Buddha's Delight (賀年齋菜)

Learn how to make this meaningful New Year's vegetarian dish!

flodesk gif
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

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

You can learn more about Kikkoman and follow them on social media here:

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4

Main Ingredients

  • 1 oz bamboo fungus (

    竹笙

    )
  • 1.5 oz vermicelli noodle (

    粉絲

    )
  • 1 oz dried shiitake mushroom (

    冬菇

    )
  • 0.50 oz cloud ear fungus (

    雲耳

    )
  • 2 oz seafood mushroom (

    海鮮菇

    )
  • 4 oz king oyster mushroom (

    杏鮑菇

    )
  • 3 oz celery (

    西芹

    )
  • 10 oz napa cabbage (

    紹菜/大白菜

    )
  • 2 oz carrot (

    紅蘿蔔

    )
  • 3 oz whole baby corn (

    玉米筍

    )
  • 2 oz sugar snap peas (

    荷蘭豆

    )
  • 1 oz dried beancurd sheet (

    腐竹

    )

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1.5 oz red fermented bean curd

Cooking

  • 3 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 4 oz corn oil
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (

    Amazon

    )
  • 8 oz water (

    includes amount used to soak dried shiitake mushrooms

    )
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (

    for slurry

    )
  • 1 tbsp water (

    for slurry

    )

What is red fermented bean curd?

If the word "bean curd" sounds familiar, that's because it's the other way to say tofu!

Red fermented bean curd is tofu that has been fermented with red yeast rice, which gives it the characteristic red color, as well as some sort of rice wine. The fermentation results in a distinctive umami flavor.

We've previously used this ingredient in our Char Siu and Chinese BBQ Spare Ribs recipes, so check them out!

If you can't find it locally, you can get it on Amazon:

Red Fermented Bean Curd - https://amzn.to/37MjZfa

What other ingredients can be used for Buddha's Delight?

There are so many options! As long as you don't use meat in the dish, you're officially making "Buddha's Delight"!

My parents say that for the best-tasting result, the absolute must-haves are dried shiitake mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, beancurd sheets, snow peas (or sugar snap peas), and cloud ear fungus.

Choose your own favorites from the list and put a star next to your family's must-haves! Once the delicious sauce soaks into the food, we guarantee a good time.

  • Arrowhead
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo fungus
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Black moss (fat choy)
  • Bok choy
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese celery
  • Cloud ear fungus
  • Daylily buds
  • Dried beancurd sheets
  • Gingko nuts
  • Lotus root
  • Lotus seeds
  • Mushrooms (all types, fresh and dried, such as shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, etc)
  • Napa cabbage
  • Peanuts
  • Potatoes
  • Red jujubes
  • Snow fungus
  • Snow peas
  • Tofu (fresh or fried)
  • Vermicelli noodles
  • Water chestnuts
  • Wheat gluten (fried or braised)
  • Wood ear fungus (make sure to trim off the hard stem)

Start with soaking the dried ingredients, so that they'll be hydrated enough to chop later.

Mix hot and cold water to get the ideal water for soaking, about 40-50°C (104-122°F).

Soak the bamboo fungus (1 oz), vermicelli noodles (1.5 oz), and cloud ear fungus (0.50 oz) in separate bowls.

Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms (1 oz) in warm water as well, and remember that we'll be using this soaking liquid later on.

It should take about 10 minutes for everything to rehydrate and soften up enough for chopping.

Trim the ends off of the seafood mushrooms (2 oz), and soak them quickly or run them through some water to clean any debris off.

Cut the king oyster mushrooms (4 oz) in half, and then into slices.

Cut the celery (3 oz) into sections of more manageable lengths, about 2 inches long, and then thinly cut lengthwise to create thin strips.

Cut napa cabbage (10 oz) into bite-sized pieces, separating the stem parts, which take longer to cook, and the leafy parts, which cook more quickly. Alternatively, the leafy parts can be torn by hand instead of cut by knife for a different texture.

Cut the carrot (2 oz) into slices, either in a nice flower pattern by notching the sides before slicing, or in simple circles.

Remove the stems from the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. If the mushrooms are rather big and too unwieldy to eat as is, cut them in half at an angle.

Peel, smash, and mince the garlic (3 clove).

Slice the ginger (1 tbsp) into larger pieces. They'll be easier to fish out, or eat around, at the end.

Squeeze the excess water out of the bamboo fungus and trim off the ends. Dunk and wash the bamboo fungus in cold water until it's clean and the water runs clear. Then, cut it into bite-sized pieces, about 1-2 inches.

Cut the dried beancurd sheet (1 oz) into smaller pieces, about 1-2 square inch pieces, so it'll be easier to fry later.

The baby corn and snow peas don't need any particular preparation as long as they're clean and ready to cook.

In a small bowl, smash the red fermented bean curd (1.5 oz) down into a rough paste, so it'll be easier to incorporate with everything else later, and you won't bite into a big salty piece of it when you're eating.

In another bowl, mix together the stir-fry sauce, which is vegetarian oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), dark soy sauce (1 tsp), cooking wine (1 tbsp), sugar (2 tsp), salt (0.50 tsp), and white pepper powder (0.25 tsp).

The salt is a rather small amount so that you can add more to your taste later.

To fry the dried beancurd sheets, heat up a wok or a pan with oil (4 oz) on high heat. When the oil reaches 160°C (320°F), it's hot enough to start frying the beancurd sheets.

In small batches so they don't crowd together, fry the cut-up beancurd sheets until they float to the surface, which should take about 8 seconds. When they're done, you can set aside the frying oil to use in your other cooking. We'll need some for the next stir-frying step.

If you'd rather not fry them, then you can soak them in warm water for 10 minutes.

Next, we'll heat up a pot of water on high heat. When it's at a rolling boil, add the cloud ear fungus and the baby corn (3 oz).

After 20-30 seconds, add the bamboo fungus. After another 30-40 seconds, scoop them all out with a spider or slotted spoon.

Then, blanch the celery and carrot pieces for about 90 seconds. Take them out of the water when they're done, too.

Heat your wok on high heat for about a minute. When the wok has heated up, add the oil (2 tbsp) that you set aside from frying the dried beancurd sheets.

The oil will heat up immediately, so turn the heat down to medium.

Add the garlic, ginger, and red fermented bean curd, and fry them to release their aroma, for about 20-30 seconds.

Add the shiitake mushrooms, the napa cabbage stems, and the king oyster mushrooms. Continue stir-frying for about 30-40 seconds.

Then, add the cooking wine (1 tbsp) to the wok, and let it simmer and soak in.

Add water (8 oz), which includes the water that the shiitake mushrooms were soaking in, so we can take advantage of their fragrant mushroom flavor and make the dish even tastier.

Next, toss in all of the ingredients that we blanched earlier: cloud ear fungus, baby corn, bamboo fungus, carrot, and celery. Add the napa cabbage leaves and the fried beancurd sheets.

Cover with a lid, and let it continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, until you see steam coming out, which will signal that the beancurd sheets have softened up. Then, add the seafood mushrooms.

Add all of the sauce that we mixed earlier. To get every bit of flavor out, use some of the liquid from the wok to rinse any last bits of sauce or red fermented bean curd out of their bowls.

Give it a taste to check for salt, and add a little bit at a time if you need to adjust.

Next, add your hydrated vermicelli noodles straight into the center of the wok, so that it can soak up all the sauce pooling at the bottom. Position the other ingredients to cover the noodles, weighing them down and pushing them down towards the sauce.

Put the lid on the wok to help it cook through, for about a minute and a half.

Prepare a thickening cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch (1 tbsp) and water (1 tbsp) in a small bowl. To save a dish, use the now-empty sauce bowl!

Add the sugar snap peas (2 oz) to the wok.

Add the slurry a little bit at a time, checking to see if it's thick enough to your preference before adding more. You may not need to use all of it, but if you feel like the dish is still too wet, you can keep adding more.

Finally, add sesame oil (1 tbsp) and turn the heat off.

Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it's to your taste! This is usually served in a large serving bowl or plate and everyone can take the amount they want.

Summary

Buddha's Delight (賀年齋菜)
Learn how to make this meaningful New Year's vegetarian dish!
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Main Ingredients

  • 1 oz bamboo fungus (

    竹笙

    )
  • 1.5 oz vermicelli noodle (

    粉絲

    )
  • 1 oz dried shiitake mushroom (

    冬菇

    )
  • 0.50 oz cloud ear fungus (

    雲耳

    )
  • 2 oz seafood mushroom (

    海鮮菇

    )
  • 4 oz king oyster mushroom (

    杏鮑菇

    )
  • 3 oz celery (

    西芹

    )
  • 10 oz napa cabbage (

    紹菜/大白菜

    )
  • 2 oz carrot (

    紅蘿蔔

    )
  • 3 oz whole baby corn (

    玉米筍

    )
  • 2 oz sugar snap peas (

    荷蘭豆

    )
  • 1 oz dried beancurd sheet (

    腐竹

    )

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1.5 oz red fermented bean curd

Cooking

  • 3 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 4 oz corn oil
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (

    Amazon

    )
  • 8 oz water (

    includes amount used to soak dried shiitake mushrooms

    )
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (

    for slurry

    )
  • 1 tbsp water (

    for slurry

    )

Step 1 - Soak dried ingredients

↑ Jump to details

In separate bowls of warm water, soak the bamboo fungus (1 oz), vermicelli noodles (1.5 oz), and cloud ear fungus (0.50 oz).

Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms (1 oz) in warm water as well, and remember that we'll be using this soaking liquid later on.

It should take about 10 minutes for everything to rehydrate.

Step 2 - Chop vegetables

↑ Jump to details

Trim the ends off of the seafood mushrooms (2 oz), and give them a quick clean.

Cut the king oyster mushrooms (4 oz) in half, and then into slices.

Cut the celery (3 oz) down into sections about 2 inches long, and then thinly cut lengthwise to create thin strips.

Cut napa cabbage (10 oz) into bite-sized pieces.

Cut the carrot (2 oz) into slices, either in a flower pattern or in simple circles.

Remove the stems from the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, and halve them in necessary.

Peel, smash, and mince the garlic (3 clove).

Slice the ginger (1 tbsp) into larger pieces.

Squeeze the excess water out of the bamboo fungus and trim off the ends. Rinse a few more times, and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Cut the dried beancurd sheet (1 oz) into smaller pieces.

Step 3 - Make sauce

↑ Jump to details

In a small bowl, smash the red fermented bean curd (1.5 oz) down into a rough paste.

In another bowl, mix together vegetarian oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), dark soy sauce (1 tsp), cooking wine (1 tbsp), sugar (2 tsp), salt (0.50 tsp), and white pepper powder (0.25 tsp).

Step 4 - Fry & blanch

↑ Jump to details

Heat up a wok or a pan with oil (4 oz) on high heat. When the oil reaches 160°C (320°F), fry the cut-up beancurd sheets in small batches, until they float to the surface, which should take about 8 seconds.

If you'd rather not fry them, then you can soak them in warm water for 10 minutes.

Next, prepare a pot of boiling water, and add the cloud ear fungus and the baby corn (3 oz). After 20-30 seconds, add the bamboo fungus and continue blanching for about 30-40 more seconds.

Remove everything from the water, and blanch the celery and carrot pieces for about 90 seconds. Take them out of the water when they're done, too.

Step 5 - Stir-fry ingredients

↑ Jump to details

Heat your wok on high heat for about a minute, add the oil (2 tbsp) that you set aside from frying the dried beancurd sheets, and then turn the heat down to medium.

Add the garlic, ginger, and red fermented bean curd, and fry them to release their aroma, for about 20-30 seconds.

Add the shiitake mushrooms, the napa cabbage stems, and the king oyster mushrooms. Continue stir-frying for about 30-40 seconds.

Then, add the cooking wine (1 tbsp) to the wok, and let it simmer and soak in.

Step 6 - Add water & continue stir-fry

↑ Jump to details

Add water (8 oz), which includes the water that the shiitake mushrooms were soaking in.

Next, toss in all of the ingredients that we blanched earlier, as well as the napa cabbage leaves and the fried beancurd sheets.

Cover with a lid, and let it continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, until you see steam coming out, which will signal that the beancurd sheets have softened up. Then, add the seafood mushrooms.

Step 7 - Add sauce & vermicelli

↑ Jump to details

Add all of the sauce that we mixed earlier.

Give it a taste to check for salt, and add a little bit at a time if you need to adjust.

Next, add your hydrated vermicelli noodles straight into the center of the wok, and push the other ingredients over it to help the noodles soak the sauce up. Put the lid on the wok for about a minute and a half.

Step 8 - Add slurry, peas, & sesame oil

↑ Jump to details

Prepare a slurry by mixing cornstarch (1 tbsp) and water (1 tbsp) in a small bowl.

Add the sugar snap peas (2 oz) to the wok.

Add the slurry a little bit at a time, checking to see if it's thick enough to your preference before adding more.

Finally, add sesame oil (1 tbsp) and turn the heat off.

Step 9 - Taste test & plate

↑ Jump to details

Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it's to your taste! This is usually served in a large serving bowl or plate and everyone can take the amount they want.

Step 10 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 11 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.