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”).
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.
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.