Do you know according to Chinese Zodiac, 2018 is year of the Earth Dog? So if you were born in EARTH, Fire and Metal years, luck is on your side and your lucky colours are earthy tones, brown, yellow, beige, green and blue.

I don’t know how much I actually believe in these metaphysical and quasiphilosophical ideas but I find these fengshui rules very interesting that the Chinese and Buddhists follow to harmonize their individual lives with the surrounding environment.

One such Buddhist belief is that meat shouldn’t be eaten in the first five days of the new year. That’s why this colourful vegetables stir fry mix is a popular dish traditionally served on the first day of Chinese New Year.

It’s hearty, flavourful and super quick to make. Every Buddhist family have their own version with different favourite ingredients but some ingredients that are considered auspicious are included in most versions. These typical ingredients are tofu, carrots, Chinese cabbage, black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, daywater Lily, sprouts, peanuts and snow peas.

This stir fry mix dish is made with at least 10 ingredients, at times 18 or up to 35 ingredients are added too – even eggs and seafood. Since these specific ingredients vary inside and outside Asia from region to region, you can substitute these with your local fresh produce. Then simply stir fry them in a soy sauce based liquid. These days vegan soy sauce is easily available too in most supermarkets.

Want to make your own five spice?
: just blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns. If you can’t find Sichuan peppers, mix coriander seeds and black peppers.

Ingredients:
1+1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 large carrot, cut into round chunks
2 bell peppers, green or red
1 cup canned bamboo shoots, sliced
1 cup button mushrooms
1 cup black or shittake mushrooms
2/2 head Chinese cabbage
1/2 cup peanuts
1 cup bean sprouts
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon corn flour
Salt and pepper for seasoning

This Is What You Do:
Combine 1/4 cup vegetable stock, soy sauce and corn flour in a small bowl and set aside.

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder over tofu.

Heat oil in a wok or heavy bottomed frying pan on medium high heat.

Add the tofu to the pan and fry until light golden. Remove from pan. Set aside.

Add garlic and stir fry for a few seconds.

Add all the prepared vegetables to the pan and the remaining vegetables stock. Stir fry on high heat for 3-4 minutes.

Pour the sauce mix over the vegetables and toss to mix.

Reduce heat to a simmer to allow the sauce to thicken and coat the vegetables lightly.

Add steamed rice or noodles to four bowls and top with Budha’s Delight. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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