whenever I make this dish, I take the easy way out and buy a fattier ground pork (no lean ground pork) which is always available at Chinese supermarkets. The fattiness gives the ground pork a texture that is more reminiscent of pork belly which makes this dish that much more heartier. Diets not allowed when indulging in this dish!!!
There are also many variations out there when it comes to the spices in this dish. It often includes whole star anise, but it’s hard to find and using five spice powder still gives a very authentic flavour.
Another key ingredient that makes or breaks this dish is the fried shallots. If you have time to finely slice shallots then fry them until crispy and golden brown, power to you! For me, I like to buy the prepared fried shallots.
I’m not very good at following recipes as I find my style of cooking is more of an intuitive approach. My grandfather was a very accomplished chef and I never saw him ever measure anything! So I usually just eyeball the ingredients and use a “dash” of this and a “pinch” of that, then taste test. So please forgive me if these measurements aren’t accurate! Take it with a grain of salt (pun intended) and adjust to taste as needed!
Please note: pictured here are garlic salt and honey which I used to substitute for the fresh minced garlic clove (because I’m lazy) and rock/brown sugar (which I ran out of).
Ingredients you will need:
- 1 lb of ground pork (preferably not lean)
- 1/4 cup of Shaoxing or Chinese cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice powder
- Dash of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of rock or brown sugar (or more depending on how sweet you like it)
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1 clove of garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup of fried shallots
- 1/4 cup of cooking oil
Start by marinating the pork with all the liquid ingredients and one teaspoon of cornstarch for tenderizing.
Heat up a wok or pan with the 1/4 cup of cooking oil and brown the minced garlic. Then add in the marinated ground pork and stir fry while adding in the dry ingredients. Add the fried shallots last when the pork is almost done.
Optional: once the pork is done, make a cornstarch sludge with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1/3 a cup of water and add it to the pork to thicken into a sauce. I usually only do this with the ground pork version but not when using minced pork belly.
Et voila! Serve over rice and indulge!
Not pictured: this dish is often served with a hard boiled egg that has been braised in the minced pork sauce.
Drop me a line and let me know if you tried this recipe and how it went!