Buddhist Food Recipes

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Vegetarian Spring Rolls: Bi Cuon Chay Recipe Recipe

For this dish I made a traditional  bì chay with jicama, tofu, a protein element and soy sauce dipping sauce. Then I wrapped the tofu mixture in rice paper disks, forming tasty and healthy spring rolls. Rice vermicelli noodles, shredded lettuce and cucumber were added to form the rolls as well.

Once you master forming the spring rolls, you can experiment with many different combinations of noodles, vegetables and protein. Just try to maintain the same ratio of ingredient types as in this recipe. 


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Bun Bi Chay Recipe Recipe

Bun Bi Chay Recipe

05.24.12 by Jackie

Bun is a popular Vietnamese meal, which consists of rice vermicelli noodles, shredded lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, a protein element and dipping sauce. Bun bì chay is a vegetarian version that replicates shredded pork by using fried sliced jicama and fried tofu.

This is an ideal and very refreshing hot weather dish. The preparation is labor intensive, especially with chopping and frying, so I usually make a large quantity. It's delicious and keeps for a few days, so it's definitely worth the effort.


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Vietnamese Vegetables with Ginger (Rau Muong Xao Gung) Recipe

Vietnamese cuisine boasts many dishes that highlight fresh ingredients in a healthy manner. Rau muống xào với gừng (Vietnamese pea tendrils sautéed in ginger) is an excellent example of this.  The dish is incredibly simple; the pea tendrils are blanched and then flavored with ginger and a little turmeric for color. I made it recently for my uncle who was visiting us and is a practicing Buddhist, which is why the recipe does not call for onions, shallots or garlic. Don’t worry though; the dish is only light on calories, not flavor.

As a child, our typical Vietnamese family meals were composed of individual bowls of rice, meat, seafood or tofu, a bowl of canh (a clear broth soup), a vegetable side dish and a dipping sauce. I always looked forward to a bowl of rau muống, served with a soy sauce and ginger dipping sauce called mắm gừng. If you have trouble getting your family to eat their greens, give this dish a try. It worked on me!


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Vegetarian Fish in Nori Rolls (Ca Keo Chay) Recipe

This dish is a vegetarian version of the Vietnamese dish called "cá kho tộ", which is braised fish simmered in caramel sauce. Instead of using cá kèo (a dark-scaled small fish that is very popular in Saigonese cuisine), I stuffed tofu in nori sheets to resemble the look and taste of seafood. Once wrapped, the nori rolls are simmered in a sauce made of coconut and soy sauce. Even though the real fish dish is cooked in a claypot to perfectly sear the fish, for the vegetarian equivalent I don’t think it’s necessary. I used a  regular  deep non-stick pan.

I served the vegetarian fish with thin vermicelli noodles and a banana blossom salad. The more authentic version calls for rau răm, which is a Vietnamese aromatic herb that is an acquired taste for those who are not familiar with it. My husband Lulu is not a big fan, so I garnished it with African basil from the garden. 

If you're planning to cook for vegetarians, this meal is perfect; the texture of firm tofu resembles fish without its strong aroma. If you like this recipe, you'll be happy to know that there are a lot of similar vegetarian equivalents to traditional Vietnamese dishes that have been developed for the Buddhist vegetarian diet. I'll post more recipes resembling seafood such as shrimp and other fish dishes soon.

Sorry for not posting yesterday'; our internet was down .


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Bi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Recipe) Recipe

If you're looking for tasty Vietnamese vegetarian food, this bì chay recipe is just for you. This version respects the true Buddhist vegetarian diet, which states no onion, garlic or shallots allowed. The flavors of the dish are mainly from the toasted jasmine rice ground into a fine powder, blended with very thinly shredded fried potatoes, taro, tofu and jicama. Jicama is a sweet turnip that is used quite often in Vietnamese cuisine (as well as in Mexican food) and it mimics the texture of pork skin.

I served this tofu dish with rice noodles, aromatic Vietnamese green herbs and a soy sauce-based dipping sauce made with coconut. The result is a simple, refreshing dish that is packed with flavor. It just proves that with the right ingredients and cooking techniques, even food made for a restricted Buddhist vegetarian diet can be satisfying. Don't believe me? You'll have to try it to for yourself!


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