I married into a non-pork eating family. When people find out, they often wonder aloud if we are keeping kosher or halal, but it is simply because hub’s family was strongly influenced for many years by a close friend who was a Messianic Jew. He singlehandedly wiped out pork from their food repertoire (and eggplant as well although that was because he cooked so much eggplant for them, and maybe badly as well, which is why to this day hubs has a severe eggplant aversion). He somehow convinced them that it was holier and healthier not to eat pork, which I didn’t quite buy. After all, this was the man who, when asked to read the scripture 1 Corinthians 13:1 to 13 for the wedding service, stunned us all by going up to the lectern and reading verse 1 and 13 only. I was never quite convinced by his judgment after that. In the early years of marriage I tried to follow along the no pork dictum, and to this day we cook very little pork in my home. However, there are just some dishes that we can’t quite do without such as roast pork belly with crispy crackling…yum! Or just bacon. Who can live without bacon? Anyway I do sneakily bring pork in once in a while. A lot of Chinese dishes can’t quite do without pork mince which I think is juicier and more robust in flavour than chicken mince. Anyway to set the record straight, hubs does actually eat pork once in a while. Like me, he finds bacon irresistible. It also helps that this family friend, dear man, has gone on to a better place so that he doesn’t get shocked at the backsliding,
Taiwanese Lu Rou Fan is a simple peasant dish which is nothing more than just meat sauce over rice. It is probably as ubiquitous as spaghetti and Bolognese sauce in Italy. It is a Chinese comfort food classic. And it is the simple things that we crave for the most. This dish uses ground or minced pork although some other recipes use finely sliced pork belly. To make this dish low carb, instead of using rice, this recipe substitutes minced cauliflower. Although cauliflower has a more vegetable-y flavor, lightly sauté-Ing the cauliflower with garlic and shallots makes it a great base for the meat sauce.
Taiwanese Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork Rice)
- 1/2 head cauliflower
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp fried shallots
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fried crispy shallots
- 250g minced pork
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar substitute
- 1/2 tsp five spice powder
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp chinese cooking wine
- 1/4 tsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
- Cut the cauliflower into florets, then, using a food processor, chop to fine rice-like size.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or frying pan. Sauté the minced garlic till fragrant and just starting to brown.
- Add cauliflower mince into the pan and stir fry for about a minute. Add the light soy sauce, white pepper and 1 tbsp of fried shallots and continue to sauté for another 2 – 3 minutes, then take off the heat and set aside.
- In another clean pan, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil over moderate to high heat. Saute the garlic for about 1/2 minute till fragrant. Add the minced pork and brown the pork.
- Add the seasoning – dark and light soy sauce, fish sauce, chinese wine, sesame oil as well as the pepper and five spice powder. Add the water and sugar substitute and mix well, continuing to braise for another 4 – 5 minutes.
- Take off the heat and serve on top of the cauliflower rice.
Note: cauliflower rice is the usual low carb substitute for rice. I know the flavour is different from the starchy grains of rice that we are used to as a staple in Asian food, but it is a great base for braised dishes like this. Just after I made this dish, hubs came home with roti prata and biryani. The curries went great with the cauliflower rice.