Hello, hello, hello!
I’m back from my holiday and back into the swing of my regular life again! And that includes setting aside some time to blog about some delicious things I’ve been making. Going to Taiwan had a large influence on how we’ve decided I should eat at home, and it’s certainly helping to encourage me to eat more vegetables. So I thought it was only fitting that one of the first posts I should do now I’m back is a gluten-free version of one of the tastiest dishes I ate while in Taipei.
Lu Rou Fan is absolutely delicious, it’s a five spice pork dish, with lots of sauce, and is absolutely perfect with rice. I originally bought a Taiwanese cookbook and tried a recipe for it from there, but it was a disaster. I couldn’t get the right soy sauces gluten-free, it was too salty, and I found the whole thing unpleasant. I was very disappointed. But then I stumbled across an adaptation of that recipe, which had far less soy sauce and liquid, and would be much easier to change to be gluten-free! Well, this time it was a roaring success!
I swapped the soy sauce for gluten-free, soy reduced tamari, as I’m not a big salt person. I also couldn’t find gluten-free rice wine, so I used a dry sherry instead. It still tasted absolutely delicious, was very simple to put together, and made a very large portion for very little meat. With the addition of the boiled eggs, it’s very protein rich. So feel free to use whatever vegetable side dishes you’d prefer to balance it out.
Adapted from Viet World Kitchen’s
Serves: 4, Prep: 15-20 mins, Cook: Up to 2hrs
- 60g thinly sliced shallots, or a generous handful of fried shallots
- 3 tablespoons vegetable/peanut oil
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic.
- 450g pork belly or pork shoulder, chopped into small, coarse chunks
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 cup Shaoxing rice wine (I used dry sherry to be gluten-free)
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup regular soy sauce (I used salt reduced, gluten-free Tamari soy sauce)
- 3 to 4 tbsp dark soy sauce, or 2 tbsp regular soy plus 1-2 tbsp molasses (I used 2 tbsp salt reduced Tamari and 1 tbsp molasses).
- 3 or 4 medium or large eggs
- 2 green onions, green part only, cut into rings, for serving
- Steamed rice, to serve.
- If you can’t get friend shallots from the supermarket, slice up your shallots, and fry them in some of the vegetable or peanut oil until nice and brown and crisp. Remove and set on paper towel to drain.
- Add the remaining oil, then toss in the garlic and fry for about a minute or until fragrant. Add in the pork and stir it around, browning it.
- Once the pork has browned lightly all over, add in the sugar, five-spice power and star anise and stir for a minute or two until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add in the rice wine/dry sherry, and boil vigorously for 30 seconds, stirring well.
- Add in the water, and both lots of the soy sauce and molasses if using. Bring up to the boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the pot. Cook for an hour.
- Meanwhile, boil the eggs. I recommend using this method:
- Take the eggs, pop them in a saucepan and cover with cold water, adding about an inch extra of water on top. Bring up to a roiling boil, then immediately remove from the heat and cover. Leave for 6 mins, or up to 10 mins for very hard eggs.
- While the eggs are covered and cooking, put some ice and water in a bowl. If you don’t have ice, you can do what I did, which is pop an ice brick or cold pack into a plastic bag, then put it in the bowl and fill it up with water. It works a treat.
- As soon as the time is up on the eggs, remove them with a slotted spoon and gently tap them with a spoon to crack them in a few places. Pop them into the ice water for a minute or two, then remove, dry, and peel. Pop them in the fridge.
- Check the pork after the hour is up, if it’s still not as soft as you’d like, cover and cook for another half an hour to another hour.
- Add the eggs whole, or halved, and bring up to the simmer again. Then switch off the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes to let the flavours develop.