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.
San Bei Ji translates to “three cups chicken,” hinting at a simple elemental recipe of 1 cup each of soy sauce, cooking wine, and sesame oil. Please don’t actually use that recipe. That would be 1) a lot of chicken; 2) really oily and stinky-fragrant considering how strong modern sesame oil is. Recipe from thewoksoflife.
San Bei Ji (Three cup chicken)
In wok, infuse 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 inch ginger sliced into rounds, 3 cloves garlic sliced.
Sear 1 lb chicken thighs cut to strips or pieces.
Transfer to small pot. Add 1/4 cup shaoxing wine, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 tsp light soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.
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.
To celebrate Lunar New Year, we made nian gao (stick rice cake). And because I don’t have steaming capacity yet, we baked it. And because I don’t have steaming capacity yet, I made lu rou fan (braised pork rice) instead of turnip cakes or other traditional dishes.
Lu Rou Fan
Ahh, one of my favorite Taiwanese comfort foods. What’s not to like about animal fat and soy sauce on white rice? Halfway through frying 8 shallots that I had painstakingly peeled, I realized that fried shallots is a prefabricated ingredient I have in a jar sitting in the pantry. Tracking this recipe, with input from others.
Edit 8/29: I don’t like this formulation. Consider it defunct.
Fry 8 shallots finely sliced. Pat dry.
In leftover oil, brown 2-3 lb ground pork or pork belly chopped to 1/4″.
Add 3 cloves garlic minced, then the shallots.
Add 1/4 cup dark soy sauce, 1/4 cup light soy sauce, 1/2 cup cooking wine, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp five-spice powder, enough water to cover.