Friday, February 12, 2021

Vegetarian Eight Treasures Stir Fry


5 Element Food is 11 years old today!  I started this food blog back in the Year of the Tiger on Chinese New Year's Day and today is Chinese New Year's Day in the Year of the Metal Ox. So, Happy New Year!  If you'd like to read this year's forecast, please go to my website - Lotus Institute

And as always for Chinese New Year, it is very important to make Lucky Foods to eat. The good news is that you actually have two weeks to eat a lot of lucky foods (see the Chinese Lucky Foods page on the upper right hand corner of this blog). Today, I made a Vegetarian Eight Treasures Stir Fry because it incorporates eight lucky foods and it's delicious too!

Although some of the ingredients in this dish may seem very exotic, they are actually quite easy to find in Asian markets and some of the ingredients are even easy to find in your local supermarket. If you don't have any of the ingredients, improvise as there are so many lucky foods to choose from! Of course, you can add more than eight ingredients too just as long as you have at least eight lucky ones. If you add more, you will probably need more of the Seasoning Sauce. Both Mushrooms and Tofu soak up the flavors so check before adding any additional Tamari as you don't want this dish to be too salty. If you want the sauce to cling to the ingredients, be sure to add the Cornstarch at the end of the cooking time.

This is a classic stir fry with several of the ingredients needing to be rehydrated ahead of time. Just pour boiling water over the dried ingredients and let them soak for at least 30 minutes. Once everything is sliced up, it only takes a few minutes to cook them all in a wok with a little oil with the addition of a little vegetable broth to soften the vegetables up and then you season it all lightly with Tamari and and a drizzle of Sesame Oil. Served with rice, it's a perfect way to celebrate Chinese New Year. And, Happy New Year to you all!

Vegetarian Eight Treasures Stir Fry

1 cup of thinly sliced Pressed Tofu

1 cup of sliced Shitake Mushrooms, rehydrated

1/2 cup of Wood Ear Fungus (Mu'er or Black Fungus) rehydrated - about 1/4 cup dried

1/2 cup of rehydrated Day Lily Flowers (about 1/4 cup dried)

2 Celery Stalks, trimmed, cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths, then sliced into thin shreds

2 small Carrots, trimmed and peeled, cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths, then sliced into thin shreds

1 cup of Bamboo Shoots (canned or fresh) cut into thin shreds

1 cup of Green Onions, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths and thin sliced into thin shreds

3 Tablespoons neutral tasting Vegetable Oil (I use Safflower)

Optional Vegetable Ingredients, which are also lucky: Shredded Napa Cabbage, Bean Sprouts, sliced Red Pepper, Noodles, thinly sliced Leeks and/or Garlic Chives.

Seasoning Sauce:

1/2 cup Vegetable Broth

3 - 4 Tablespoons Tamari (taste the dish before adding the last Tablespoon of Tamari)

1 teaspoon Sesame Oil

1/2 teaspoon Sugar

pinch of White Pepper

Optional Sauce Ingredient:  1 teaspoon up to 1 Tablespoon Chili Garlic Sauce

Optional:  1 teaspoon Cornstarch combined with 1 Tablespoon of Water

In the liquid measuring cup, combine the Vegetable Broth, Tamari, Sesame Oil, Sugar and White Pepper along with the Chili Garlic Sauce (if using)

Heat a wok or large frying pan. Add the Oil and then add in the pressed Tofu slices. Cook, stirring and tossing for a few minutes and then add in the Carrots, Mushrooms and Celery (and any other vegetables you want). Cook until they start to get a little soft. Then add in the Bamboo Shoots, Green Onions, Wood Ear and Day Lily pieces. Continue to toss until all the ingredients get hot. The add in the Sauce mixture and Cornstarch (if using)and continue to toss until the Sauce is mostly absorbed or thickened. Serve hot or at room temperature. 

Five Element Analysis

Tofu belongs to the Metal Element although it is made with Soybeans so it is part of the Water Element too. The Shitake Mushrooms along with the dried Black Fungus, Tamari and Sesame Oil all add more of the Water Element. More Metal comes from the Green Onions, which also has some Wood in it. The Wood Element is also represented by the Celery. The Earth Element is found in the Carrots. Only the Fire Element is deficient, represented by White Pepper. This can be fixed by using some Chili Garlic Sauce or adding some Red Pepper slices. With so many ingredients, it was likely to be a pretty balanced dish and it is!  

1 comment:

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