It has become my parents' tradition to prepare this vegetarian dish (Luo Han Zhai) on the first day of Chinese New Year. Since I got married, I have missed this dish for quite some time. This year is even worst as my whole family (hubby, son and myself) fell sick and didn't have the chance to celebrate CNY in our hometown.
When I started to do my own research on this dish, I was so confused looking at the variations among the recipes. Each recipe has it own long list of ingredients and complicated preparation and cooking methods. Thanks to the advices and tips from my mother and cousin sister. After several attempts, I finally managed to cook a more "presentable" Luo Han Zhai but it is still far from the perfection. Maybe I still need to consult my "si fu" again to master the skill. Below is a simple recipe I used lately.
Ingredients (pls refer to the pics below):
450g 白菜 Chinese cabbage (washed, cut into halves)
7 medium sized fresh shitake mushroom (discarded stems, blanch over boiling water)
1 small canned button mushroom (blanch over boiling water, cut into halves)
100g carrots (sliced)
5 baby sweetcorns (abt 40g) (cut into small chunk)
6g 金针 golden needles/ golden bulbs (washed, soaked, cut away both ends and tied a knot)
4g 云耳 cloud ear fungus/wan yee (washed, soaked, tear off the hard part)
5 tau pok (blanch over boiling water, cut into halves)
6 sweet tau kee (soaked for a while until you can cut it into small square pieces)
6g 粉丝 glass noodles (soaked, cut into 6-7 cm long)
3-4 garlic cloves (chopped)
Other ingredients can be included:
- Cauliflower, broccolli, cabbage
- Straw mushrooms, dried mushrooms
- Tau kee (beancurd sticks)
- Hair fungus (fatt choi)
1 piece 南乳 lam yue / fermented red beancurd (mashed)
1½ tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornflour (mixed with 3 tbsp water)
1. Heat 2 tbsp oils in a cooking pan and brown the garlic.
2. Add in red fermented bean curd and fry over low fire until fragrant.
3. Add in baby sweetcorna and carrots. Stir fry for a while.
4. Add in 2 types of mushrooms. Stir fry for a while.
5. Add in cloud ear fungus and tau pok. Continue to stir fry.
6. Add in the hard part of the Chinese cabbage. Cover with lid and simmer until the veggie is softened.
7. Add in the remaining leaves of the Chinese cabbage. Cover with lid and simmer until all the leaves shrink. If the ingredient is dry, add bit of water to keep it moisture. Add in golden needles and stir well.
8. Then pour the mixture into a cooking pot(because my non-stick pan takes a very longer time to cook this dish). Add in water (about ½ rice bowl) and simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Add in seasonings and continue to simmer for another 10 mins.
10.Toss occasionally to prevent the bottom being burnt or overcooked.
11. Add in sweet tau kee and glass noodles. Simmer for another 2 mins. (I didn't pre-fry the sweet tau kee for healthy reason so it can become mushy if it is cooked or soak in the Luo Han Zhai for too long .)
12.Adjust the seasonings if necessary and add in cornflour mixture for thickening.
13. Turn off heat. Wait for another 10-15 mins before serving so as to allow all the ingredients to absorb the gravy and make this dish more tasty.
Note: For pure vegetarian, garlic will not be used.
1) Chinese cabbage
2) Clockwise: carrots, button mushrooms, fresh shitake mushrooms, baby sweetcorns
3) Clockwise: golden needles, tao pok, cloud ear fungus, sweet tau kee, glass noodles
4) Fermented red beancurd
You can also refer to this site for another variation of Luo Han Zhai.