Luo Han Zhai/ Loh Han Chai (罗汉斋)- 2

Luo Han Zhai, Loh Han Chai, Food For Tots

Luo Han Zhai*/ Loh Han Chai^ (braised mixed vegetables) is a popular home-cooked vegetarian dish during Chinese New Year. As it uses a lot of ingredients which require braising, the preparation is tedious and time-consuming. For recipe, please refer to my earlier post.
(* - pronunciation in Mandarin / ^- pronunciation in Cantonese )

Although “lam yue” (南乳 fermented red beancurd) is used as the main seasoning for this dish, not many people like the taste as it is an acquired taste, me and my son included. When I chanced upon Suzie Wong’s Chinese New Year cooking shows on Youtube, I learnt that there is another method of cooking this vegetarian dish. (For those who are unfamiliar with Suzie Wong, she is the host for a TVB Hong Kong cooking show called “SO FAR 苏 GOOD”).
I had tried her recipe in making scrambled eggs with tomatoes that has proven to be fantastic!). Instead of using “lam yue”, she uses 2 types of seasonings, oyster sauce and sesame oil to braise the mixed vegetables. And, I agree with her view that if the vegetables are fresh, there is no need for seasoning of strong flavour like “lam yue”. After trying it out myself, I concluded that her method produces an acceptable taste to both my son and myself. Below is her recipe I had translated from Youtube :

Ingredients :
黄芽白(Chinese cabbage) * – wash and cut into halves
干冬菇 (dried Chinese mushrooms) * – wash, soak, discard stems and sliced at 45°. For fresh Chinese mushrooms, rinse over running water
云耳 (dried cloud ear fungus/ wan yu)* – wash, soak and tear out the hard part
粉丝 (glass noodle)* – soak and cut into smaller length
发菜 (black moss/ fatt choi) – soak
生筋 (dried gluten ball) - blanch over boiling water, rinse and cut into halves
白果 (gingko nuts) * – crack the shells, peel the skin and wash
荷兰豆 (snow peas) * – use “shocking method” - wash and blanch over hot water followed by immersion in cold water (filled with ice cubes) to retain the green colour

The 8 ingredients signify prosperity, but you can add or replace with other ingredients. As I don’t have all the required ingredients on hand, I just made do with whatever I have in my kitchen. My personal combination consists of all items marked * plus carrots and beancurd puff.


1) Fill up water in a large wok/ pot and bring to a boil, add in dash of salt. Add in the harder parts of the cabbage to cook first first and then followed by leafy leaves. Cook until 70% done as you still need to braise them later on.
2) Leave some water on the wok/ pot and add in the rest of the ingredients, except for snow peas which will be added just before serving
3) Season with oyster sauce and sesame oil. Start to braise the vegetables. Stir constantly until it dries. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
4) Once it is done, wait until it cools down and keep in the fridge. This dish is best consumed overnight as it will be more flavourful.
5) To serve the next day, reheat and add in cooked snow peas to mix before serving.

Cooking tips:
1) Do not use light or dark soy sauce as it causes the dish to turn sour.
2) Use more sesame oil if necessary so that the dish will look moist.
3) For better taste and flavour, use only premium grade oyster sauce and sesame oil.

For those who like to view the step-by-step preparation of this dish, please watch this video at Youtube.


Pam said...

I love the flavors and textures of this dish. The photo is excellent.

pigpigscorner said...

Looks gorgeous! Lovely photo. I didn't know that we can't add light/dark soy sauce in this! I learnt something new! Thanks for the link, she's quite fun to watch!

Little Inbox said...

I like Luo Han Zhai too, but different version on Luo Han Zhai consist of different kinds of vegies.

Dora said...

I'm sure my chef would love it. ;)

New Kid on the Blog said...

Ooooo.... this is one of my favourite. :)

mycookinghut said...

What a great dish!! I have almost forgotten about this dish.. I just love all the ingredients!

Bits of Life 'n' Taste said...

One of my favourite! Lovely and yummy!

Selba said...

Very colorful... must be delicious :)

Food For Tots said...

Pam: Tks. Glad that you like it.

Pigpigscorner: Her tip is new to me too. U r her fan too? High five!!

Little Inbox: As I know, there are many versions among the Chinese. I also use diff combination each time I cook this dish.

Dora: Hope he like it! Give it a try and let me know the results.

NKOTB: I am sure your mom's version will be superb!

My cooking hut: Guess you have not been going home during CNY for quite a while, huh? Hehehe!

Selba: Is it new to you? Give it a try!

Beachlover said...

your loh han chai really look good! I like to add some glass noodles in it!!oh! don't forget spicy chili sauce too! lol!

cariso said...

You are Suzie Wong's fan! :)

Food For Tots said...

Beachlover: Tks. Never try with spicy chili sauce before. Hmmm...just wonder what would it taste.... Actually, I had added a small amt of glass noodles in my dish. If you look closely with a pair of binoculars, you may spot a few strands (esp the 2nd photo). Hehehe!

Cariso: Besides Suzie Wong, I am also a fan of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. How abt u? ;)

Nazarina A said...

I need all the prosperity I can get, so you betcha! I will attempt to make this vibrant dish!

mycookinghut said...

You are right! I haven't been back specifically for CNY for a long long time :(
I think the last time I was in Malaysia for CNY was 5 years ago.
When I go back to Malaysia, it's usually after CNY... how annoying!!

lisaiscooking said...

This looks light and delicious. The carrots added nice color too.

Food For Tots said...

Nazarina A: When u make this dish, let me know in advance so that I can inform the God of Prosperity to visit you. Hehehe!

My cooking hut: Since moving to Spore, I also have to forego the reunion dinner in my hometown due to time constraints. Miss the CNY atmosphere so much. :(

Lisaiscooking: FYI, this dish is always served with fried noodles or steamed rice during CNY. ;)

tigerfish said...

Who said vegetarian food is boring? This looks so delicious.