One of my biggest regrets after living for so many years in China is not having travelled to Taiwan. I’m a big fan of Taiwanese cuisine and while I had good experiences in Shanghai, I know the food must be better in situ. If I go there someday, I’ll spend all my time wandering in food markets and eating Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings). In the meantime, I’m comforting myself with a classic Taiwanese recipe of braised pork: Lu Rou.
Lu Rou is usually eaten with steamed rice (Lu Rou Fan) but this time I wanted to try noodles. Making your own noodles is not difficult. It takes a little effort but like everything homemade it’s always very rewarding. These noodles are basically flour and water. They have similar texture and size as udon. Of course, you can play with the size by adjusting the thickness when slicing and rolling the dough.
For the braised meat, I use pork but any kind of ground meat would work. The dish is served with bok choy which goes really well with the sauce. If you’ve never had Taiwanese food, this is a great way to start!
Taiwanese Braised Pork & Handmade Noodles
- 3 1/4 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (50g) water
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lb (500g) ground pork
- 4 eggs
- 5 chinese dried mushrooms
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 thumb of ginger, minced
- 1/4 cup fried shallots
- 4 tbsp rice wine
- 1 tsp five spice
- 1 tbsp rock sugar or granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 cups water
- pinch of salt
- Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups water for an hour. Remove stems and cut in thin strips. Reserve water.
- Place eggs into a small pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, cook for 6 minutes. Drain and soak in cold water for 5 minutes. Remove the shells.
- In a large pot on medium high heat, cook garlic, ginger and shallots until golden.
- Add ground pork and cook for 3 minutes, using the back of a spatula to break up big chunks of meat. Add rice wine and cook for a minute. Add sugar, five spice, white pepper, salt, fried shallots, mushrooms, eggs, dark and light soy sauce. Add the water used for soaking the mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hour.
- While the pork is cooking, combine flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Make a well, add water in the center and slowly incorporate flour. Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes until smooth. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and rest for an hour.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes, cover in plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes.
- Using a rolling pin roll the dough into 1/5 inch thick. Make 3 folds, sprinkling flour on each fold.
- Slice in 1/5 inch strips. Loosen noodles and sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
- Cook bok choy in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove from water, bring water back to a boil and add noodles. Cook for about 3 minutes, checking for doneness. The noodles should be chewy. Drain and serve with braised pork, bok choy and egg.