Vegan Taiwanese Braised Tempeh

An easy, authentic vegan version of classic Taiwanese Braised Pork (Lu Rou Fan) using tempeh. Marked by a sweet, savory, and umami sauce, this has quickly become one of my favorite ways to cook tempeh.

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.

Overall, I am very happy with how it turned out, considering that I usually don’t like tempeh. The tempeh held up really well and retained a firm and meaty texture after braising, and the mushrooms provide a nice chewy textural contrast. Not to mention the flavors were absolutely spot on!


Vegan Taiwanese Braised Tempeh

5 from 6 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: LunchCuisine: TaiwaneseDifficulty: Easy
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Easy, authentic vegan version of classic Taiwanese Braised Pork (滷肉飯 Lu Rou Fan) using tempeh. Marked by a sweet, savory, and umami sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 block (230 g) tempeh

  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 1.5 cups hot water (for soaking mushrooms)

  • 2 teaspoons doubanjiang (spicy bean paste)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

  • 1 shallot, finely minced

  • 2 dried chilis, deseeded & minced

  • 1 whole star-anise (optional)

  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine (or mirin)

  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Directions

  • Prepare the Tempeh. First, crumble up the tempeh with your hands into a “minced pork” texture (if your tempeh is frozen, let it thaw completely first). Boil a pot of water and blanch the tempeh for about 10 minutes to rid its bitter aftertaste. When 10 minutes is up, strain out the tempeh from the water and let cool. Set aside.
  • Prepare the Shiitake Mushrooms. Soak shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take out the mushrooms and mince them finely. Reserve the mushroom soaking liquid as well.
  • Braise the Tempeh. In a pot or wok, heat up 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or other neutral oil) on medium heat. Add the doubanjiang and fry until fragrant (the oil should turn orange), about 1 minute. Follow with the garlic, ginger, dried chilis, and shallots. Fry while constantly stirring for 2-3 minutes, then add back the minced tempeh and minced mushrooms, along with the star-anise (if adding). Cook to lightly brown the tempeh, about 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pot with soy sauce, mushroom-soaking water, Shaoxing wine, and dark brown sugar (I like to pre-combine them). Cover and braise for 15-20 minutes. Near the end of the braising, remove the lid and reduce the braising liquid to concentrate the flavors. Adjust seasoning with salt at the end.
  • Assemble. Serve over white rice with fresh scallions and pickled radishes (or other pickled vegetables). Enjoy while warm.

Notes

  • Choice of Vegan Protein. If you do not like tempeh, I recommend using crumbled firm tofu! Store-bought vegan ground meat such as those from Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat also work perfectly for this recipe.

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

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