Traditionally, Buddhist monks would eat Buddha’s Delight, a wonderful, nutritious, and full Chinese vegan dish.
This dish is a mix of Chinese vegetables cooked until soft in a rich, fragrant umami sauce. It is a favorite of Buddhist monks and can be found on many vegetarian menus around the world. Chinese vermicelli is made from mung bean starch. They are also called mung bean noodles, glass noodles, and cellophane noodles.
What is the Delight of Buddha?
Buddha’s Delight is a dish that is often eaten on the first day of the Chinese New Year. It is also called Luo Han Zhai in Mandarin and Lo Han Jai in Cantonese.
People think that after eating a lot of meat at the Reunion dinner the night before, a dish with a lot of vegetables would help them feel physically and spiritually clean.
In Chinese restaurants, this dish is also very popular. As a child growing up in Singapore, I didn’t eat pork, so Buddha’s Delight was always the dish I looked forward to at Chinese weddings and parties because I knew I could eat it. Other than the tasty seafood!
The ingredients you will need for LO HON MIXED VEGETABLES BUDDHA’S DELIGHT :
- 1 nest of dried rice noodles (vermicelli)
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil
- 3cm (1¼in) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 spring onions (scallions), halved then sliced lengthways
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 dried Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water, drained, and sliced into strips
- 50g dried wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water, drained, and sliced into strips
- 60g (½ cup) tinned straw mushrooms
- 2 bok choy, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 60g (½ cup) tinned bamboo shoots
- 6 baby corn cobs, halved lengthways
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 240ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 4 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. After soaking for three minutes, drain and set aside.
Set a wok over medium to high heat and add the oil, ginger, garlic, and spring onions. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, until the mixture smells good. Stir-fry for another minute after adding the onion. Add all the mushrooms, bok choy, carrot, bamboo shoots, and baby corn, and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the noodles, cornflour mixture, and sesame oil, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for two minutes. Then, slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce while stirring constantly to thicken it. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the noodles and sesame oil.
AUTHENTIC BUDDHA’S DELIGHT: No meat or fish at all.
Garlic and leeks are not allowed in traditional Buddha’s Delight. Some vegetarian diets try to stay away from strong herbs like leek, onion, and garlic. They are thought to be “hot” and to make people lustful and angry.