Lo Han Jai

About this recipe: I've heard this dish being called Buddha's Delight or simply jai. Traditionally served on the first day of Chinese New Year, this dish is in keeping with the Buddhist tradition of cleansing the body and that no fish, chicken or livestock are killed for food on the first day of the new year. Depending on your family recipe, there could be more or less ingredients including dried oysters, black moss (fat choy), fried tofu or cloud ear mushrooms. This is my friend Delia's grandmother's recipe.

Pat Central Region, Singapore

Ingredients

Serves: 6 

  • 8 medium Chinese dried mushrooms
  • 30g dried lily buds
  • 4 wood ear mushrooms
  • 2 dried bean curd sticks (fu zhu)
  • 100g tanghoon (bean thread noodles)
  • 50g gingko nuts (canned is OK)
  • 1/2 small white cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic. chopped
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt
  • 250ml vegetable broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

Directions

Prep:25min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Extra time:20min soaking  ›  Ready in:1hr15min 

  1. In separate bowls, soak the Chinese mushrooms, lily buds, wood ear mushrooms, bean curd sticks, and tanghoon in warm water for at least 20 minutes or until soft. When softened, drain all the ingredients. Discard all the water except for the mushroom liquid.
  2. Squeeze the Chinese mushrooms dry, stem and cut the caps into thin slices. Reserve the mushroom soaking liquid.
  3. Remove the hard end from the lily buds and tie a knot in the middle of each individual strand to prevent it from expanding while cooking.
  4. Clean wood ear mushrooms thoroughly under running water and remove any hard spots. Chop coarsely. Cut dried bean curd into 5 by 10cm strips.
  5. In a large wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook the garlic until fragrant. Raise the heat to high and add the mushrooms and cabbage and stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the cabbage is limp.
  6. Add the oyster sauce, sugar, salt to taste, lily buds, wood ear mushrooms, bean curd sticks, tanghoon, and gingko nuts. Stir everything swiftly around the wok. Add the broth and mushroom liquid and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the tanghoon are fully cooked (they will be translucent) and the flavors absorbed. Check occasionally to see if the mixture is drying out and add water if necessary.
  8. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with sesame oil if desired and serve immediately.

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