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Buddha’s Delight smothered over Crispy Noodles



Buddha’s Delight, a.k.a. Luo Han Zhai! This is a classic dish with a ton of different variants – in this video, we wanted to teach you a bit about the history, the context of the dish within the overarching category of Chinese vegetarian food, as well as teach you a Cantonese restaurant version which’s smothered over fried noodles.

0:00 – Introduction
0:29 – The three Chinese vegetarian traditions
1:35 – History of Buddha’s delight
3:16 – Ingredient Prep
6:45 – Frying the Buddha’s Delight
8:41 – Frying the Crispy Noodles
9:45 – Can you make this dish easier?

SOURCING

Wood ear is available on both Amazon and Weee:


https://www.sayweee.com/en/product/Black-Wood-Ear-Mushroom-Fungus/97092

Ditto with Snow Fungus:


https://www.sayweee.com/en/product/Dried-White-Snow-Fungus/13080

INGREDIENTS

For the quick stock:

* Dried Shiitakes (冬菇), 15g
* Dried Kelp (海带), ~8g
* Water, 1L; plus the shiitake soaking liquid

Buddha’s Delight Components:

* Snow fungus (雪耳), 5g
* Wood ear (木耳), 5g
* Dried shiitake mushroom (冬菇), 20g
* Button mushrooms (白蘑菇), 60g
* Carrot, 60g
* Baby corn (玉米笋), 60g
* Baby bok choy (上海青), 60g

To fry:

* Ginger, ~1 inch, minced
* Liaojiu, a.k.a. Shaoxing wine (料酒/绍酒), 1 tbsp
* Quick stock from above, ~2 cups
* Oyster sauce (蚝油) -or- vegetarian oyster sauce, 2 tbsp
* Sugar, 1/2 tsp
* Seasoning: salt, 1/4 tsp; MSG (味精), 1/8 tsp; white pepper powder (白胡椒粉), 1/8 tsp
* Slurry of 1 tbsp cornstarch (生粉) – or preferably potato or tapioca starch – mixed with 2 tbsp of the shiitake soaking liquid
* Toasted sesame oil (麻油), 1 tsp

For the noodles:

* Dried noodles, 60g
* Oil for frying, ~1.5 cups (for a round bottomed wok, you will likely need a good bit more if using a pot)

PROCESS:

*For the quick ‘stock’:*

Soak the shiitake mushrooms and the kelp in cool water, in the fridge overnight (for reference, the kelp actually only needs 30 minutes, but longer is no problem).

Thoroughly rinse the kelp, and give the mushrooms a quick rinse as well. Add the mushrooms, kelp, the mushroom soaking liquid, and the water to a pot. Get up to a boil then down to a simmer, quickly skim, and cook at a heavy simmer – covered – for 30 minutes.

Strain, reserve.

*For the Buddha’s Delight:*

Soak the snow fungus, wood ear, and shiitake in the fridge overnight.

Squeeze and rinse the shiitake, reserving the soaking liquid, and cut into 1/2 cm sheets. Slice off the hard ‘root’ of the snow fungus, and cut into ~8 pieces. Slice off the hard ‘root’ of the wood ear, and cut each ear into 2-3 pieces. Slice the button mushrooms into 1/2 cm sheets. Slice the carrot into 3mm sheets. Slice the corn into ~1cm sections along a biased wedge. Chop the bok choy into ~1.5 inch sections.

Blanch the ingredients: 30 seconds for bok choy, 1 minute for the carrot and corn, 1 minute for button mushrooms, 2 minutes for snow fungus and wood ear.

Add about 2 tbsp of peanut oil to a pot, and fry the ginger over a medium low flame. Once fragrant, ~30 seconds, add in the shiitake mushrooms and the button mushrooms. Up the flame to high. Stir fry for ~1 minute, the swirl in the wine. Add in the snow fungus and the wood ear, and ~30 second fry. Add in the stock, the oyster sauce, and the sugar. Get up to a boil and down to a simmer, and let that simmer – covered – for 15 minutes.

Add in the carrot and the corn. Simmer for ~5 minutes, covered.

Add in the bok choy and the seasoning and mix. Over a medium low flame, add in the slurry bit by bit, until it’s reached a thickness that’s *just* before a spoon coating consistency. Drizzle in the sesame oil, out.

TO FRY THE NOODLES:

Boil your noodles until they’re done. To cool them down, transfer to a strainer and pull/jostle the noodles until they’re no longer hot to the touch. Arrange the noodles in a ‘cake’ on a plate.

Heat up your oil until it hit ~180C. Slide in the noodles, and fry each side for ~2 minutes, or until good and golden brown.

____
And check out our Patreon if you’d like to support the project!
http://www.patreon.com/ChineseCookingDemystified

Outro Music: คิดถึงคุณจัง by ธานินทร์ อินทรเทพ
Found via My Analog Journal (great channel): https://youtu.be/GHaL5H-VYRg

What do you think?

50 Comments

  1. Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. Something that I’m kicking myself for not making clearer in the video – while Buddha’s Delight was descended from Temple Vegetarian food, this current restaurant incarnation would probably be more of a minjian dish.

    2. A clearer delineation might be this: in Chinese, both the ‘people’s vegetarian’ and the ‘court vegetarian’ traditions are labelled “su/sou” (素), while the temple vegetarian is labelled “zhai/jai” (斋). For the non-religious, generally speaking it’s the ‘su’ that we’re more interested in, as zhai food avoids aromatics and has a number of similar ‘no fun’ rules (garlic and such is supposed to ‘inflame the passions’, which’s… kind of our goal lol).

    3. Another thing that you can add to the quick ‘stock’ if you like – some soaked soybeans. Adds a nice layer of complexity. A bit of soybean sprouts and/or daikon would also be nice additions. As an aside, eventually we should probably circle back to that old vegetarian stock video of ours… we called for fresh shelled chestnuts in that recipe, which apparently like nobody can actually find.

    4. If you aren’t vegetarian, a small handful dried shrimp would be a nice addition to the stock as well.

    5. As Steph said in the outro, if you’re looking for a route to simplify the dish, skip the quick stock – simply use that shiitake mushroom soaking liquid and water in its stead. If you want something sort of in-between, together with that you could also add a bit of dried kelp in with the stir fry during those ~20 minutes when all the vegetables are cooking, and (optionally) remove at the end. We actually were pretty close to going that route for this recipe, but decided that a quick veg ‘stock’ would be a bit clearer to communicate.

    6. Copying something that I wrote under the “why Cantonese Buddhists (traditionally) ate Oyster sauce” video: “Random PSA that I don’t think any of you actually need, but just in case… DO NOT use this video as ‘evidence’ that you can just… slide in oyster sauce into vegetarian dishes when cooking for Cantonese (or any!) vegetarians – without explicitly asking them first, of course. Always default to a vegetarian oyster sauce unless you’re 110% sure that they’re ok with oyster. As Steph said in the video, the vast majority of Cantonese vegetarians these days do NOT eat oysters. This video was mostly for fun: to take a little look at an interesting, under-discussed aspect of traditional Cantonese cookery.”

    7. One random thing – soak your ingredients in the fridge if at all possible. Shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but wood ear can potentially have some problems if left out too long in a hot (like, tropical) climate.

    8. If you have those wood ear that’re packed tightly in their box, those are instant wood ear and only need 20-30 minutes to reconstitute. Would completely work well for this dish.

    9. Similarly, kelp only needs like 30 minutes to reconstitute. The reason we called for the overnight soak of the kelp was solely to slightly simplify the logistics (and the communication) of the dish.

    10. The primary purpose of all of those rare mushrooms and fungi in the old school Buddha’s Delight was… to show off. Like, I’m sure that they tasted great, but this sort of dish was obviously a status/financial flex more than anything.

    11. Oddly, when researching those components, I kind of got a new appreciation for gold leaf as an ingredient. Like, these days we don’t have to purchase rare ingredients – that’re foraged/fished to the point of near extinction – to make a dish expensive! All you need to do to up the price tag is add shavings of gold. There’s something beautiful about feeding showboaty rich fucks literal rocks with no nutritional value. Way better than huajiao fish maw (花胶).

    That’s all for now, might edit a few more notes in in a bit. Apologies that this video was a little slow in coming out, ended up being a little more intense of an edit than originally anticipated.

  2. I’d like if you guys did a series on chinese vegetarian food. With a couple of episodes on the people’s, court and temple chinese vegetarian cuisine each!

  3. ?…thank you !!! I am soooo happy you created a video on this dish !! It is such a delicious dish . Now, I can make it for my family.
    I love snow fungus , wood ear fungus and shiitake mushrooms. For sure this is going on my Christmas menu when my family comes over. ?

  4. I've gotten into growing culinary mushrooms and I was actually wondering to myself what to do with them! This is exactly what I wanted to see recommended 🙂

  5. Love your recipes. As a vegetarian myself, this recipe video means so much to me. Please do make more such videos for vegetarian and vegan recipes from the Chinese cuisine. Also, please do specify the various vegetarian alternatives or substitutes for ingredients which are meat, egg (meat or egg based) that are usually used for certain recipes in your videos.
    P.S. I'm a Lacto Vegetarian. But I also consume eggs (occasionally indirectly, rarely directly).

  6. love the way you speak english and chinese altogether, it's like a puzzle for me.
    is this english? oh, no, chinese. chinese? what is it? 😀

  7. Id love to hear more about chinese mock meats. Ive tried making seitan several times and it always comes out tasting like tire!

  8. While watching this video I thought "hey, let's see if someone made a guide on the most common used mushrooms in chinese cuisine and how to use them"…I couldn't find one, so there's a gap to fill wink wink

  9. Skip the stock thing. Blanche and boil the vegetables. Fry the noodles( i like to make a birds nest). make a sauce with water,oyster sauce, salt, sugar, pepper, msg, a bit soy sauce. Msg and sugar replaces the stock thing. toss vegetables in the sauce and thicken with starch water. You need very little or no ginger at all. i like to crack some fresh black pepper and sesam oil on top.

  10. One of my favorite dishes growing up, mom made em on special occasions and it was always truly a delight. But man the seafood version is leagues better.

  11. in Indonesia we call this "I Fu Mie" and usually sold in local chinese food venues…with a twist adding fishballs and bakso (beef meatballs), and i like it a lot. Or is it a different thing from buddhist delight?

  12. There's actually been a lot of talk in the vegan community about oysters not actually being sentient, and some vegans do eat them and still consider themselves vegan.

  13. Thank you for showing us how to do this. I'd love to eat at Chinese restaurants, but it's just got too expensive. We went last week, and we only got 2 entrees, 6 egg rolls, 8 dumplings (half-fried and half-pan), 1 large house won ton soup, and 1 smaller won ton soup. And, it was $ 62 bucks on 10-16-2022. That is way too much for us. I didn't think it'd cost that much. Granted, we have left-overs, but that's more than we ever spent on chinese for the family. But, my Mom came over and wanted chinese, so I was stuck. If it was $30 bucks-ish, then that'd be fine. But it was not worth double that.

  14. I'm obsessed with Chinese food and culture I love how informative your videos are as well as making me a much better cook

  15. At first I read "Buddha jumps over the wall" and thought that 10 minutes is pretty short to cover this dish ?

  16. This channel is fantastic and I enjoy a lot with you. I have been encouraged to create my own channel on Spanish cuisine. Not a professional. Wanna have a look?

  17. Look up Andrew Wommack's A Better Way To Pray and How To Hear God's Voice series on YouTube.Two of the greatest gifts Jesus ever gave me.?

  18. 1:00 Have you already done a video on the these "mock meats"? otherwise I´d be very much interested in more on the topic 🙂

  19. Would I be wrong in assuming that all Buddha's Delight should be 100% vegetarian? I ask because about 30 years ago I was a vegetarian and I ate at a local restaurant that called itself "Hunan". I got about 1/4 through when I discovered pork in the dish. I told them of the "mistake" and they brought me another….with pork.. I complained again and they told me that the dish was NOT vegetarian(despite the description mentioning nothing about meat of any kind being included). I've kinda steamed about that for all this time because it makes no sense to me for a dish to be called Buddha's Delight if it isn't going to be vegetarian(even if I'm no longer a vegetarian). The restaurant has long closed so it's not like I can go shove this info in their faces but I am wondering if others have encountered similar behavior from restaurants.

  20. The effort and attention to detail put into these videos is much appreciated. As an American who mostly prefers to cook French/Italian/Korean food, this channel has always been helpful and insightful for branching out and learning about real Chinese food and not the stuff I'm used to ordering on a lazy day. Thanks for uploading~

  21. Sparassis crispa is growing like crazy in parts of Europe right now. I'll definitely try to substitute the almost unobtainable snow fungus with that.

  22. Way too many steps for me to attempt making in this form, but fascinating to watch for the cooking & history lesson

  23. 7:27 worth noting a lot of oyster sauce are actually made from mushrooms and or yeast extracts nowadays with no actual oysters content. And somehow it was actually cheaper to mass produce that way?

  24. Thanks for sharing so many details of Chinese food. Your videos are very knowledgeable.??

  25. What species are the "button mushrooms"? The pictures shown at 2:12 aren't the usual Agaricus we find in stores nowadays

  26. What, no hand-picked lichen from high cliffs? ??

    Can you really even still call it Buddha's Delight, then? ?

  27. so you didn't go foraging across cliffs and all of china and whatnot?
    shame…
    well, i guess i won't either then ?