Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Buddha's Delight

You can find all our posts on Chinese New Year HERE

For new year's day, we made Buddha's Delight. This vegetarian stir fry is traditionally eaten on the first day of the new year.

Some of the ingredients could only be found in our local grocery, such as chinese black mushrooms (dried), ginkgo nuts, dried bean thread and lily sprouts.

The dried bean thread was by far the strangest ingredient. It comes in dry sheets that need to be soaked in hot water for some time. Even hydrated, the texture is unusual - similar to rubber fabric.

Many recipes I came across called for lily sprouts, which as it turns out, is the same as Enoki mushrooms. I had purchased both, not knowing they were one and the same.

Above are the main ingredients, along with mung bean noodles and the sauce. Had I properly managed my time, I would have had all ingredients cut ahead of time, because on New Year's day it is taboo to cut anything, for fear of cutting your new year good luck. For the thinly sliced carrots, I used "carrot slaw" - finely sliced carrots, broccoli and cabbage.

Elle and I really enjoyed this, though Pea and Hubby weren't fans of the varied textures.

Read more for the full recipe

Recipe - Buddha's Delight

1" piece of ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup enoki mushrooms/lily sprouts
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 canned bamboo shoots, thinly sliced 
1/2 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
1/4 cup ginkgo nuts, cut in half
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
12 chinese black mushrooms, soaked in boiling water 30 min, thinly sliced
2 sheets of dried bean thread, soaked in boiling water 30 min, thinly sliced
1 package of extra firm tofu
2 skeins of mung bean noodles, soaked in cold water 30 minutes
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine
3/4 cup reserved mushroom soaking liquid
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp peanut oil

Wrap tofu in a few layers of paper towel, put on a plate, cover with a second plate, and weigh down with a few soup cans for 30 minutes. Soak mushrooms, bean thread, and noodles. Slice your ingredients.

Remove tofu from paper towel, and dice into small cubes. Drain noodles, bean thread and mushrooms. Reserve 3/4 cup of mushroom soaking liquid. Make sauce by mixing together oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid. Heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a large pot or frying pan and fry tofu pieces until golden. Set tofu aside.

Heat remaining tbsp peanut oil and cook garlic and ginger for one minute. Add carrots and snow peas, and cook stirring regularly, for three minutes. Add lily sprouts, bamboo, bean thread, green onions, ginkgo nuts, and black mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Add tofu and sauce, and cook until thickens, 3-5 minutes. Add noodles and remaining mushroom liquid. Cook for a few minutes, until combined. Serve immediately.

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