Lu Rou Fan
Sometimes when I want to eat or make something new, I will just Google the ingredients I have on hand or want to use and see what recipes pop up. Then, I’ll start asking around to see if anyone I know has had or made it before. That is how I stumbled onto the braised pork belly sauce that is Lu Rou Fan. I happen to have a friend who is a Lu Rou Fan lover, and she told me a few specific things a proper Lu Rou Fan needs - Truly fatty Pork Belly. Crispy Shallots. A lot of sugar. And don’t throw away the liquid, pour that leftover fat on everything.
1 lb. Pork Belly
*You should use a combination of dark and light soy sauce, about 2 Tbls of each. But let’s say you are in a household that has forbidden you from bringing in one more condiment into your already packed pantry. Then just substitute for 1/4 cup of soy sauce. The color and depth of flavor will be similar but not quite the same.
Also note that we do not have salt listed as an ingredient. Between the pork belly and the soy sauces, the dish will be salty, especially when the liquid reduces. You can always add a sprinkle of salt at the end if you do not feel like it has enough salt.
I cut down on the braising time by using my Instapot because the halt on buying condiments apparently did not apply to buying cooking appliances.
You can buy fried shallots or make them yourself. Thinly slice the shallots. Fill a deep pot with oil and warm over medium heat. Add the shallots in small batches and remove before they turn completely golden brown. They will continue you to cook and crisp up as they cool. Drain, let cool, and chop into small pieces.
Rehydrate mushrooms by covering in warm water for a few minutes. Remove and dice, reserving the liquid to use later.
Dice pork belly into small pieces. Place a wide pan over medium heat. Pour oil into the pan, tilting it around so the entire bottom is covered in oil. Add pork belly pieces. Stir occasionally until cooked.
Add rock sugar and stir well. Then add the garlic and chopped shallots. Finally, add the mushrooms, reserved mushroom water, wine, soy sauce, spices, and ginger slices. Make sure that there is enough liquid to cover the pork belly. If not, add more water.
If using the traditional stove top method, bring to a boil and then let simmer for about an hour. Check the meat. It should be tender and pull apart easily. Serve over rice alongside soft boiled eggs, bok choy, green beans, or green onions.