Lo Han Jai
Also known as "Buddhist Vegetarian Stew," is traditionally served on
the first day of the lunar Chinese New Year, to cleanse the body.
Since ingredients for Lo Han Jai are not easily available in most
food markets, this is a simplified version. Although the list of
ingredients appear lengthy, once everything is gathered, the cooking
2 T. vegetable oil
8 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked in hot water for ten minutes,
squeeze excess water, remove stems, leave whole - save soaking water
1/2 c. dried fungus (cloud ears), soak in warm water, cut into
1/2 c. sliced bamboo shoots
8 fresh Chinese water chestnuts, peeled, cut into quarters
1 whole carrot, peeled, cut to julienne strips
2 c. Napa cabbage, torn into small pieces
1 c. vegetarian or chicken broth
2 oz. bean thread - boil in water to cover for 5 minutes. Drain.
1 c. firm bean cake (tofu), cut to 1/2" cubes
8 snow peas, remove strings, cut to thin slivers
2 c. fresh bean sprouts
2 T. soy sauce (low-sodium best)
1 T. cornstarch mixed well with 2 tsp. cold water
1 tsp. sesame oil
Heat wok until hot; add vegetable oil. Stir-fry mushrooms, fungus,
bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, carrot, cabbage; cook for 3-4
minutes over high heat. Add broth; cover and cook for 5 minutes over
low heat. Add bean cake, bean sprouts, snow peas and soy sauce.
Cover and simmer for two minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture to form
a light gravy, adjusting if necessary. Drizzle with sesame oil.
Note: Traditional Lo Han Jai ingredients might include: ginkgo nuts,
lotus root, dried oysters, lily stems, seaweed hair, fried tofu, and
dried bean curd sticks.