On the fifteenth of every month in the lunar calendar, when the moon is full and at its roundest, my family has a tradition of being vegetarian. This tradition originated from my grandmother, a devout Buddhist. She and many of the faith believe that if you are Buddhist and not completely vegetarian, it is important to give up meat for one day of the month to reconnect with the ideal behind Buddhism, which is to be compassionate to all living beings including animals. This is our family vegetarian recipe. It is a clear soup broth made with lots of Napa cabbage, crunchy woodear mushrooms, earthy Chinese mushrooms, bamboo shoots and fresh beancurd (dofu or tofu) combined with clear mung bean noodles in a seasoned savory and sour broth. It is much like the hot and sour soup or Suan La Tang served in Chinese restaurants. Add a chili or two if you wish.
© 2006 Ching-He Huang. All rights reserved.