KS 3 & KS 4
Design and Technology- Food Technology;
Cross-curriculum learning - Citizenship, History and Geography
Buddha's delight (Luóhàn zhāi)
Download Lesson Plan (Full Updated Version)
- 8pcs large Shiitake mushrooms
- 60g dried cellophane noodles, broken into 4-inch pieces
- 70g canned sliced water chestnuts
- 70g canned bamboo shoots, julienned
- 400g baby corn, drained
- 230g snow peas, strings removed
- 230g Chinese leaf (Chinese cabbage), cut into 2x1-inch pieces
- 230g firm tofu (or deep-fried tofu), drained and cut into 1-inch cube
- 90g vegetable broth
- 1 ½ tbs vegetable oil
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced on diagonal
*Other kinds of vegetables can be used.
- 2 tsp Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
1) Marinate the mushrooms and tofu in with the soy sauce and sesame oil for 30 mins.
2) Blanch the Chinese leaf, bamboo shoots and carrot for 2 minutes in boiling water, drain and set aside.
3) Soak dried cellophane noodles until soft, drain and set aside.
4) In a wok with the heated oil, stir-fry tofu and mushrooms until tofu is slightly brown on all sides (5 mins)
5) Add water chestnuts, baby corn, snow peas and again stir-fry for one minute.
6) Add noodles and vegetable broth, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes
A. Activity Plan
- How to make Buddha's Delight, a traditional Chinese recipe
- Use various ingredients, like tofu, that are common in Asian cuisines.
- Use various seasoning source e.g. soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Learn cooking techniques – stir-frying and blanching
- Learn to use a wok
- Increase cultural understanding through learning about Chinese cuisines, utensils like wok and eating culture
B. Popular ingredients in Chinese dishes
Tofu is also called bean curd and is high in protein, low in fat, and very versatile. You can eat it raw or cooked, but it's bland by itself and tastes best if it has absorbed other flavours. There are several varieties of raw tofu, each with different moisture contents.
Silken and soft tofu are relatively moist, and best suited for making shakes, dips, and dressings. Regular tofu had some of the moisture drained away, and it's best for scrambling or using it like cheese in casseroles. Firm, extra-firm, and pressed tofu are even drier, so they absorb other flavours better and hold their shape in stir-fries and on the grill. Tofu can also be found smoked, pickled, flavoured, baked, and deep-fat fried.
2. Shitake Mushrooms
Shiitake is an edible mushroom native to East Asia: it is widely cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries. It is also considered a medicinal mushroom in some forms of traditional medicine: it is believed to boost energy and prevent diseases, and it is rich in Vitamin D. In Chinese cuisine, they are often sautéed in vegetarian dishes such as Buddha's delight.
3. Chinese Leaf (Chinese Cabbage)
Chinese leaf is a type of Chinese cabbage originating near the Beijing region, and is commonly used in East Asian cuisines. Chinese leaf has crunchy texture and it goes well with rich or strong tasting ingredients.
C. Chinese Sauces
Oyster sauce is made with oyster extracts from oysters. Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce originated since 1888 made with oyster extracts from the finest oysters. Use it as an all-purpose seasoning sauce to uplift the umami taste of meat and vegetables. Traditionally used as a marinade, it is a seasoning for stir-fries, as a condiment for many Chinese dishes.
Lee Kum Kee's Sesame Oil is used as a flavour enhancer in Chinese cuisine making it a staple oil within the cuisine. The oil which is manufactured from sesame seeds has uses in alternative medicines as a source of vitamins, minerals and role in controlling blood pressure.
Soy Sauce is an essential ingredient in Chinese cooking. It is made from a mixture of Soya beans, flour and water. Light Soy Sauce is saltier and lighter in colour, while dark soy sauce has been aged and has a darker colour. Dark soy sauce is thicker and more suitable in stews.
D. Preparation and Cooking techniques
1. Marinating technique
Marinating technique is very important in cooking Chinese dishes. Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned liquid before cooking. It is commonly used to add flavor to the food and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat. The process may last min or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines.
In Chinese cuisines, oyster sauce and soy sauce are quite common in marinating meat.
Stir-frying is a technique that when properly executed, foods can be cooked in minutes in very little oil so they retain their natural flavours and textures. Stir frying is a popular Chinese cooking technique for preparing food in a wok: chao. The chao technique is similar to the Western technique of sautéing. A small amount of cooking oil is poured down the side of the wok, followed by dry seasoning e.g. ginger and garlic, then at the first moment the seasoning can be smelled, meats are added and agitated.
Sautéing is a method of cooking food that uses a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Ingredients are usually cut into pieces or thinly sliced to facilitate fast cooking.
Blanching is a cooking technique wherein food usually a vegetable or fruit, is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water or just put aside.
This technique is often used to cook and soften vegetables that might turn bitter (such as broccoli) when cooked with other techniques, and it is also useful to let the vegetables maintain their shape, texture and vivid colours. In fact, this quick hot-cold alternation slows enzymes that would corrupt the vegetable in the cooking process.
E. Cooking tools
A most useful and versatile piece of equipment, the wok may be used for stir frying, blanching, deep-frying and steaming foods.
A wok is a versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel originating in China. It is used especially in East and South-East Asia.
The most common materials used in making woks today are carbon steel and cast iron. Although the latter was the most common type used in the past, cooks today tend to be divided on which woks are superior, i.e. carbon steel or cast iron.
F. Story behind the dishes
Buddha's delight (Luóhàn zhāi) is a popular dish in families as well as in Buddhist temples in China. The name of this dish related to the Eighteen Archats (Luohan) are depicted in Mahayana Buddhism as the original followers of the Buddha. This dish could have more than 10 different kinds of vegetables, people were amazed by its great varieties and claimed that the ingredients could be as many as Eighteen Archats (Luohan), so it is called vegetarian cuisine of Luohan.
The Eighteen Archats (Luohan) are believed to have reached the state of Nirvana and are free of worldly cravings. They have a mission to protect the Buddhist faith and to await on earth for the coming of Maitreya (a prophesied Buddha on earth many millennia after the death of Buddha).
Buddhism in China has played an important role in shaping Chinese history and cuisine, most notably making the vegetarian diet of feature for those who believed in Buddhist principles. Buddhist missionaries first arrived in Han China around 206 BCE and 220 CE, most likely via the famous Silk Road or through a marine trading route. Popular accounts tell that Emperor Ming 58-75 CE of Han dynasty introduced Buddhism into China but it is clear that translation of Buddhist texts actually date back before that. Buddhists in China experienced mixed popularity throughout the centuries, although the religion often found patronage amongst intellectuals and elites as it spread.
Although there are different schools of thought on vegetarianism within Buddhism, the most restrictive is the Mahayana School that prohibits eating flesh of any kind. Also, some vegetables with strong taste and smell e.g. garlic and shallots are also be prohibited because those strong tastes are thought to be bad for both the mind and body.
The rise of vegetarian diets led many to seek alternative sources of food. During the Han Dynasty tofu was invented as a good derived purely from vegetables but with a meaty texture.