Easy, authentic vegan version of classic Taiwanese Braised Pork (Lu Rou Fan) using tempeh. Marked by a sweet, savory, and umami sauce. With these meaty slices of king oyster mushroom, you won’t even remember that this bowl is vegan.
Taiwanese-Style Braised Tempeh “Pork” (Lu Rou Fan) [Vegan]
For the Tempeh:
- 1 block tempeh
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon black bean garlic sauce
- 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
For the Toppings:
- 1 head bok choy
- 2 oyster mushrooms, sliced length-wise
- 100 grams firm tofu, cut into small cubes
To 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.
To 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 of each mushroom slice.
- Now, 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).
To 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. 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. Feel free to prepare some crispy tofu cubes and Bok choy (simply blanching them in salted boiling water for around 1-2 minutes.) Pickled vegetables are great as toppings as well.