Just like the famous red braised pork belly in mainland China, lu rou fan (卤肉饭/滷肉饭, braised pork belly with rice) is one of the most popular comfort foods in Taiwan. There’s another variation that uses ground pork instead of pork belly.
Making lu rou fan in a clay pot or regular sauce pan on the stove top can be tricky sometimes. Since it has to be slow cooked for at least 1 hour to make the pork belly tender and juicy, you need to keep an eye on the water level during cooking and stir occasionally so that it doesn’t dry out and the bottom is not burnt. I’ve made these mistakes before. Also if the cooking time is too short, the pork belly will be dry and hard.
Traditionally, you can add cooked eggs to the pot along with the pork and make soy eggs, but I don’t like the overcooked egg yolks. So I make the soy eggs separately using the tare sauce from this shoyu ramen recipe for marinating soft boiled eggs.
Please make sure you read the notes at the end of the recipe for extra tips and substitution suggestions. If you make this recipe, please share a photo of your creations and use hashtag #iceorrice on Instagram and Facebook! We’d love to see them. Thank you!
Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly (Lu Rou Fan) - Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
- 1 lb skin-on pork belly cut into 1/3 inch pieces
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 slices ginger
- 2 tbsps shaoxing wine
- 3 tbsps dark soy sauce
- 1/4 cup fried shallots or onions
- 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
- 2 star anise
- 1 tbsp dried shrimps, chopped OPTIONAL
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked OPTIONAL
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 tbsps rock sugar or brown sugar
- 1 cup hot water
- light soy sauce / salt to taste
For Instant Pot or electric pressure cookers
Turn on the "sauté" function of the pressure cooker, press "adjust" once to switch to "more" for browning. Add vegetable oil to coat the bottom.
Once the oil is hot, add pork belly and give it a stir so that it's not sticking to the bottom. After 3-5 minutes, there's liquid coming from the pork belly. Let it cook until the liquid evaporates. This is to make sure it doesn't dilute the seasonings that will be added later on and allow the flavors to quickly penetrate the pork belly.
Add ginger, garlic, dark soy sauce, shaoxing wine, cinnamon, star anise, rock sugar, dried shrimps, shiitake mushrooms and fried shallots. Mix it well and add hot water. Cover with the lid.
Turn on the "manual" function, set the timer to 20 minutes or 30 minutes if you have more time. Natural OR quick release after done. Skim off the fatty oil from the top.
Turn on the "sauté" function, and "adjust" to "more". This is to thicken the sauce and darken the pork belly. The longer the pork is sautéed, the darker color it gets and the sauce becomes more concentrated. This is up to your preference. Add light soy sauce or salt to taste. If you want to thicken the sauce, mix 2 tbsps water with 1 tbsp corn starch and add it to the pork and cook until the sauce is thickened.
Ladle the braised pork over rice with some sauce. Top with an egg and vegetables.
For Slow Cooker
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over high heat and sauté the pork belly till golden brown. Add ginger, garlic, dark soy sauce, shaoxing wine, cinnamon, star anise, rock sugar, dried shrimps, shiitake mushrooms and fried shallots. Mix it well and transfer to a slow cooker.
Add hot water, set to low and cook for 2 hours. Skim off the oil from the top.
Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Transfer the pork belly to the pan and cook it till the sauce starts thickening. The longer the pork is sautéed, the darker color it gets and the sauce becomes more concentrated. This is up to your preference. Add light soy sauce or salt to taste to desired saltiness. If you want to thicken the sauce, mix 2 tbsps water with 1 tbsp corn starch and add it to the pork and cook until the sauce is thickened.
- Highly recommend using deep-fried shallots/onions instead pan-fried. It's the most key ingredient for making this dish extra flavorful. Make a huge batch at home and refrigerate it so you can use it whenever. Fried shallots/onions are also less greasy and more fragrant. For homemade fried shallots, heat 3 cups of vegetable oil to 350 F (180 C) in a medium saucepan, fry the shallots to a golden brown and drain it well.
- Use skin-on pork belly as the skin becomes tender, juicy and flavorful after absorbing all the flavors from spices and soy sauce. It also makes the sauce thicker.
- Use leaner ground pork (e.g. pork shoulder) as a substitute if the pork belly is too fatty. Reduce the cooking time accordingly.
- You also can make this dish in a rice cooker. Cook it for 2 hours until the pork is tender. Follow the steps of the slow cooker.
- Adding soy sauce at the end will allow you to adjust the saltiness accordingly after the sauce has reduced.