Wednesday, February 09, 2005

fat choy

this day is marked by "superstition" (cue stevie wonder) the sense that the putting on or adherence to symbols will augur well for the new year. one of the most important dishes if not the ONE lucky symbolic dish is the "jai" or "buddha's delight" which traditionally consists of all vegetarian or dried seafood components. it is believed that no animal must be slaughtered on new year's day. but. we had steamed live lobsters. oh's already day after new year's in China.

so i've detoured from tradition and added a few things to make our jai tasty.
among the traditional ingredients which i used:
dried black mushrooms, cloud ears, lily buds, bean thread sheets, cellophane noodles, dried oysters, fried tofu, oyster sauce, fresh napa cabbage, ginger, and rose fermented bean curd. the dried items are rehydrated, liquids reserved from the black mushrooms and oysters to add to the stir fry.
nontraditional, i-am-a-rebel! kind of things to add: leftover steamed chicken leg and it's juices from previous night's dinner. boiled fresh peanuts instead of the gingko nuts (my MIL does this too. so there!)
most important ingredient: black moss, a type of seaweed, that hairy scary thing on the bottom left corner of the photo, whose name "fat choy" is also good fortune. in Cantonese it is the second half of the greeting "gung hey(congratulations) fat choy." eating it is sure to sweep in prosperity and wealth for the rebirth that comes with the new year.

"buddha's delight" ingredients

it is deliciously exotic. just use prime-quality dried oysters; it heightens and complements the gingery wine-y fermented bean curd and all the other ingredients...and now having this recipe means i don't have to have it just once a year.