Jai (Buddhist Vegetarian Stew)
Known as "Buddhist Vegetarian Stew," Jai is traditionally served on the first day of the lunar Chinese New Year and throughout the celebration. I am very fortunate to have a very special friend that always makes sure I have a serving of this dish during this time of the year.
It is said to cleanse your body with each of the chosen ingredients having a special meaning for blessings to bring in the New Year. There are many variations of this dish, some with of the traditional, but sometimes hard to find Chinese ingredients.
I've used more readily available ingredients here.
- 4 oz dried bean curd sticks (foo jook)
- 4 oz dried long rice (dried mung bean thread noodles)
- 3/4 oz dried black moss (hair-like seaweed)
- 10 pieces dried black fungus (cloud ears)
- 5 dried shiitake or Chinese black mushrooms
- water as needed
- 4 oz fried tofu, 1 ½-x1/2 inch strips
- 2 TB vegetable oil
- 1/2 c. bamboo shoots, sliced
- 1/2 c. carrots, peeled sliced
- 3 c. won bok cabbage, 2-inch pieces
- 1 TB cornstarch mixed with 2 TB water
- 1 tsp. sesame seed oil Sauce:
- 4 pc. red bean curd
- 4 pc. yellow bean curd
- 2 TB Aloha shoyu
- 2 TB sugar
- 2 TB hoisin sauce
- 1 c. chicken broth
Soak bean curd, long rice, moss, fungus and mushrooms in water in separate bowls for 1 hour. Rinse and drain. Cut bean curd sticks into 1-inch pieces; cut long rice into 3 to 4-inch lengths. In a mixing bowl; combine sauce ingredients. Reserve. In a wok over high heat, heat the 2 tablespoons oil; Stir-fry sauce ingredients. Add bean curd, fungus, mushrooms, tofu, bamboo shoots, and carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cabbage, black moss, long rice and cornstarch mixture. Simmer 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and thickened slightly. Taste for seasoning. Drizzle with sesame seed oil.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.