This Lu Rou Fan is a comforting meal made with simple ingredients that my family loves. The recipe is vegan, family-friendly, and super easy to make that is perfect for your weeknight meals.
What is Lu Rou Fan ‘滷肉飯’?
‘Lu’ translates to braise, ‘Rou’ is meat and ‘Fan’ means rice in Chinese. So, it’s basically braised meat rice. It is the most iconic Taiwan’s comfort food which is traditionally made from minced pork. If you have been to Taiwan, you may have seen this at street food or specialized stalls just for this dish. I veganized mine by using tofu, mushrooms, and spices to create that wonderful aroma in this dish.
If you are a tofu lover like me, you’ll want to make a big batch and it tastes even better the next day. That said, it’s definitely a perfect lunchbox dish for work or school. Please check the steps below on how to create this dish with the amazing ‘meaty’ texture.
A few KEY ingredients to a delicious Lu Rou Fan:
- Chinese Cooking wine or Michiu – can be substituted with dry sherry or vegetable broth
- Chinese 5-spice powder – gives the dish an aromatic flavor, so use your favorite brand. If you can’t find this blend at the store, see my notes for the substitution.
- Mushrooms – add an umami touch to this dish. I prefer to use low moisture content mushrooms such as Bella and Shiitake.
Important steps while cooking
- Pan fry mashed tofu until golden brown in a non-stick pan. Add enough oil to cook the tofu until you get a crispy outer layer. This will give the tofu the ‘meaty’ texture once you add the sauce. Do not rush on this step.
- Use your favorite 5-spice powder with the aroma that you like. I also love to use white pepper but black pepper can be substituted.
- Once you add the ingredients to the tofu mixture, let it simmer over low-medium heat and allow enough time for tofu to absorbs the sauce. The rule of thumb is to let the mixture thickened to half the original volume. Then, slowly add cornstarch slurry over low heat while stirring continuously. It will take a few seconds to thicken the sauce.
This braised tofu bowl ‘Lu Rou Fan’ is:
- Delicious with a great texture
- Perfect for meal-prep
- Customizable – for gluten-free, substitute soy sauce with tamari
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear and see your beautiful creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng on Instagram. Happy cooking, friends!
Braised tofu rice bowl ‘素滷肉飯’
- 14 oz [397g] firm tofu pressed, drained & mashed
- 4 oz [130g] mushrooms chopped (used Bella)
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons [18g] green onions chopped
- 3-4 cups [700-900g] water start with the lowest volume
- cornstarch slurry mix 1 tablespoon corn starch with 3 tablespoons water
- oil for cooking
- salt to taste
- blanched veggies
- 3 servings cooked rice
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce/tamari
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- ¼ cup [60g] Chinese cooking wine Michiu
- In a heated non-stick pan, cook mashed tofu until slightly dry, add 2 tablespoons of oil and continue to stir fry until golden brown and crispy.
- Add in mushrooms, shallots, green onions (more oil if needed), then continue to cook until shallots turn translucent and mushrooms are fully cooked through. Add garlic and cook until aromatic.
- Season with soy sauce and add in the water. Stir in five-spice powder, white pepper, and cooking wine, then continue to cook until the sauce is reduced to almost half.
- Taste test and season accordingly. If you need more sauce, add a little more water here.
- Finally, add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce by stirring constantly over low-medium heat.
- Serve warm with rice and a side of blanched veggies.
- 1 star-anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- 2-3 fennel seeds
- a few Sichuan peppercorn