The origin story of Buddha's Delight
How did a plate full of vegetables, delicious as they may be, get named after Buddha? A clue lies in the other Chinese name for the dish, 羅漢齋 (lo4 hon3 zaai1), which means arhat vegetarian dish.
The story goes, on the bodhisattva Guanyin's lunar calendar birthday, the 18 arhats (the 18 original followers of Buddha) stopped at a Guanyin temple to test her. They shouted loudly, "We are SO hungry right now!" Guanyin heard them and a hot, fresh meal appeared before the arhats.
The arhats dug in, and after they were full, took the rest of the temple's food and fabrics with them. Later, they realized that it had been pretty rude of them to do that, so they decided to repay Guanyin with a gift.
The 18 arhats went door to door, begging for alms and collecting vegetarian ingredients, which they then put together to create this dish for her! The 18 ingredients of Buddha's Delight represents each of these 18 arhats.
Do I have to use 18 ingredients?
The 18 is symbolic, so no, you don't have to! The one rule you "have to" follow is no meat in this dish, which is why we use Kikkoman® Vegetarian Oyster Sauce instead of the original version.
Thank you, Kikkoman!
This recipe is brought to you in part by Kikkoman. My dad has been using Kikkoman flavors throughout his 50-year career as a chef, and it's a privilege to get to partner with them on such an iconic recipe, Buddha's Delight!
- Kikkoman products are a major flavor enhancer and bring out the “umami” taste, and helps balance and round out flavors
- Kikkoman® Less Sodium Soy Sauce is perfect for home cooks who are looking to cut down on their sodium levels, without sacrificing flavor
- Kikkoman offers wide range of Gluten-Free Asian sauces, including Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce and Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce
- The KikkomanUSA.com Chinese site offers easy Asian recipes that home cooks can enjoy any night of the week
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Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!