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A Little Ask and a Little Delight
Pardon the extra email, but I wanted to share something with you.
Thanks! Let’s meet up in New York!
Deadline for voting is this Sunday, January 22, which also begins the Lunar New Year.
And since I’m bothering you, let me share a Lunar New Year recipe. Usher in the Year of the Rabbit with Buddha’s Delight.
Buddha’s Delight is a terrific tangle of noodles, tofu, and vegetables. Noodles have a special place in Asian cuisine. They symbolize a long life. Also called lo han jai, Buddha’s Delight is traditionally served on the first day of the new year. It can have as many as 18 vegetables, one for each of Buddha’s acolytes. Recipe is madly adaptable, though, and I’ve simplified and streamlined the process for you.
8 dried shiitakes sliced (about a handful)
1 tablespoon sesame oil divided use
3 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
3 carrots chopped into matchsticks
1 red pepper chopped into matchsticks
2 stalks celery chopped
3 cups Napa cabbage or bok choy, finely chopped or shredded
1 tablespoon white miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
8 ounces rice noodles or angel hair pasta
4 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed to expel excess water, blotted dry and cut into bite-sized cubes
1/3 cup scallions, finely chopped
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl. Pour 1 cup of boiling over the mushrooms and let the mushrooms sit for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the rest of the recipe. The hot water will soften and rehydrate the mushrooms, and the water will magically become rich mushroom broth to be used for the Buddha’s Delight sauce.
In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil over medium-high heat. When it starts to shimmer, add the minced garlic and grated ginger. Give a quick stir and sauté for just a minute or two, until vegetables soften and turn golden and fragrant.
Add the carrot matchsticks and cook, stirring for another few minutes, then add the red pepper and celery. Continue cooking for another few minutes, until they start to soften, and are crisp-tender but not soggy.
Drain the shiitakes, reserving the mushroom broth.
Slice the mushrooms thin, and add them to the vegetables. Add the shredded cabbage.
Stir everything together, turn off the heat but leave the pot on the burner.
Add the miso, soy, mirin and remaining teaspoon of sesame oil to the warm mushroom broth and whisk to combine. Pour the miso-mushroom sauce over the vegetables and stir, scraping up any crusty bits off the bottom of the wok or skillet.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook rice noodles or angel hair until they are just al dente. They’ll cook a little more as they get tossed with the vegetables.
Drain noodles and add mix in with the vegetables. Scatter in the tofu and scallions. Gently mix together and season with sea salt and pepper.
Top with any of the optional garnishes and enjoy.
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