I'm actually salivating when I'm writing this post. Darn!!!
There's a difference between Lor Bak Png in the Northern Taiwan and the Southern Taiwan. Northern version uses five spice powder, cinnamon powder and fried shallots for extra pungent. While Southern Taiwan prefers original taste. No spices are added usually. They only depends on fried shallots and the taste of the fresh meat. Southern Taiwanese loves sweet, and this also explains Southern version of Lor Bak Png will use more sugar than the Northern Taiwan version.
The one I'm cooking here, is Northern Taiwan version with the addition of mushrooms. Recipe adapted from a Taiwanese Braise Pork Recipe Book written in Chinese.
There's some rules you need to know before you cook this dish.
- If you think this dish will make you put on weight, skip it.
- If you think this is unhealthy, skip it.
- If you want to substitute this recipe with minced meat, this is not the right recipe for you.
Please do not use minced meat for this recipe. To have better chewy texture, we need to use pork belly cut into small cubes. The amount of fattiness in the meat must be adequate. Fatty vs Meat should be 2 : 3 ratio. You must have sufficient fat meat to provide sufficient fats to the entire dish. If you look at my photos, you will know what I'm trying to tell you.
Good braised meat can only be achieved if the soya sauce used is good. I don't know what can you get at your area, but please buy Taiwanese premium soya sauce as first choice. If not, buy premium first draw soya sauce (like me).
I choose to cook this version of Lor Bak Png with mushrooms is because I could imagine how delicious it would be by just reading the recipe book. I couldn't wait to cook, and I couldn't wait to tell you how delicious it is. This recipe serves about 8 or upto 10 servings of rice bowl. If you have a small family like me, you can cook full recipe, eat half, and keep the other half for next day or even the day after.
- 100g Dried Chinese Mushrooms (香菇)
- 500g Pork Belly, skin on (三层肉) ... See Note*
- 80 ~ 100g Pig Skin (新鲜猪皮) ... See Note*
- 50g Pork Fats (新鲜肥猪肉) ... See Note*
- 100g Shallots (小葱头) or 40g Fried Shallots (炸葱酥) ... See Note*
- 80g Red Onions (红葱头)
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced (蒜头), optional
- 650ml Water (水)
- 150ml First Draw Soy Sauce (头抽) (I used Lee Kum Kee)... See Note*
- 1 tsp White Pepper Powder (白胡椒粉)
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (海盐)
- 1 tsp Five Spice Powder (五香粉)
- 20g Rock Sugar (冰糖) ... See Note*
- 1 pc Star Anise (八角)
- Pickled Daikon
- Boiled eggs, optional
- Some over-friendly butcher will cut away the skin for you when you buy Pork belly. Please make sure you buy the pork belly with skin on it.
- Ask butcher for fresh pig skin. Usually they will give it to you for free. Extra pig skin gives extra collagenous chew to the entire dish. But if you cannot get it, you can choose not to add pig skin into this dish.
- Pork fats is important. DO NOT skip this.
- 100g Shallot, peeled, sliced, fry, and it will give you estimation of 40g Fried shallot. That's what it means. You just got the estimation.
- I don't have Taiwanese soy sauce with me. So, I just make do with Lee Kum Kee first draw soy sauce. You can use your preferred brand first draw soy sauce, First draw soy sauce is tastier and soy sauce taste is heavier.
- Do not replace rock sugar with sugar. You need rock sugar for this dish. Rock sugar and sugar taste different.
The Lee Kum Kee First Draw Soy Sauce that I used for this dish.
- Soak dried mushrooms till soft or overnight. Squeeze away excess water, dice mushrooms.
- Cut pork belly into small pieces.
- Wash pig skin, use knife to scrape away the excess fats on the pig skin. Cut pig skin into small pieces.
- Cut pork fats into small piece. In a saucepot, throw in the pork fats pieces, under slow and low fire, let the pork fats render on it's own. Give it a stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking together. When the pork fats bits turned pale golden, it is done. Remove pork fats bits for later use and set aside the pork oil or we called it Lard. You only need estimated 3 tbsp pork oil for this dish. The rest of the oil, keep them well in the fridge. You can use it next time for any stir fry dish. Especially stir-fried noodles. WoohH!!!
- Shallots preparation mentioned as per above NOTE. peeled, sliced, fry.
- Red onions, just finely chopped them and set aside.
- In a wok, heat up 3 tbsp Pork Oil / lard, add in chopped red onions and garlic. Fry till fragrant,
- Add in mushrooms, fry until you can smell the mushrooms aroma. Add more oil if needed.
- Add in pork belly, fry until the meat turned white (almost 80% cooked).
- Add in soy sauce, fry until the soy sauce is slightly caramelized.
- Add in the rest of the seasoning. Fry until the dish gives good aroma. Add in water.
- Once water is boiled, reduce to slow and low fire, covered. Let it slowly cook for 30mins.
- After 30mins, add in fried shallots and about 2 tbsp amount of crunchy pork fat bits that you reserved earlier, give it a stir. Add a little more water if necessary. Let it simmer another 15 to 20mins. Set aside for serving later.
Braised pork dish is very forgiving. You can braise a pot. Keep them well. Reheat it again when you feels like eating. Infact, if you can leave this pot of goodness overnight, it would taste even better on the next day. When you intend to cook this braised pork at home, be warned that you need to cook extra rice.
This braised dish will give you very little and thick sauce. To achieve the desired effect, you will need to understand this part. Although slow braising could reduce the water level, but what thickened the sauce is the natural collagen that comes from the pig's skin. This also explains why extra pig's skin is added to be braised together. The translucent pieces of pig's skin is braised to perfection is an absolute delight to savor.
Oh yes. For those who wants to know how I prepare the eggs. But this is NOT how Taiwanese Lor Bak Png eggs supposed to look like. Taiwanese Lor Bak Png eggs is hard boiled eggs. I prepared this eggs to eat with the braised pork rice bowl is because Max wants it.
- Add a tsp of vinegar in boiling water. Cook eggs for 5mins.
- Remove eggs from boiling water after 5mins and put eggs into the ice-cold water and let eggs cool down into ice-cold temperature before removing the shells.
- Soak eggs into soya sauce mixture (1 part soya sauce, 1 part mirin, 1 part water) for a day.
I would highly recommend you to try replicating it. I love it! I love the pig skin! And I'm sure most who had tried it would agree too!