Taiwanese-style ground pork?
- muimi07 Feb 1, 2007 11:46 AM
My husband and I always order the same thing whenever we go to our favorite local Taiwanese tea shop -- fried pork chop rice plate. The rice usually has this yummy ground pork mixture on it. I know zilch about Taiwanese cooking so I was wondering if anyone could help enlighten me on this? It seems to be a Taiwanese staple; I see it everywhere. Any hints on how to replicate it at home would be much appreciated!
I make this at home, but it does taste a little different from restaurant varieties... as usual. :P I'll give you a very general idea on how I make it... for an actual recipe, try searching for 魯肉飯 (in Chinese), or possibly by pronunciation "lu rou".
Ground pork (estimate 1 lb)
Shallots, finely chopped (estimate 2 or 3 whole shallots = 4 or 6 pieces?)
Dried black mushrooms (not sure what they're called... available in Asian markets) (estimate 3?)
Five-spice powder or lu bao (seasoning packet like a tea bag, used for making items with this kind of flavor, like lu dan, the kind of egg you probably get with the rice plates)
Black mushrooms need to be soaked in hot water until soft. Then either chop them or slice in small thin slices.
Heat oil (just enough to coat pan) in the pan and add shallots. Cook until you can really smell the shallot; shallots should be lightly browned. Add the ground pork and cook while stirring until almost brown. Add black mushrooms and continue cooking until meat is brown. Add about 3:2 ratio of soy sauce and water, just enough to cover pork mass with liquid. Add the seasoning bag. Cover pan and cook until there is barely any liquid left (stir occasionally and take in the aroma). If using five-spice powder, generously add spice after some of hte liquid has boiled down. Basically season to taste.
If that makes any sense at all, I hope you enjoy the outcome. Sorry it's not complete in any way... hope you can find a recipe that works for you!
My recipe is similar. These are VERY rough porportions I'm pulling from memory, so leave yourself room to tweak (that is, add less of everything and add more as you go to be safe).
1 lb ground pork
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar (or any sugar)
3 star anise
1/2 cup dried deep fried shallots (you can find these in an Asian market; they look like tiny fried onions, sort of the color of fried chicken or Funnyuns). These make a big difference for me in terms of giving the pork the texture and flavor like in the restaurants.
2 tablespoons lard. If you want that sliky mouthfeel and are wondering how they do it, it's lard. My boyfriend never loved this pork until I added lard, and suddenly it was the best ro zao he'd ever tasted.
I use 2-4 chopped shitakes instead of wood ear, but it's a matter of preference.
Fry pork until mostly cooked through, add everything except the onions, simmer until pork is browned all the way through, taste and add more soy sauce or water as needed (I add a little salt if it needs more salt but not to be any darker), and then add the shallots. I like to add quite a lot. Simmer until right consistency.
Part of the reason those fried shallots are so instrumental is because they're usually fried in lard. My mom always had a hard time getting them in the States so they just ended up er....smuggling them over on trips back to Taiwan.
I have a feeling the cut of meat is improtant too. This dish is fantastic in Taiwanese food stalls, and my guess is that they use a much fattier cut of pork that they chop up and let bathe in the soy sauce mixture to let the flavors really seep into the meat. .