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Vegetables, Vegetarian

Ru yi cai ("As you wish" vegetables)

Ru yi cai ("As you wish" vegetables)
Los Angeles Times

In the pristine prep kitchen above Culver City's Beacon restaurant, amid the bustle of lunch preparations, chef Vicki Fan is surrounded by vegetables. They cover her cutting board and worktable like a deconstructed garden: short mountains of gorgeous ying choy, ... Read more

Total time: 50 minutes | Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup julienned snow peas
  • 1 cup soy bean sprouts
  • 1 cup julienned fresh bamboo shoots
  • 1/2 cup dried lily flowers, rehydrated
  • 1 cup dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and julienned
  • 1/2 cup dried sliced wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated and julienned
  • 1 cup julienned baked tofu
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Chinese pickled sweet cucumber (jiang guo)
  • 1/4 cup Chinese pickled cabbage (takana is the Japanese equivalent and a good substitution)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Step 1Heat a wok on medium-high heat until hot and add 1 teaspoon canola oil until you see a wisp of smoke. Stir-fry the carrots, about 30 seconds, adding a pinch of salt and pepper (add less pepper than salt each time you do this). Remove and spread them out on a cookie sheet to cool. Reserve.

Step 2Wipe out the wok and repeat this process with the snow peas. Reserve.

Step 3Wipe out the wok and heat a teaspoon of oil until you see smoke. Add the bean sprouts, turn the heat to medium-low and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the bamboo shoots to the bean sprouts and stir to combine, stir-frying for another 30 seconds. Pour the vegetables into a large bowl, cool and reserve.

Step 4Wipe out the wok and heat another teaspoon of oil over medium-high heat until you see smoke. Add the lily flowers, shiitakes and wood ears, turn the heat to medium-low and stir-fry, adding another small pinch of salt and pepper. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes, then pour the vegetables into the bowl containing the bamboo shoots and bean sprouts.

Step 5Wipe out the wok and heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat until you see smoke. Add the tofu and stir-fry, again slightly lowering the heat and seasoning with a little salt and pepper, until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the bowl full of previously stir-fried vegetables back into the wok with the tofu, stirring to combine over low heat and adding the carrots. Add the pickled vegetables and stir to combine, adding a small pinch of salt and pepper and the sesame oil.

Step 6Take the wok off the heat and taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper to taste. Pour out into a large bowl, pulling the ingredients up the sides to help cool them and making a well. Add the snow peas and then stir to combine. (Alternatively, you can spread this all out onto a sheet pan once it's mixed, to let it cool more quickly.) Cool to room temperature or refrigerate before serving.

Note: From Vicki Fan. Dried lily flowers, dried shiitake and wood ear mushrooms, fresh bamboo shoots, baked tofu, pickled sweet cucumber (such as Kimlan brand) and pickled cabbage (such as Ma Ling brand) are available at Chinese markets. To rehydrate dried flowers and mushrooms, place in separate bowls and pour boiling water over them; let stand 30 to 40 minutes.


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