This vegan Lu Rou Fan 素滷肉飯 (Sù Lǔ ròu fàn) is a comforting meal made with simple ingredients that my family loves. The recipe is vegan, family-friendly, and super easy to make, 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 an iconic Taiwan comfort food that 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 recreate that wonderful aroma.
If you are a tofu lover like me, you’ll want to make a big batch; 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.
KEY ingredients to a delicious vegan Lu Rou Fan:
- Tofu – Firm tofu works the best. Check out how I cook my tofu to create the texture for this dish.
- 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, Shiitake, and King Oyster Mushrooms.
How to cook Vegan Lu Rou Fan
Step 1: Prepare your tofu.
I’m using firm tofu to create the best meaty texture but how? You’ll need to dry the mashed tofu in a non-stick pan, then crisp them up with oil. With just a little patience, you’ll have the best-textured tofu later.
Step 2: Add the remaining ingredients
Drizzle in with a little more oil, and sauté mushrooms and shallots until fragrant or until shallots turn translucent.
Then, in goes the scallions and garlic. Give it a good stir to release the garlic’s aroma.
Step 3: Seasoning
Season with white pepper, 5-spice powder, and sugar. Stir to combine.
Continue to season with soy sauce, cooking wine, and finally add in the water. Tip: I like to quickly stir the soy sauce with the ingredients to coat the tofu before adding cooking wine.
Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and let the mixture cook until it reduced to half.
Thicken the sauce further with a cornstarch slurry.
Step 4: Serve warm with a bowl of rice
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 more than half of the original volume. Then, slowly add cornstarch slurry over low heat while stirring continuously. It will take a few seconds for the sauce to thicken
Check out my other Tofu recipes:
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
- SUPER Tasty!!
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!
Lu Rou Fan – Braised Tofu Rice Bowl ‘素滷肉飯’
- 16 oz [397g] firm tofu pressed, drained & mashed
- 4 oz [130g] mushrooms chopped (used King Oyster)
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 large shallots finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons [18g] green onions chopped
- 3 cups [700ml] of water
- cornstarch slurry mix 1 tablespoon corn starch with 1 tablespoon of 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
- Heat up a large non-stick pan and cook mashed tofu until slightly dry, add 2 tablespoons of oil and continue to stir fry until golden brown and crispy.
- Push the tofu to the side of the pan, add in more oil (if needed), then sauté mushrooms and shallots until shallots turn translucent and mushrooms are fully cooked through.
- Add in the chopped scallions and garlic and continue to cook for another 30 seconds or until garlic is aromatic.
- Season with white pepper, 5-spice powder, and sugar, then stir to combine.
- Add in the soy sauce, cooking wine, water and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
- 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.
- If you prefer a darker color sauce, feel free to add a tad of thick caramel sauce (thick dark soy sauce).
- 5-spice powder – if you can’t find this powder, please use below and add it along with the water, then remove them before serving.
- 1 star-anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- 2-3 fennel seeds
- a few Sichuan peppercorn