I think it was my daughter who first alerted me to this salad, and what a cracker it is. It is worth the visit to your local Asian grocery and food market to get these unusual ingredients. I first made this around 2003, and it is steadily on our menu since that time. Whenever we feel like some strong Asian flavours, this is a dish that we turn to.
There are many legends and stories about the origins of the Buddha’s Bowl Salad, but I have a personal theory. Throughout S.E. Asia you will see Buddhists in their daily begging walk, carrying a bowl, into which locals place items of food. This is the food for their daily meals, and the result is a bowl full of whole range of different ingredients, just like today’s fashionable Buddha’s Bowl Salads. Today’s fashionable dishes began being simply called Bowl Salads, but, the internet being what it is, they have now become called Buddha’s Bowl Salads.
This recipe is quite different to the modern, Westernised salads. It is full of Asian ingredients like lilly buds and Moss Fungus. It is a pure delight! The ingredients are quickly stir-fried together and then served.
I remember when I first made this salad, Asian ingredients were not as available as they are these days, and the general awareness of them was low. When I went searching for the ingredients in the Asian store, I had the staff helping me and they were so excited that I was making this dish. It must be a favourite with so many people.
Are you looking for Asian Style Salads? Try Asian Quick Pickled Cucumber and Tofu Salad, Kylie’s Tofu, Black Cloud Ear Fungus, Asian Herb and Sesame Salad, and Pomelo Salad with Asian Flavours.
Feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006 in our Retro Recipes series. They really are gorgeously retro.
Buddha’s Delight | Buddha’s Bowl
|25 g tiger lily buds (dried, frozen or fresh)||8 Cloud’s Ear fungus||10 g moss fungus|
|10 g dried black Chinese fungus||150 g braised gluten (if available)||50 g bean curd puffs/Tofu Puffs (deep fried tofu)|
|100 g bean sprouts||1 carrot||4Tblspn canola oil|
|50 g snow peas||1 tspn salt||0.5 tspn sugar|
|4 Tblspn vegetable stock or water||2 Tblspn light soy sauce||0.5 tspn roasted sesame oil|
Soak the dried ingredients, separately, in boiling water for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain well. Squeeze out excess water. Remove and discard any hard ends of mushrooms and lily buds. Cut mushroom caps into halves or quarters.
Cut gluten and bean curd into small pieces. Wash bean sprouts and dry thoroughly. Diagonally cut carrot into thin strips.
Heat wok over a high heat. Add oil and heat until very hot. Stir fry carrot for 30 seconds then add snow peas and bean sprouts. Sit for 30 seconds or so. Add gluten, bean curd, mushrooms, fungus, salt, sugar, stock and soy sauce. Toss everything together, then cover and braise for 2 minutes on gentle simmer.
Add sesame oil, toss through and serve hot as a side dish or main course, or cold as a salad.
recipe notes and alternatives
Don’t be afraid to experiment with ingredients in this one. For example, it is also great served on some Asian thick noodles.