Simple Luohan Zai/ Monk’s Vegetarian Dish

Traditionally, Luohan Zai, (Luohan are monks in a legend who knows kungfu and there are eighteen of them), should have eighteen ingredients but I have simplified them to the ones I have one hand, i.e. Bean curd skins, pinwheel like lotus root slices, black fungus, Shitake mushrooms, baby corn and glutton/ mock abalone. I used fermented bean curd and Chinese rice wine/shaoxing jiu for seasoning this dish and dark soy sauce for seasoning the mushrooms and black fungus, frying them separately till fragrant. Join me!



Vegetarian Rice Vermicelli/ Vegetarian Beehoon 斋米粉

I cooked this rice noodle dish last night and made pickled green chilli peppers to go with it this morning.

The seasoning for the rice noodles include Kikkoman light soy sauce, five spice powder and vegetable broth from cooking the veggies first.

I boiled cider vinegar and a little salt to pickled the green peppers.

Rubbing my tummy…


Soaked the beehoon briefly in cold water then blanched the beehoon quickly with hot water, pushing down the beehoon then discard the hot water immediately and lightly rinsed the beehoon with cold water. The beehoon should now be very QQ.

Don’t drain out all the water in the beehoon as it will become too dry.

Fry veggies in oil. For Buddhist vegetarian, no garlic or onions/shallots are allowed so I only seasoned the veggies/ yu choy sum with some Mediterranean Sea salt and added some water to the veggies to steam them a little. Save the broth in a measuring cup or bowl after dishing up the veggies.

For the shiitake mushrooms, soaked them for fifteen minutes in boiling water after giving them a quick rinse in cold water. Save the hot water that was soaking the mushrooms to make cornstarch slurry later.

Fry the mushrooms after slicing into slivers in oil to bring out the fragrance then add a few drops of dark soy sauce. The mushrooms will caramelized a little.

For the bamboo hearts, trimmed off and discard the ends, soaked them in cold water till puffy for a few minutes. Now, pan fry the faux char siu, dished up, then pan fry the sliced mocked duck and mocked abalone, dished up then pan fry the bamboo hearts, dished up.

Lastly, add more oil and fry the beehoon tossing it around I the oil for a few minutes, seasoned the beehoon with Chinese Five Spice powder, white ground pepper and sesame seed oil and light soy sauce. Add the veggie broth and let the beehoon soaked up the veggie broth.
Add the mushroom water/ corn starch slurry and add more water until there is some gravy in the beehoon. When the beehoon is done. Mixed the beehoon with the ingredients in a big pot, container or bowl, transferring a small portion of beehoon and a small portion of the ingredients into the big container each time until they are mixed in so there are ingredients in every layer of beehoon.

So the trick is to fry each ingredient separately then mixed in everything together at the end.

Vegetarian Gluten Char Siu

I was craving for some vegetarian char siu reminiscing my childhood where my mom would buy vegetarian rice vermicelli from the neighborhood food stall where there would be only a few precious pieces of vegetarian char siu and some veggies. Now I have plenty for making vegetarian rice vermicelli/ vegetarian beehoon. Join me!

Season the gluten flour with garlic powder, onion powder, a dash of oyster sauce, a tablespoon of bulgogi sauce and a teaspoon of Better than Bouillon Chicken base. Mix the seasoning in well. Add appropriate amounts of water to the dough gradually, enough to mix in the gluten flour to form a firm dough. Let the dough sit covered in a bowl in the fridge over night.
Pour out excess water in the dough after removing the bowl of dough from the fridge.
Bring water in a pot to a boil and put in gluten, cover the pot without opening and simmer on low heat for at least one hour.
Add red food coloring to the gluten that has been cut into strips to resemble char siu. Let the color sit in the char siu for ten minutes. Season the gluten with garlic powder, onion powder, molasses, hoisin sauce and char siu sauce.
Then pan fry the strips of gluten till slightly charred.

Steamed Vegie Buns

vegie bun fillings Vegie bun interior vegie buns

It has been years since I had a chai bao/ vegie bun in Singapore. After having too much meat, I crave for a bun that is more plain and meatless. This is my first attempt to make vegie buns and I am quite satisfied with the results.

Below is the recipe for the bun dough from my link

I used a bun premix that I got from the Asian store and followed the directions on it. I have relied on this brand of bun flour as I have had more success with it than my very first attempt at making buns from scratch from a recipe found randomly online years ago.


Ingredients for the dough:

2 packets of Bột Bánh Bao flour (1 packet of flour makes 12 buns, so this portion will make 24 buns)

2 cups of Milk

1 cup of Sugar

2 tablespoons of Oil

24 White Paper Cupcake Cups

Mix everything well in a strong mixer like Kitchen Aid mixer with the appropriate attachment. Use the mixer to knead the dough for 10 minutes and cover the mixer bowl with a damp cloth for 15 minutes. Then knead for another 5 minutes and cover with damp cloth again until you are ready to make the buns.

Ingredients for bun fillings:


1/2 a Cabbage, cut into strips as thin as you can go

2 big Carrots or 3 small ones, shredded

8 Shitake Mushrooms, cut into very thin strips then cut the cross sections into very small pieces (Soak in boiling water prior to cutting for 15 minutes, keep the water for soaking the mushrooms)

1 Garlic, peeled and chopped finely

2 tablespoons of Kikkoman Light Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon of Oyster Sauce

1 teaspoon of Ground White Pepper

1 teaspoon of Black Pepper


In a frying pan, heat up about 2 tablespoons of oil, add the shitake mushrooms and fry until they are fragrant but not crispy. Dish them up and set aside.

Add oil and garlic to the frying pan. Before the garlic starts to change color add in the vegetables. Add the water from soaking the shitake mushrooms and more water if needed to stew the vegetables. Add the seasoning. Cover the pan for a few minutes then open the lid and stir fry the vegetables until soft. Then add the shitake mushrooms last. Mix everything well and turn off the heat. Use a colander to drain and press out excess liquid from the filling. Keep the liquid for making soup later if you like. Place the filling in the fridge overnight to make sure it has cooled down completely before you make the buns the next day.

How to wrap the buns:

Divide the dough into 24 equal portions, cutting the dough with a knife. Roll each portion into a ball and roll each ball out with a small rolling pin so that the middle of the dough skin is thicker than the edges of the dough skin. Put a dollop of filling on the dough skin on the table and carefully pull and fold the edges. Gather the folds and pinch them tightly together in the middle and keep twisting around tightly until you have no more dough left to twist. Place each uncooked bun in paper cupcake cups. It does take practice to make a perfect bun that doesn’t come apart when you steam it.

If you are worried that they will come apart during steaming, invert the pinched side of the bun onto a paper cupcake cup and do the same for the rest of the buns. The buns are less likely to come apart in the steaming if the pinched side of the bun is facing down in the cupcake cup.

When all the buns are sealed, steam them in a steaming pot for 20 minutes and move to a plate with a pair of tongs. Allow enough spacing between the buns for expansion.

The buns will look slightly yellowish. If you prefer whiter buns, add some distilled white vinegar to the water for steaming before steaming each batch of bun. Note that buns steamed with vinegar water will smell slightly sourish initially when they are done. I have omitted vinegar in recent buns I made as I didn’t mind the buns being a little yellowish. They still taste the same anyway.

Bon appetite!

Copyright 2013 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Vegetarian Yakisoba with Tempeh and Baby Spinach

Vegetarian Yakisoba with tempeh and spinach


2 tablespoons of Oil

1 packet or 2 large pieces of tempeh, cut approximately into 1 inch by 1/2 inch pieces

Mediterranean Sea Salt

7 cups of Boiling Water

1 big packet of Evergreen Yakisoba frozen noodles, thawed

1 Garlic, chopped

1 big box of Organic Baby Spinach

Ground White Pepper

Black Pepper

1/4 cup of Teriyaki Sauce

2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice

1/2 cup of Ketchup


Pour oil into a non-stick frying pan. Add tempeh before oil heats up. Fry tempeh on both sides until golden brown, add a little Mediterranean sea salt. Dish up tempeh.

In a big bowl, pour boiling water over yakisoba noodles. Loosen noodles with a pair of chopsticks and pour out the water immediately or strain noodles to prevent noodles from getting too soft. This removes excess oil from the yakisoba noodles and makes sure that the noodles are completely thawed.

Use the oil to lightly fry the garlic. Garlic burns quickly so add spinach before the garlic starts turning golden brown. Add about 1/2 cup of water or more to steam the spinach. Keep stir frying until spinach is soft. Dish up spinach and place with tempeh. Keep the sauce leftover from stir frying the spinach.

Add yakisoba noodles to the frying pan that has the sauce from stir frying spinach. Stir and toss noodles well to absorb the sauce. Add white ground pepper, black pepper, teriyaki sauce, lemon juice and ketchup to the noodles. Mix them in well with noodles and stir fry noodles until they are dry and slightly brown on some of them. Turn off heat. Add in tempeh and spinach and mix well into the noodles.

Copyright 2013 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Vegetarian Roast Goose

Vegetarian Roast Goose Sauce

Vegetarian Roast Goose 1

Vegetarian Roast Goose 2 Vegetarian Roast Goose 3 Vegetarian Roast Goose 4

Growing up, my mom often bought vegetarian roast goose from the canteen of a Buddhist Temple Zhi Du An when she went to pay respects to my deceased paternal grandmother. The temple had the best vegetarian roast goose I ever tasted and if my mom were to go there later in the day, they would be sold out. They go really well with plain white rice or with vegetarian rice vermicilli. This is the first time I attempted to make vegetarian roast goose. It didn’t quite taste the same as what I grew up eating but they are close. My hubby finds the mock vegetarian goose quite convincing. I initially served it crispy without sauce but found it rather chewy, so I made a sauce and poured over it to make it look braised. My hubby likes it better crispy with no sauce.

Main ingredient:

1 packet of bean curd skin

Ingredients for the sauce:

1 cup of cold water
1/4 cup of kikkoman light soy sauce
1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon of five spice powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon of corn starch


Cut the bean curd skin into big rectangular sheets cutting through the folds, keep the scraps or smaller strayed pieces for layering in between to make the meat look more realistic.

Save some of the larger rectangular sheets of bean curd skin for the bottom layers and the top layers to sandwich the smaller pieces. Use smaller pieces in between the big pieces of bean curd skin.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce well to free lumps of cornstarch. Whisk everything together or mix well with a spoon

Brush each layer with the sauce and press down firmly another sheet of bean curd skin on top. Keep layering until you are done. Brush more sauce along the edges when done layering.

Save the rest of the sauce for braising.

Bake on a cookie sheet covered with non stick aluminum foil for 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Broil on high for 2 minutes.

Cut the vegetarian roast goose into 1 inch or 1/2 inch wide pieces and cut the whole sheet into half length wise.

Pour the remaining sauce into a measuring cup. Fill up to the one cup marking with additional cold water. Add a teaspoon of cornstarch and a teaspoon of honey to the remaining sauce and mix well. In a small sauce pan, bring the sauce to a boil and pour over the vegetarian roast goose. Allow sauce to soak right through before serving.

You can now enjoy vegetarian roast goose with your favorite rice or noodles!

Bon Appetite!

Copyright 2013 From the Kitchen of Eloise