I still remember the day when I was still very young, probably about the age of 10; there was one day my mother suddenly gave my brother and me some money saying that we should eat in the restaurant. That was a surprise. My brother and I went to eat in a very famous restaurant selling “braised pork on rice” (Lu Rou Fan: 滷肉飯 in Chinese). Of course, you have to know I was growing up in a little village in the country side, so a famous restaurant doesn’t mean it’s luxurious. It’s in fact an eating place with plain tables and chairs. There’s no decoration and romantic atmosphere. But that day was a big day for me. The first time I ate braised pork on rice in a restaurant.
Braised pork on rice is still a dish which you can easily find in Taiwan. Nowadays, people are rich so most people won’t just order this dish by itself like I did before. You can eat it together with other dishes.
There is another dish which is very similar to braised pork on rice in Taiwan which is called “braised dishes” (Lu Wei: 滷味) which is also one of my favorites. Back in the days when I was still living in Taipei, I would go to eat this dish in the night market after work. I worked as a journalist before for a weekly magazine. It was very stressful, so eating these braised dishes became a moment of relaxation for me.
Braised dishes are similar to braised pork on rice. In Taiwan, we call both of them ‘snack’ (Xiao Chi: 小吃). The difference is that braised pork on rice is made from the ground meat and you eat it together with rice. As for braised dishes, they are made from all different kinds of stuffs like hard tofu, cabbages, mushrooms, enoki etc. I always ordered cabbages and enoki.
If you know how to make braised pork on rice, then you can make braised dishes as well. Luckily it’s very easy to make. You don’t need any technique. What you need is
Ingredients (Please note that this portion is good for 2 persons for 3 meals)
Cinnamon: 1 stick
Star anise: 3 pieces
Bay leaf: 5 leafs
Nutmeg powder: 1 tbsp
Chinese liquorice: 1 tbsp
Dried basil: 1 tsp
Black pepper: 1 tsp
(To save your time, you sometimes can buy the braised dishes package which includes all the ingredients listed above from the Asian shop. It’s called Lu Wei Bao: 滷味包. And it’s vegan.)
Ginger: 5 slices
Cristal Sugar: 1 coffee spoon
Soy Sauce: 5 coffee spoons
Rice wine: 2 coffee spoons
Water: 1 liter
Vegan ground meat: 480 grams.
Shiitake: 150 grams
Step by Step
It’s really very simple., first I would suggest to put cinnamon, star anise, bay leaf, leafs nutmeg powder, Chinese liquorice, dried basil into a tea bag if you can’t find the package.
Now you only need to chop shiitake into small pieces. Then you literally just need to put all ingredients in your cooker and cook them for about 15-20 minutes. The longer you cook, the flavor gets stronger.
Voila, now you can enjoy a real typical Taiwanese snack at home. And the good thing about making this dish is you can easily prepare a portion for 2- 3 days in one go. Enjoy your meal.