I’m Taiwanese and I love Taiwanese food. Some of the most homey dishes are the portable lunchboxes, or bian dang. It’s usually a meat dish on served on a bed of steamed rice with braised pork with sides of braised cabbage, a marinated egg, bean curd, and other greens. To go all-out pig, I made two pork dishes: fried pork chop and braised pork belly.
It’s basically all the same spices: five-spice, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic. Now I get to eat this all week, yes!
Lu rou fan (Taiwanese braised pork)
Hard-boil 4-6 eggs. Peel.
Fry 6 medium shallots finely sliced. Pat dry. (OR 1 cup prepackaged fried shallots)
In leftover oil, brown 2.5 lb ground pork in batches.
Fry 4 cloves garlic sliced, the white parts of 2 scallions sliced, 4 dried/fresh shiitake mushrooms and diced. Add pork and shallots.
Add 1/4 cup dark soy sauce, 1/4 cup light soy sauce, 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine, 2 tbsp rock sugar, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp five-spice powder, enough water (~4 cups) to an inch above meat.
Simmer covered for 75-120 minutes. Add eggs an hour before the end. Boil uncovered to reduce as needed.
Serve on rice (essential). Top with the green part of scallions, egg sliced in half, fried sliced bean curd, braised cabbage.
Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly
Cut 1 lb pork belly into 2”x2”x0.5” pieces. Fry in oil on med-high until lightly browned on both sides, about 2-3 minutes.
Saute 2 cloves garlic sliced, 3 slices ginger, 1 star anise, 1 red chili sliced, 2 tbsp rock sugar, until the sugar is melted.
Add 1/2 tsp five spice powder, 1/4 cup rice wine, 1/4 cup dark soy sauce, 1/4 cup light soy sauce, 4 cups water.
Simmer pork belly in marinade for 1-2 hours, until very tender.
Taiwanese Pork Chop
Take 4 pork chops, bone-in, score the fatty sides, pound until flat.
Marinate 30 minutes to overnight in a bag with 4 cloves garlic smashed, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp white pepper, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp shaoxing wine, 1/2 tsp five spice powder.
Coat with 1/2 cup coarse sweet potato starch.
Shallow fry for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Taiwanese Braised Cabbage
Reconstitute 2 dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup water, then reserve the stock. Reconstitute 1 tbsp dried shrimp, then drain. Coarsely chop half head Taiwanese cabbage (white, flat, ~2 lbs), discarding the stem.
In a large wok on med-high heat, in 1 tbsp oil, saute the mushrooms, shrimp, 2 cloves garlic sliced, and optionally 1 small red chili chopped.
Add the cabbage, 1/2-inch carrot grated, 1/8 tsp white pepper, and pinch salt. Toss until incorporated.
Pour in mushroom stock and simmer covered for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until leaves are wilted and translucent.
After making cha siu and a Taiwanese-style pork roast, I was looking for other regional preparations of pork butt/shoulder (apparently butts and shoulders are interchangeable in pigs). I thought carnitas would be overly ambitious, but of course Kenji pulls through with a non-slow cooker non-pork lard soaked recipe.
Cut 3 lbs boneless pork butt with rind removed into 2-inch cubes. Season with 1 tbsp salt. Arrange in 9×13 baking dish with no spaces.
Quarter 1 medium orange. Squeeze over juices. Add orange pieces, 2 quarters of a medium onion, 4 cloves garlic halved, 2 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick broken up. Pour over 1/4 cup oil.
Bake tightly covered with foil at 275 F for 3.5 hours, until fork-tender.
Remove other solids. Strain out liquids, which should result in 1/2 cup liquid and 1/2 cup fat. Shred pork with forks. Season with more salt. Optionally add some fat back to pork.
Roast under broiler for 6 minutes to develop crispy edges. Rearrange and roast again for 6 minutes.
Serve with salsa, 1 onion finely diced, 1/2 cup cilantro chopped, limes, crumbled cheese, on corn tortillas.
Mix 1 tsp five spice, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 cup water. Pour over.
Bake covered at 300 F for 1.5-2 hours until very tender. Turn once. Serve with juices.
As written back in February: I saw a pork loin roast for $3.99/lb at TJ’s and thought it’d be a good idea to buy it. Then, when attempting to cook it, I realized I needed spices, so I went back to TJ’s for some fresh rosemary.
Pork Loin Roast
Combine 3 cloves garlic crushed, 1 tbsp (dried) rosemary, a good amount of salt, some pepper. Mix in 2 tbsp olive oil.
Take a 2.5-lb pork loin, poke holes with a knife. Brush with marinade.
Roast at 350 F for about an hour in 1/2 cup white wine. Start fat side down, occasionally basting in juices, Add some water, and flip.
I go out of my way in Chinatown to buy cha siu because it was a dish that I never dreamt of cooking. However, when I bought a pork shoulder on a whim and subsequently frantically looked up ways to cook it Chinese-style, cha siu came up. I didn’t even realize that was the cut used! Next time, I will be sure to buy the fattiest cut available.
Shoutouts to thewoksoflife.com, with consistently good Chinese and Taiwanese recipes, and invaluable advice on how to emulate industrial cooking equipment in the home kitchen.
Cha Siu (Cantonese BBQ Pork)
3 lb pork shoulder/butt, very fatty, cut obliquely into flat 1”-thick strips. Marinate in bag overnight.
A true sign I’m turning into a true American home cook: I’m deep frying!! Except I’m making Japanese pork loin. lol
If I’m making Japanese food, without fail I consult justonecookbook.com. She writes detailed precise recipes, includes invaluable tips, and takes beautiful photos. I think I used smaller panko crumbs so the breading came out flatter, but the color was great and the pork was so tasty.
4 pork loin chops, boneless, about 1/2” thick. Cut off extra fat and slit connective tissue, pound to tenderize, season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Dredge in 1/2 cup flour (1/4 cup might be enough), knock off excess flour. Dip in 2 eggs + 1 tbsp oil. Dredge in 1 cup panko, pressing in crumbs.
In oil at 350 F (if panko crumb immediately floats), without crowding, fry for 1 minute each side. Rest standing up for 4 minutes, letting excess oil drip off.
Fry for 30 seconds each side. Rest for 2 minutes.
Cut into strips by cutting straight down, not sawing.
Serve with tonkatsu sauce or curry on raw shredded cabbage with rice.
This is a dish passed on from my grandma to my mom to me. It’s a simple comfort food and the first decent dish that I learned how to make. As such, I have no idea how much of each ingredient I actually use, haha.
Taiwanese Sticky Rice
Reconstitute 4-5 dried shiitake mushroom, then slice. Soak ~2 tbsp small dried shrimp.
1 pork tenderloin, sliced to small strips. Marinate briefly in soy sauce, cooking wine.
4 cups sticky rice. Wash until water nearly clear, almost drain, add about 4.5 cups more water.
In wok with generous oil, saute mushrooms and shrimp. When fragrant, brown pork. Time saute so pork and rice finish at the same time.
Add half of rice, then ~2 tbsp dried shallots, some pepper. Pour in soy sauce until rice is quite dark. Stir.
Add rest of rice. Stir a little. Top with scallions.