Buddha’s Delight or Luo Han Zhai 罗汉斋 (罗汉全斋 if 18 ingredients are used) is a popular vegetarian dish in Chinese and Buddhist cuisine. For those who are not familiar, Buddha’s Delight is a more elaborate version of our local chap chye with a longer list of vegetarian ingredients. It is considered auspicious to eat this dish during Chinese New Year (traditionally eaten on the first day).
This recipe contains a long list of ingredients to add in your Luo Han Zhai for a sumptuous and luxurious plate, and you can change or omit the ingredients as you please.
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:20 mins
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves of garlic minced
5 slices ginger
15g (‘nam yee’/red fermented bean curd (豆腐乳)
100g napa cabbage (大白菜) cut to small pieces
small piece of fat choy (fa cai/发菜)
35g bean curd sticks (腐竹) soaked in water until softened, drained
50g bamboo shoots (笋) sliced thinly
100g dried/braised gluten (面筋) (note: you can also use mock vegetarian abalone which is made of fried gluten)
100g baby corn sliced diagonally
1 carrot peeled and slice thinly
50g snow peas (荷兰豆) gently break off the ends and pull off the “strings”
3 bean curd puffs/‘tau pok’ sliced to strips
15 vacuum-packed or canned ginkgo nuts (白果)
15 vacuum-packed or canned lotus seeds (蓮子)
30g cellophane noodles/‘tang hoon’ (粉絲) soaked in water until softened, drained
Soak the following in individual bowls of hot water for 30 mins, drain & cut to smaller pieces:
10 dried Chinese mushrooms after soaking, discard stems before cutting
10g dried black (wood ear) fungus (木耳) after soaking, trim and discard the hard portion on the centre underside of the fungus
15g dried lily buds (金针) after soaking, tie each lily bud with a knot
(A) Sauce (mix well in a small bowl)
2 tbsp vegetarian oyster flavoured sauce
a small pinch of sugar
a dash of white pepper powder
2 tsp corn flour
1 tbsp sesame oil
Directions (Stove-Top Recipe)
Heat oil in wok. Stir fry chopped garlic & ginger until fragrant. Then add nam yee and mash it to smaller pieces with the spatula.
Add cabbage and stir fry till softened (a few minutes).
Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the tang hoon) together with Sauce (A) and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil then cover with lid and let the vegetables simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Anytime the water runs dry, you can top up with hot water or stock.
When the vegetables are cooked and the water is reduced, add tang hoon and stir briefly to allow the tang hoon to absorb the sauce.
Directions (Microwave Recipe)
Add cabbage in the casserole with 50ml water. Cover with lid and microwave on high (900 watts) for 5 minutes, or until the cabbage withers. Set aside the cooked cabbage in a plate.
When the casserole has cooled, discard water and wipe it dry with paper towel. Add cooking oil, garlic, ginger and nam yee. Cover with lid and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Use a spatula to mash the nam yee.
Add the rest of the ingredients and 50ml water. Cover with lid and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir to coat the ingredients evenly with the sauce.
Prepare the sauce by mixing the ingredients listed in (A) with 2 tbsp water in a small bowl. Drizzle the sauce over the ingredients and stir thoroughly to coat the ingredients evenly with the sauce. Cover with lid and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until all the ingredients are cooked.
Noob Cook Tips
If you are serving this dish during Chinese New Year (traditionally eaten on the first day), add fat choy and arrowhead as these foods have auspicious symbolisms.
If you are cooking this dish for Buddhist vegetarians, you may wish to omit garlic as some Buddhists vegetarians do not consume it.