Luo Han Zhai

New Moon – Buddha’s Delight 罗汉斋 Luo Han Zai

Remember how I once mentioned that the Swiss like to blame all unexplainable shifts in mood and behaviour on the full/new moon? (Yes, I’m glossing over the fact that I’ve been gone for almost two months)  That pretty much means we all go a little crazy every 15 days. I can attest to that. But I don’t JUST go crazy, I also go vegetarian. Wait….that DOES sound crazy……I kid!

There’s a new moon coming up next week. So I thought, why not share this recipe now so you’d have ample time to gather all the ingredients for it, in the event that you might want to go crazy with me and not eat meat for a day.

Buddha’s delight is usually served on Chinese New Year’s day and last I checked, it doesn’t fall in June. But really, why do people only eat certain foods during certain festivities?? Why can’t you roast a turkey in March? Or have hotpot in November? Ok, I may be opening a can of worms here aaaand I’m rambling.

Luo Han Zai

Anyway, I make this dish just whenever, because we don’t really celebrate Chinese New Year’s here. I mean….who am I going to celebrate it with? I do feel bad for my kids though. They’re missing out on a beautiful tradition. On the upside, I’m saving a ton on Ang paos *wink*

The list of ingredients that go into Buddha’s delight is exhaustingly long. I hear some people also add gingko nuts and snow peas. But since I’m basically cooking this for just me, myself and I (the hubby and kids get to stay carnivores), I stick to the usual suspects. Although gingko nuts sound really good right now. Really though, Buddha’s delight is just a poshed up version of Chap Chye, which means you can pretty much throw in anything you fancy.

This dish pairs very nicely with steamed white rice but I also like to eat it just by itself. My favourite way to eat this though, is straight out of the fridge at 2 in the morning while I watch my Korean dramas.

Buddha's delight
See that tote bag? My girl made me that for mother’s day. And she was sooo thrilled when she saw me use it on one of my shopping trips. I have the cutest kids….

Buddha’s Delight 罗汉斋 Luo Han Zai

  • 1 medium head of Napa cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thinly.
  • ¼ cup dried lily buds
  • 6 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 stick of dried bean curd skin
  • ½ package bean vermicelli / tang hoon (approx. 20g)
  • 1 small bunch fatt choy  (black/hair moss)
  • 1 can of mock abalone (seitan), drained
  • 3 slices go ginger
  • 3 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 cubes nam yee, red fermented beancurd (approx. 1½ Tbs), mashed
  • 1 Tbs vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sugar
  •  dash of white pepper
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water.

Prep Luo Han Zai

  • In separate bowls, soak lily buds, mushrooms, bean curd skin and fatt choy in cold water until soft.
  • Soak vermicelli in HOT water until soft (about 3-5 mins), drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Drain lily buds and tie them into knots. Set aside.
  • Drain mushrooms, rinse and cut into halves. Mix in some soy sauce, a dash of sugar and sesame oil for more flavour. Set aside.
  • Drain beancurd skin and cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside
  • Drain fatt choy and add in 1 tsp salt. Give it a “scrub” by mixing and squeezing it with your hands. You’ll see that the water will turn black. Drain and rinse again. Squeeze dry and set aside.
  • Heat wok on medium high and add in sesame oil. Add in ginger slices and fry till they start to turn golden brown. Add in nam yee and stir-fry till fragrant.
  • Add in carrots and cabbage and mix well to coat the vegetable in nam yee.
  • Add lily buds, mushrooms, mock abalone, vegetarian oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and pepper. toss to mix well.
  • Add in broth or water, cover and simmer over low heat until carrots and cabbage are just tender, about  5 mins.
  • Remove lid, add in vermicelli and fatt choy and toss like your life depended on it. You want to coat every strand of vermicelli and fatt choy while spreading it out so that you don’t get just lumps of vermicelli or fatt choy when you eat. A pair of chopsticks is your best bet to do this.
  • Mix cornstarch with a tiny bit of water and stir it into the gravy. Give it another toss, cover and turn off the heat. Let it sit for another 3-5 mins before serving.



4 thoughts on “New Moon – Buddha’s Delight 罗汉斋 Luo Han Zai

  1. I am sooo happy you are back girl! Hope all is well! My mom and I love this dish. I’m going to see her tomorrow so I think I’ll make this for us to eat…yum! 🙂


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