Friday, 31 January 2014

Buddha's Delight for Chinese New Year

Buddha's Delight

I've recently discovered an excellent Chinese grocery store, less than half an hour from where I live. I know that choosing to live up a hill in the middle of nowhere isn't always compatible with being able to nip out and buy whatever exotic products I fancy, so this is quite an exciting development. In fact, it's across the road from the little Turkish place where I already spend so much money on ingredients, so I suspect that soon it will become a habit for me to pop into both shops whenever I'm in the area.

Aside from stocking up on obscure tea variants (I'm a particular fan of genmaicha, a Japanese green tea with roasted rice grains), I naturally browsed the aisles to see what I might bring home to experiment with. Having rejected the huge bag of frozen lotus root as too likely to defrost before getting home (and besides, what would I do with it all?), I settled on a few tins.

Tinned Chinese products

I was particularly excited by the bamboo shoot halves. In British supermarkets it's common to find tins of bamboo shoots which are tiny slices, but it's rare to see these complete halves on sale, and it gives a very different texture to a finished dish. Combined with a couple of different kinds of Chinese mushroom, this automatically put me in mind of one of my favourite Chinese stews.

Wikipedia tells us that Buddha's Delight is commonly enjoyed on the day after Chinese New Year, when it's traditional for everyone to purify themselves by eating vegetarian food. Although I'm vegetarian all year round, I can certainly get behind the idea of eating more healthily at this time of year. Usually this dish would contain at least one type of beancurd - often two - but my husband isn't a tofu fan so I thought I'd better skip over that part (add those, and this dish easily feeds four). I served the casserole with egg fried rice for a really filling meal.

And if you're looking for an easy dessert, you could do worse than following up with a batch of Chinese almond cookies.

Buddha's Delight

Buddha's Delight
Serves 3

For the sauce:
1 medium onion
1 large carrot
½ red pepper
1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
1tbsp sesame oil
4tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp plum sauce
2tbsp rice vinegar
8tbsp vegetable stock

200g shitake mushrooms
200g bamboo shoots
200g straw mushrooms
100g snow peas (mangetout)
200g pak choi

  1. Finely dice the carrot, onion, and red pepper. Slice the garlic and ginger.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a large lidded saucepan and sautee the carrot, onion, pepper, garlic, and ginger until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the sauces, vinegar, and stock, and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. Add the mushrooms and beansprouts to the pot.
  5. Trim the snow peas, and slice the pak choi into bite sized pieces.
  6. Once the mushrooms and beansprouts have heated through, add the snow peas and pak choi.
  7. Cover the pan to allow the vegetables to steam; this should only take a few minutes.
  8. Serve hot, with rice or noodles, and enjoy the virtuous feeling!
Buddha's Delight


Pauline Persing said...

I printed off this recipe and that for the fried rice. Both sound really good.

Becky Jerdee said...

Bamboo shoots. Makes me think of my can of palm hearts :) Great on salads.

Anonymous said...

Oh, gosh! This looks amazing! I do love eating vegetarian and even vegan meals but I'm currently not vegetarian. I like how they do this in connection with the New Year.

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Wow, that looks so good, and so healthy! Not like when you do Chinese takeout (at least, here) where it's loaded with fat.

Angie Schneider said...

The stir-fry looks light yet very flavourful and delicious!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Love how colorful it looks!

Rebecca Subbiah said...

looks tasty love veggie meals like this :-) and that tea sounds really interesting

Heidi Fuqua said...

Now, that looks good, and I hate to say it healthy. Thanks so much for the recipe.

Deena Kakaya said...

Hi Rachel, lovely post. I can relate to the excitement of exotic food stores opening up close to home! We not long ago had a South Indian store open up ten mins away and I'm thrilled.

Lovely recipe, I love plum sauce cooked into veg stock and your dish has so much depth and variety. X

Carole said...

Looks delicious! I'm pinning it to Pinterest now!

Charlotte Klein said...

Love love love bamboo shoots. This looks delicious, Rachel!

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