Happy Lunar New Year! (2016)

新年快乐!Happy New Year!
恭喜发财!Wishing you prosperity!

This year is the year of the monkey! Unlike last year, there is thankfully less confusion over the zodiac animal of the year (lamb? ram? sheep? goat? Ovis aries? why not just say 羊?). 🙂

Please continue to support Teddy’s Cooking this year as well! 😀

This year, I made the Cantonese 斋 (Usually called “Buddha’s Delight” in English, but literally means “Vegetarian Food”) again! I added fried tofu puffs this time, and it was super delicious! To ensure my prosperity this year*, I also even added the 发菜 (“Hair Vegetable”, AKA the colonies of bacteria that grow in the Inner Mongolian desert and look exactly like black hair and are usually translated as “seaweed” on the package, yet this time mine was translated as “dried nostoc”, which is the actual name of the bacteria species); although, as it was only $6 as opposed to $18, it may have just been the fake variety made with corn husks (which is probably fine – would you rather eat colonies of bacteria or corn husks anyway? actually, I’m a bit creeped out of the fact that I may have been eating colonies of bacteria… I almost hope it was corn husks instead).

*This is supposed to be somewhat sarcastic as I’m not a superstitious person at all 🙂

Due to the terrible quality of the tiny, dry, and ugly, yet expensive napa cabbages at the 99 Ranch Market (as opposed to the beautiful, fresh, crispy, and sweet, yet affordable napa cabbages at the Galleria Korean Market), I used bok choy instead! (If you recall, 白菜 means napa cabbage in Mandarin and bok choy in Cantonese.)

The fresh vegetables made the dish look quite colorful, with beautiful green bok choy and bright orange carrots mixed in… a strange and mysterious purplish-brown mess consisting of various fungi, bacteria, flowers, and products of bean curds.

Okay, with my description, you may not wish to try the so-called “Buddha’s Delight” (which, remember, is just called “Vegetarian Food” in Chinese… I wonder how the real-life Buddha would feel about this dish; would he really find it a “Delight”? I must take a time-machine to visit Ancient India and find out for myself!), but it’s really good! So even if it resembles a “strange purple-brown mess of various fungi, bacteria, and flowers”, I definitely recommend it! As long as you are a fan of real Chinese food 🙂

The best parts of the dish are the fried tofu puffs and tofu bamboo! I should make it with extra fried tofu next year! 😀

Have a great year! -Link and Teddy

(If confused, please refer to the “About” page for information on who Link and Teddy really are.)

(Can you spot the colonies of Nostoc bacteria / perhaps corn husks?)

Find the delicious recipe for “Vegetarian Food” here!


2 thoughts on “Happy Lunar New Year! (2016)

  1. This actually looks like another favorite dish of mine. Mu Shu Pork (of course without the pork). could you taste the ‘corn husk’? =>what was taste like?

    1. Oh, now that you’ve mentioned it, the vegetables are really similar. If I wrapped this in tortillas, it would become Link’s vegetarian mushu! Main difference being that this is flavored with fermented red tofu, while mushu is flavored with fermented sweet flour sauce. 🙂
      I made mushu once using a cookbook. That’s the Americanized name of the dish though. My mom calls it 春饼 “spring flatbreads”, which is a very nice name. I would like to make it again sometime 🙂
      As for the “hair vegetable” = bacteria colonies, or perhaps corn husks, they had no flavor. hehe. (Either that, or their flavor was way too faint when mixed together with everything else.)

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