This dish is traditionally served on the first day of the Chinese New Year to bring good luck and fortune. It is also usually the lone vegetarian offering on the table. Luckily, paired with a steaming cup of soup or rice, it makes for a delicious, filling meal.
Typically this dish is heavy on the oil and salt, and calls for many obscure ingredients. I've adapted the recipe to be healthier, user-friendly, and time efficient.
Don't be scared by the long list of ingredients! My mom was in and out of the kitchen in less than an hour. The steps can be time consuming but they are very simple! Begin by soaking the dried black fungus and day lilies. (You can leave out the fungus if you can't find it or if the name skeeves you out. I do recommend looking for the lilies though, they impart a unique flavor and texture.)
This recipe is more of a template; use whatever leftover odds and ends of vegetables you have available. Common additions are bean sprouts, mushrooms, and edamame. Essentially, the idea is to have a medley of colors and textures.
There is a chilled version as well! It's made essentially in the same fashion, with slight ingredient adjustments and tossed in a tangy dressing. I'll post that recipe below as well.
1 ounce dried lily buds
1/2 ounce dried black fungus, aka wood ear (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
2 carrots, peeled
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 section lotus root, peeled and thinly sliced
100 grams extra firm tofu, sliced
1 wedge cabbage, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 Tbsp oil
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper
In a LARGE pan, heat oil on high. Add onion and sauté until fragrant. Add fungus, day lilies, and tofu and stir fry until heated through and tofu starts to brown. Add soy sauce and combine well. Add cauliflower, carrots, lotus root and celery. Mix mix mix for about 3-4 minutes, until mixture looks dry. Sprinkle salt and pepper.Turn heat to low and continue to stir. Add the cabbage and stir! Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with peanuts before serving. Smile at how amazing your house smells. Enjoy!
** for chilled version: prep ingredients the same way, but without fungus, lilies, cabbage, or onion. Instead, add sprouts, enoki mushrooms, vermicelli noodles and cucumbers! Cool all cooked ingredients, and toss with soy sauce and sesame oil. Serve chilled.