Quick Recipes and Easy

Braised Assorted Vegetables (Luo Han Zhai)

“Luo Han Zhai” (Luo Han means arhat in Buddhism) has become a regular vegetable dish on every Guangzhou family’s dinner table since it served as the “food for monks” in Song dynasty. Not only does it carry the delicate fragrance of Buddhism, but also has the joy of the mortal world.

Guangzhou’s Luo Han Zhai is known by the “Eighteen Disciples of Buddha Zhai”, or the “18 Luo Han Zhai”. It wins the reputation from people being fastidious about the rich ingredients, but this dish is rarely seen today. It is too luxurious and does not carry on any spirit of Buddhism, and it simply cannot stand well with the intense competitions under the current Chinese market economic principles.

The cooking methods of any ordinary Luo Han Zhai are approximately the same among Guangzhou’s several large vegetable restaurants, and there are also not much differences comparing the nation’s main cuisines. But in the folk, people cook the dish in their own ways and the procedures can be very different. Rich families, of course, will always have “three mushrooms & six ears (wood ears)” (the phrase implies “rich” in China), and everything else needed. But it is also called “Luo Han Zhai” if cooked with just three or five main ingredients in low income families. Such spirit comes from the Buddhist for sure.

Ingredients: 1/2 turnip 1 carrot 1 bunch broccoli soup stocksalt 3 bamboo shoots 2 dried mushrooms (soaked) 15 champignons 20 gingko nuts 4 tablespoons oil 1/2 cup (100cc) soup stock 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon cooking wine dash of monosodium glutamate 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Method: Cut turnip and carrot into 2.5cm (1″) pieces and scoop into balls with baller. Boil in soup till tender. Drain. Boil broccoli in soup with salt added till tender. Drain and cut broccoli into pieces. Slice mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Shell gingko nuts and boil in salted water. Heat oil. Add and sauté in this order: mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and champignons. Add soup, turnip, carrot and seasonings. Sauté and mix well. Thicken with starch mixed with water. Add broccoli. Server while hot.
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Nutritional information:
Yield: 4 servings
Each serving provides:
Calories: 197
Protein: 7.3g

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