Both hubby and my side of families practice being vegetarian on the first day of Chinese New Year. And so, we decided to practice the same tradition in our family.
I have always loved the vegetarian "zap chai" that my mum cooks every year, consisting of dried mushrooms, lily bulbs, glass noodles, Chinese cabbage, carrot, red dates, soy bean sheets and wood ear fungus cooked in “lam yue” (red fermented beancurd). But since hubby and HQ are not big fans, I decided not to cook this dish for our little family.
These are the vegetarian dishes that I cooked: Braised mushroom and dried oyster, lined with steamed broccoli - hubby’s favourite. Deepfried vegetarian soy bean slices. Braised tau fu pok and oyster. Sweet & sour vegetarian dough – cooked with pineapple cubes and this sauce.And a vegetarian soup – soy beans, lotus root, groundnuts, carrot, dried oyster, dried mushroom, dried longan, red dates, and a bay leaf. QQ and I love this soup. Surprisingly, HQ ate everything with gusto. The vegetarian dishes were received well by all, except QQ. She spat everything out. In the end, she ate only rice and soup *pening*.
Both families of hubby and mine take dried oyster as a vegetarian ingredient on the first day of Chinese New Year. There’s a fable about a monk, having eaten nothing for days, asked the God of Mercy for advice. The God of Mercy told him to stick his walking stick into the ocean and whatever sticks to it can be eaten. When he brought up the walking stick, several oysters were stuck on it. And thus, the fable was told from generation to generation that oyster is considered vegetarian and can be eaten on the first day of Chinese New Year. We really do not know how true this story is but we’re sticking with the tradition :-).
Do you have vegetarian dishes on your first day of Chinese New Year too?
© Lee Pei Yi. All rights reserved. Originally published for boeyjoey.blogspot.com. All images and text cannot be republished without express written permission.