Taiwanese-style Braised Tempeh “Pork” (Lu Rou Fan)

An easy, authentic vegan version of classic Taiwanese Braised Pork (Lu Rou Fan) using tempeh. Marked by a sweet, savory, and umami sauce, this bowl is the ultimate vegan comfort food.


Lu Rou Fan (滷肉飯) is a Taiwanese classic that I grew up eating. A bowl usually only costs around one to two US dollars (NTD $30 – $60), but the joy it brings is well worth thousands. I’ve been trying to make a vegan version that does the dish justice for a long time, and I found that tempeh might be a worthy attempt.

With these meaty slices of king oyster mushroom, you won’t even remember that this bowl is vegan.


An Iteration

This recipe is an iteration of my old recipe, where I used a home-made beetroot meat mix. I loved the flavors of my old recipe, but I didn’t fancy the texture very much, as the home-made meat mix became slightly mushy after braising.

The tempeh, on the other hand, held up really well and retained a firm and meaty texture after braising. However, tempeh has a bitter aftertaste that most people find unpleasant (including me). Hence the 10-ingredient-long mix of herbs and spices. I am happy to say that 95% of the aftertaste is gone after the blanching and braising process!


Taiwanese-style Braised Tempeh “Pork” (Lu Rou Fan)

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by George L. Course: LunchCuisine: TaiwaneseDifficulty: Easy
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes

Easy, authentic vegan version of classic Taiwanese Braised Pork (Lu Rou Fan) using tempeh. Marked by a sweet, savory, and umami sauce. Video Demonstration available on my instagram highlights.

Ingredients

  • 1 block tempeh (230 grams)

  • vegetable oil, for frying

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon black bean garlic sauce, I used Lee Kum Kee’s

  • 2 teaspoons spicy broad bean paste, or doubanjiang (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced

  • 1 tablespoon ground Sichuan Peppercorns

  • 2 dried chilis, seeds removed & thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground five spice

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (substitute: mirin)

  • 1 cup room temperature water

  • Toppings
  • 1 head Bok Choy

  • 2 oyster mushrooms, sliced length-wise

  • 100 grams firm tofu, cut into small cubes

Directions

  • Prepare the Tempeh. First, pull apart the Tempeh with your hands into large chunks (if your Tempeh is frozen, let it thaw completely first). Boil a pot of water and blanch the Tempeh for 10 minutes to rid its bitter aftertaste. When 10 minutes is up, remove the Tempeh from the water and let cool. Once the Tempeh is cooled enough, use your hands to crumble up the Tempeh, achieving a “minced pork” texture. Set aside.
  • Prepare the King Oyster Mushrooms. First, slice each mushroom length-wise into around 1 cm thick pieces. Then, using a sharp knife, score the flatter side side of each mushroom slice.
  • Cook the King Oyster Mushrooms. From here, we’re using the same pot to cook the mushrooms and braise the tempeh. In the pot, heat up a little bit of vegetable oil on high heat. Sear each slice of mushroom scored side down. Press each mushroom down with a flat spatula to ensure an even sear (otherwise they will curl up). Once the scored side is deeply brown and golden, flip and lightly cook the other side as well. Remove from the heat and set aside. Don’t wash out the pot as we want to retain that caramelized mushroom flavor at the bottom of the pot (what the French call suc).
  • Braise the Tempeh. In the same pot, heat up brown sugar on medium heat until melted and caramelized (it should achieve a darker shade). Then, add the garlic, black bean garlic sauce, spicy broad bean paste, ginger, shallots, ground Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilis, five spice, and bay leaf. Cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes, then add back the minced tempeh and cook to lightly caramelize the tempeh, around 4 minutes. Deglaze the pot with soy sauce, water, and Shaoxing wine (I like to pre-combine them). Cover and braise for at least 20 minutes. Near the end of the braising, remove the lid and reduce the braising liquid by at least half. Adjust seasoning at the end of the reduction.
  • Prepare Other Toppings. While the tempeh is braising, prepare any toppings you would like. I prepared some crispy tofu cubes as I did in this recipe. I also prepared Bok choy by simply blanching them in salted boiling water for around 1-2 minutes. Pickled vegetables are great as toppings as well.

Notes

  • Tofu Topping: I actually prefer cutting the tofu cubes larger than pictured in this post. Feel free to cut the tofu larger and bake them the same way! Alternatively, I love to use inari age (Japanese fried tofu) as well.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see your recreations!

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