Many Chinese, including us, follow the practice of eating vegetarian food on the first day of Chinese New Year. It is believed that abstaining from meat consumption on the first day will ensure longevity. Vegetarian food can include mock meat as well as vegetables.
Nowadays, cooking vegetarian food is made all the more easier and flavorful with vegetarian sauces such as mushroom oyster flavoured sauce. Well, it doesn't actually contain any oysters, but functions like oyster sauce to flavour the sauce / dish. It is made of mushroom powder.
One of the vegetarian dishes which we enjoy cooking (and eating) is stir fried cabbage with wood ear fungus 木耳 (mok yee) and Enoki mushrooms 金菇. This dish is very auspicious since cabbage's 白菜 homonym sounds like "prosperity" and enoki mushrooms, also known as golden needle mushroom represents "gold". The wood ear fungus is added for texture as well as symbolising prosperity. I like to braise the cabbage, wood ear fungus and mushrooms slightly with the mushroom sauce for it to absorb the flavours, and the sauce can later be poured over our longevity noodles. Very delicious :)
Other than the first day of CNY, we also enjoy cooking this throughout the CNY period or even after. :)
Cabbage with Wood Ear Fungus and Enoki Mushrooms
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
4 pieces cabbage, thinly sliced (approx 250g)
1 pack Enoki mushrooms
8-10 pieces wood ear fungus (mok yee), soaked for at least 1 hour
1/3 carrot, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 tbsp mushroom sauce
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
300-400ml water, depending how much sauce you want
1 spring onion, finely chopped, to garnish
1. Heat oil in wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant or lightly browned.
2. Add the cabbage and wood ear fungus, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, until the cabbage is translucent. Add carrot, Enoki mushrooms, water and mushroom sauce and allow to braise for 5 minutes. Taste, and season with more mushroom sauce if required.
3. Remove from heat and garnish with spring onions. Serve immediately with longevity noodles or rice.