Lor Bak, as it’s known in Malaysia, is a Fujian dish that is widely adopted in this region. It is roughly translated as braised meat.
The main seasoning in lorbak is the Chinese five-spice powder, which consists of a mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, sichuan peppercorn and fennel seeds. Which is why it is known as ngo hiang in Indonesia and Singapore, and quekiam in the Philippines, both of which translate to mean five-spice.
It’s one of those dishes that we often eat outside because it involves so much preparation if we are to cook it ourselves. But it’s also one of those dishes that I look forward to every Chinese New Year. Who doesn’t like the crispy beancurd skin and the well-marinated meat?
This recipe, adapted from Nonya Flavours published by The Star, has given me the best results for this dish and is the one that we use for our Chinese New Year dinners.
The ingredients are actually very simple but just take a lot of work, especially in peeling the water chestnuts. It will save you some work if you can buy canned water chestnuts.
Also, you can shred the vegetables in a mandolin. But as any Peranakan cook will tell you, the texture is different if you julienne by hand.
Be sure to keep the beancurd sheets covered while you are wrapping the lorbak because they can get brittle if left out for too long. I usually cut it just before I need to start wrapping.
- 500g lean pork
- 100g jicama
- 5 water chestnuts
- 1 red onion
- 1 cucumber
- 500ml oil for frying
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 3 tsp five-spice powder
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 pieces beancurd sheets
- 1 egg yolk
- Dipping sauce:
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp five-spice powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 5 tbsp water
- 1 egg white
- Cut pork into strips, marinate overnight.
- Peel and julienne water chestnuts. Julienne jicama and onion. Combine with marinated pork. Stir in seasoning.
- Cut beancurd sheets into 15x20cm rectangles.
- Separate yolk from white of one egg, using yolk as glue and white for dipping sauce.
- Combine all dipping sauce ingredients except egg white. Bring to a low simmering boil, stirring occasionally until sauce turns smooth. Add in egg white and stir with fork to form fine strands.
- Spoon mixture into cut sheets of beancurd, fold in the sides and roll up tightly.
- Heat the oil in a pan and deep fry over medium heat until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and leave to cool.
- Slice Lor Bak and serve with sliced cucumber and dipping sauce together with bottled chilli sauce.