Buddha’s Delight – Chinese Vegetable Stew

Buddha’s delight (罗汉斋) is a dish with a quite long history in China.Literally it is a common Chinese style vegetable stew.

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

In China, people usually go to temples, expressing their good wishes or meeting friends at the first and the fifteen days of the lunar calendar. Staying a day around, the temple usually serves a vegan diet mainly made from tofu, vegetables and mushrooms. We call this meal “斋饭”, meaning “vegan diet”. Among those dishes, a mixed vegetable stew is pickled as a symbol, indicating that the monks gather together and eating together. This is a very basic version and I will explain why I choose those ingredients to make this dish and how those ingredients work together to make a yummy dish out of common and plain ingredients.

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

Ingredients of Buddha’s delight differ from region to region, but also are seasonal. In the middle part of China, Buddha’s delight usually contains only vegetables and mushrooms. Thousands of miles away, in Guangdong area (Cantonese cuisine), bread thread noodles are usually added as an ingredient to absorb the flavors released by the vegetables and sometimes fermented tofu is used as a season.

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

Shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms and beech mushrooms can provide various types of amino acid which can work together and enhance each other. In winter days, cabbage and radish are also great options. Fried tofu (油豆腐) is a very good option for this dish as you can see there are lots of holes inside which can absorb the seasonings and flavors.

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

For fresh vegetable part, I choose snow peas and broccoli this time. You can also add celery, carrots, cabbage or other seasonal vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small sections
  • 1/2 bunch of bean thread noodles , pre-soaked with cold water (optional)
  • 4 fresh Shiitake mushrooms, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup beech mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup white beech mushrooms
  • 5 fried tofu, cut into halves
  • Wood ear mushrooms , pre-soaked and well washed
  • Snow peas , cut into halves
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch + 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil

Steps

I add broccoli with purpose. To keep broccoli crunchy,I highly recommend blanching the broccoli previously and add it along with easy to cook snow peas.

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

Heat oil in wok and fry garlic until aromatic. Place wood ear mushrooms, and all fresh mushrooms. Fry for 1 minutes until almost soft.

Place in fried tofu and soaked bean thread noodles. Pour in 1 cup of water, then add around 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce. Simmer for half minutes. Place blanched broccoli and snow peas.

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Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

Stir the starch water and continue cooking until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

At last, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix well and serve hot.

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

Buddha’s Delight – Chinese Vegetable Stew

Popular Chinese style vegetable stew also named as Buddha’s Delight

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Chinese

Servings: 2

Author: Elaine

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head broccoli cut into small sections
  • 1/2 bunch of bean thread noodles pre-soaked with cold water (optional)
  • 4 fresh Shiitake mushrooms cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup beech mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup white beech mushrooms
  • 5 fried tofu cut into halves
  • Wood ear mushrooms pre-soaked and well washed
  • Snow peas cut into halves
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch + 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring enough water to a boiling and then blanch the broccoli for 20 seconds. Transfer out.
  2. Heat oil in wok and fry garlic until aromatic. Place wood ear mushrooms, and all fresh mushrooms. Fry for 1 minutes until almost soft.
  3. Place in fried tofu and soaked bean thread noodles. Pour in 1 cup of water, then add around 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce. Simmer for half minutes. Place blanched broccoli and snow peas.
  4. Stir the starch water and continue cooking until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  5. At last, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix well and serve hot.

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Buddha's Delight |chinasichuanfood.com

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