Recipe courtesy of Farina Wong Kingsley

Buddhist Vegetarian Stew - Luo Hon Jai

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Inactive: 30 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: About 6 servings
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8 dried black shiitake mushrooms

4 ounces dried bean curd sticks

2 ounces dried lily buds

1 ounce dried black moss (fat choy)

1/2 ounce dried black fungus (cloud ear or wood ear)

1 small package cellophane noodles (2 to 3 ounces)

1/2 cup raw shelled peanuts

6 cups water, plus hot water for soaking

5 to 6 ounces deep-fried tofu squares, halved

4 ounces wheat gluten, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 slices ginger, smacked with the side of a knife

3 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole

1 tablespoon red fermented bean curd (nam yee)

1 large carrot, halved lengthwise, and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick half-moons 

One 5-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots 

1 cup lotus root, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick half-moons

2 cups shredded napa cabbage, sliced 1/2-inch thick


2 cups water, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons shaoxing wine or dry sherry

2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce, plus more for serving, optional

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 small can straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed

7 ounces canned ginkgo nuts, drained and rinsed

Steamed white rice, for serving, optional


  1. Soak the shiitake mushrooms, bean curd sticks, lily buds, black moss, black fungus, cellophane noodles and raw peanuts in separate bowls of hot water to cover for 30 minutes. Once the ingredients are reconstituted, drain each and rinse well. Trim the shiitake mushroom stems. Cut the bean curd sticks into 3-inch pieces. Tie the lily buds into knots. 
  2. In a large sauce pan, bring the water to a boil. Add the tofu and wheat gluten and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large wok or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and fermented bean curd and stir-fry until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the carrots, bamboo shoots, and lotus root and continue to stir-fry for another 5 minutes. Toss in the cabbage and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the noodles and the peanuts.
  5. For the sauce: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and mix well. Pour the sauce on top of the cooked vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add all the reconstituted ingredients, the tofu, wheat gluten, straw mushrooms, and ginkgo nuts. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the stew for at least 15 minutes. 
  6. Once the ingredients absorb all the liquid, add an additional cup of water and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes more. 
  7. If desired, season with more light soy sauce and serve alone or with steamed white rice.