Friday, February 5, 2016

9 Great Chinese New Year Vegetarian Recipes (CNY)

Many Chinese, including our family, follow the practice of abstaining from meat and 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.

Here are a collection of 9 of my favorite vegetarian dishes which we would prepare annually on the first day of CNY. Please click on dish names for the full recipe.

This is a must-have vegetarian dish in our home on the first day of CNY. My mum would make this for us every year without fail while we were growing up and we have continued the tradition.

This dish is harmoniously made up of loads of auspicious ingredients such as leeks, mushrooms, carrots, dried lily buds, cabbage and tanghoon (glass noodles).

2. Braised mushrooms with fatt choy and lettuce

On the first day of CNY, we would always have longevity noodles and to go with the noodles, we would make this braised mushroom dish with fatt choy. The braising liquid tastes great with the noodles.

Furthermore, fatt choy 髮菜, also known as black moss is a popular ingredient as its homonym sounds like "struck it rich". Other ingredients in this dish also has auspicious meanings, such as lettuce 生菜 which symbolises prosperity, mushroom for longevity, enoki mushrooms for wealth and carrots for good luck.

3. Braised mushrooms with broccoli and fatt choy

Another alternative to dish #2 which we make is to serve the braised mushrooms with broccoli florets and carrots.

4. Stir fried leeks with sliced mushrooms

Ingredients with auspicious-sounding names are sought-after during Chinese New Year. For this reason, leeks 蒜 are commonly served as the name is a homophone for "calculating (money)" (算suàn). 

Mixed vegetables is a popular dish during CNY as it symbolises family harmony. I used a mix of broccoli, celery and carrots as well as 3 types of mushrooms - Shitake, enoki and abalone mushrooms. This dish is absolutely heaving with good, auspicious meanings - carrots symbolises good luck, Shitake mushrooms symbolises longevity, enoki mushrooms, also known as golden needle mushroom represents "gold" and abalone's homonym is absolute prosperity.

6. Braised tofu pok with mushrooms

Having white tofu is a no-no during CNY as the colour white is considered bad luck, however tofu pok  豆腐泡 (also known as tofu puff or tau pok) is considered auspicious as the golden colour symbolises gold and wealth. The tofu pok is braised with two types of mushrooms, enoki and bunashimeji and is flavoured with mushroom oyster flavoured sauce.

I love cabbage! This stir fried cabbage with wood ear fungus 木耳 (mok yee) and Enoki mushrooms 金菇 is very auspicious since cabbage's 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.

Eryngii mushrooms is also known as king trumpet mushroom, French horn mushroom or king oyster mushroom but in Japanese it is called eringi (エリンギ).This mushroom has a lovely meaty texture and is often compared to that of abalone.

For those looking for an easy one-dish vegetarian meal, try this vegetarian "Hakka mee".The noodles are stir fried with auspicious vegetables such as Chinese mushrooms, leeks, carrots, wood ear fungus and Chinese cabbage leaves. 

Do share with me what your favorite vegetarian CNY dishes are! :)

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  1. Hi Yen, great post on the CNY dishes. I'm also making braised mushroom with broccoli tonight. Gonna prepare my reunion dinner after this.

    Wishing you and your family a happy Gong Xi Fa Cai! :)

  2. Hi Yen,
    All these vegetarian dishes looks so yummy! My MIL observes vegetarian meals on the 1st day of CNY so I always help to prepare a vegetarian noodle. Shall try the "Hakka mee" .. thanks for sharing :)

  3. Hi Yen,

    Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your family! Glad to know that I'm not the only one that eats vegetarian food on the first day of CNY :p

    Great dishes... and I think they all look super auspicious :D


  4. Hi Yen, these days, more of my hubby's siblings are switching to meatless meals. I had to cook several vegetarian dishes during CNY for his siblings. I find that it is much more easier and cleaner kitchen that is. Bookmarked this post. Happy Chinese New Year.


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