Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frozen Tofu with Shiitake and Dried Lily Buds

Dried lily buds (金針菜) is also called golden needle vegetable but don't confuse it with dried golden needle mushroom (dried enoki mushroom) as they look almost similar.  Usually found in Asian supermarket where they sell dried woodear and mushroom.  Once open, I would keep it in a Ziploc bag and in the refrigerator.  When you want to use it, you need to soften it in the water first.  I often see dried lily buds in auspicious Chinese dishes because it symbolizes wealth for the Chinese when celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year.  Shiitake mushroom symbolizes longevity + opportunity and yellow color tofu symbolizes wealth and happiness (like dried beancurd stick and fried tofu puff).  Since frozen tofu is yellow in color and yellow means gold in Chinese, it should symbolizes wealth and happiness.  Whereas the fresh white tofu is not included as it is unlucky for new year as the color white means death and misfortune. You can braise your tofu in a sauce to change the color or pan-fried the tofu until golden before stir-frying to change your luck if you are superstitious like me.

This would make a great vegetarian Chinese New Year dish too!   The frozen tofu cubes and mushrooms soaked up all the flavor of the sauce and made this dish such a plus!  Imagine biting into the spongy and juicy cubed tofu and flavorful mushrooms!!

I am sharing this recipe with Aspiring Bakers #15: Auspicious Dishes for CNY hosted by Wen's Delight.  Go check out the roundup on Feb 1st.  I know I will!  :-)


  • 2 pieces of frozen tofu, defrost and cut into cubes, gently squeeze out the water
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, rinse and soften in warm water for few hours, reserve the water
  • 1/4 cup or a small bunch of dried lily buds/golden needle, soften in water for 30 minutes and rinse
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Chinese white small rock sugar, about 8 pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic oil/ canola oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. LKK Chu Hou paste
  • 1 Tbsp. HuaTiaoShaoXing wine
  • 1/2 Tbsp. premium dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Reserved mushroom water as needed


1.  Cut off the harder tip of the dried lily buds and tight a knot.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium size saucepan, heat it with medium heat.  When hot, add garlic oil and rock sugar.  Stir until the rock sugar melted.  Add in Chu Hou paste (be careful it will splatter), stir quickly until fragrant.  Add in reserved mushroom water.  Add addition 1/2-3/4 cup of water.  Turn the heat up and let it boil.

3.  When boiling, add in mushrooms.  The water should covered the mushrooms.  Add the rest of the seasonings.  Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

4.  Do a taste test and adjust accordingly.  Add frozen tofu and make sure the sauce covered all areas of the frozen cubed tofu, flip to cover all areas.  Let it simmer for 10 minutes.

5.  Add in dried lily buds, stir to mix in with the little sauce that have left.  Simmer for 5 minutes and serve!


Maggie said...

Beautiful dish! I am not sure that I can find all of these ingredients in our little town, but I'd sure love to try! This looks absolutely delicious!

Nava K said...

I think I did see the dried lily buds at the supermarket but I have never used it before, unlike the frozen tofu and shiitake mushrooms which I use most of the time.

Nice and simple recipe, all the more healthy and as usual, the chillies with rice will be perfect pairing.

tigerfish said...

Interesting facts about tofu for CNY....

Healthy vegetarian dish too!

Belinda @zomppa said...

Looks like an auspicious dish to me! I bought some lily buds for New Year's, and still can't quite figure out what it is!

Yummy Bakes said...

Looks delicious. Happy New Year.

daphne said...

I'm thinking texture!!!! Crisp and soft!

Smoky Wok (formerly Tastes of Home) said...

YUM! This must be so delicious!! Happy New Year!

Little Corner of Mine said...

Thank you Maggie. :)

Nava, I mostly used it during CNY. For some reason I seldom use it on other time.

Yes Tigerfish, I recently discovered about it while I did a search on auspicious food symbolism for CNY.

Belinda, dried lily buds are the unopened flowers of day lilies. Said to be used as medicine since long ago in China.

Thanks Yummy Bakes, you too. :)

Daphne, quite a texture.

Thanks Smoky Wok, you too!