Monday, October 8, 2012

Braised Mixed Veggies with Fermented Red Beancurd (南乳焖斋菜)

This is dedicated to all the vegans out there!

This dish is a special dish to me. My grandma never fails to cook this on 1st day of Chinese New Year. My mother do cook this too, but it won't be particulary on 1st day of CNY tho. And upon our request, and when she's in a good mood, sometimes, she will randomly cook for us.

I supposed to post this during Chinese New Year season. But this is so good that I just can't wait to share will all of you. Haha.

I had not been eating this for 2 years or more. That's why I'm so so so very wanna cook this!
Ingredients are easily available at chinese dried sundries shop which usually located at the wet market. I got all my ingredients from Chinatown wet market. Easy!    

The main highlight of this dish is the fermented red beancurd. Without this, please forget about cooking this dish.

There's this particular fermented red beancurd that I adore so much. I got it from a particular sundry shop located at the corner of Chinatown wet market - with a boss and 2 ladies helping him around, usually crowded with customers during weekend. I didn't get the name of the shop, but when you get there, you will know. The neighbour of this shop is unoccupied. The door is always closed. So, it is easily identifiable if you wanted to go there and buy. It comes with a small container that cost S$1.20. Unlike other fermented red beancurd in a glass bottle that comes in small cubes in it. For this, there's only 1 big piece (about 5cm x 5cm size) of fermented red beancurd in there. The sundry shop owner told me that this is packed in such way because the fermented red beancurd comes in huge barrel, and they have to re-packed it in small container for easy selling. If Chinatown is too faraway for you, don't bother. Just use your preferred fermented red beancurd. It's fine.

This piece of heaven taste really good! It's just like how western people adore blue cheese I suppose? I don't know how to appreciate blue cheese anyway. Hahaha...

  • 250g Napa Cabbage (大白菜), cut into big pieces
  • 8 small Chinese Dried Mushrooms (香菇), soaked overnight, sliced
  • 60g Fried Bean Sticks (炸腐竹), snip into big pieces (about 5 x 5 cm)
  • 15g Chinese Dried Golden Needles, aka Daylily (金针)
  • 15g Cloud Ears (云耳), soaked till soft, snip away the hard part
  • 70g Dried Glass Noodles (粉丝), soaked till soft
  • 2 cloves Garlic (蒜头), finely chopped
  • ½ blocks of 5 x 5cm sized Fermented Red Beancurd (南乳)
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt (盐), or adjust to suit your own tastebud.
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar (糖), or adjust to suit your own tastebud.
  • 500ml Water (水) - The water that you used to soak mushroom
Note :

1. For the mushroom, it is highly advisable to soak it overnight, remove stem and then slice it. You could see it in the picture, I didn't slice my mushroom. Not because I like it in this way, it's because I forget! And with such big piece of mushroom, it takes much longer cooking time to soften it. So, please don't repeat my silly mistake.

2. When I mention 1/2 blocks of fermented red beancurd, the size of the whole block is 5cm x 5cm. If you are using those usual ones, that comes in small cubes, you may want to make it 2½ or 3 cubes.

3. Bean sticks has fried and non-fried. You just have to be specific when you purchase it. If you have non-fried ones, still can. Just do a quick deep fry, and you will get the same thing.

4. There's a big difference betwen Cloud Ear and Wood Ear. Some people aways mixed them up. Wood ear takes longer time to cook. To make it clearer, here's the difference between two of them :

  1. Heat up your wok, 2 tbsp cooking oil, saute chopped garlic till fragrant.
  2. Add in half blocks of fermented red beancurd, fry until fragrant.  
  3. Add in sliced mushroom, cloud ear bean sticks and golden needles, mix everything together.
  4. Add 500ml water (or more if you want). Bring to a boil, reduce to low fire, cover up, and let it slowly simmer for 10mins. Do give it a few stir in-between.
  5. Add in bok choy, stir, cover up and simmer for another 5mins.
  6. Add salt and sugar, taste. If the taste is ok, then, add glass noodles. Stir for a minute (or less). Heat off, dish up and serve.
Glass noodles is like a thirsty hippo, it will absorb most of the sauce. If you think your dish is too dry, add some water. Remember to add abit salt to adjust back the taste before you dish up.

My bowl of veggies looks less moist than the actual one. The sauce sinked at the bottom of the bowl. That's why you didn't see em'. Also, partially have to blame myself for being busy cleaning up in the kitchen and neglected it there too long before I take the picture.

I love this bowl. This is the kind of metal bowl that my grandma used to serve me meals during my childhood time. Ahhh... Those were the days... It's so nostalgic!

I hope you like it!

Do try this at home and impress the fellow seniors at your home! Since this is considered as a traditional food for most chinese family, I'm sure they will love it if it is cooked by you :)

This post has been featured in Asian Food Channel (AFC) Facebook

And in Asia Food Recipe


  1. Hi Annie,

    Of course, I remember eating this vegetarian dish in every 1st and 15th of lunar months. However, we didn't cook this vegetarian dish ourselves.

    You cooked this dish very well... very homely and beautiful.

    Nice to know you through blogging. Now following you and hope to keep in touch for more of your cooking tips :D


  2. Hi Zoe, I'm glad that my blog helps you in your cooking. I'm just sharing what I know utmost. Thanks for reading my blog :)

  3. Hi,

    Love tis dish,always eat it during CNY,will attempt tis dish the next few days coz missing sm ingredients. Thank u so much all yr dishes looks so delicious sendingbmi hungry every time I tune in.

    Regards, cheers,

  4. Oh,btw, the golden needle do I need to soak it?

    1. Yes! Need to soak the golden needle for awhile. Just awhile. Not too long :)

  5. For the golden needle, I will usually tie a knot and snip off the hard end bits. It's supposed to give better texture than the untied version.