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Cooked nut free chinese new year jai vegetable stew in an orange le creuset pot

Nut Free Chinese New Year Vegetable Stew "Jai" Recipe

Chinese jai recipe is a very important part of Chinese New Year celebrations. Sharon's recipe is nut free and incorporates fresh spring vegetables. This recipes makes 12 hearty servings of about 2 cups each but can easily serve more people as a side dish. If there are ingredients that you like or don't like, feel free to use more or less to suit your preferences. 

Course Vegetable Stir Fry
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chinese new year jai, vegetable stew
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 212 kcal
Author Sharon Wong


  • 1 cup bean curd sticks dried (1 handful, 2 oz)
  • ½ cup lily flower buds dried (0.5 ounce)
  • ¼ cup lotus seeds dried (1.3 o5)
  • 12 oysters dried (2 oz)
  • 12 shitake mushrooms dried (2 ounces)
  • 1 can baby corn 14 oz, rinse
  • ½ cup red dates dried (2 ounces)
  • 2 large carrots 3 small, diagonally sliced
  • 6 oz deep fried tofu puffs
  • 12 deep fried gluten balls 50 grams
  • 12 ounces Napa cabbage 1 small or 1/2 medium head, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 bundles mung bean vermicelli dried
  • 8 oz sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • 3/4 cup black moss 1 ounce
  • 1/2 cup rice wine for rinsing
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or other stir fry oil
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups mushroom soaking water or broth or plain water
  • 4 cups broth vegetable or chicken
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


Wash, soak & preparation:

  1. Rinse and soak bean curd sticks, break them into 2-3 inch long pieces if necessary. When they are soft, drain and set aside.
  2. Rinse and soak dried lily flowers, swish and change water until there’s no more sand at the bottom of the bowl. Tie each flower into a knot and trim the base of the bud.
  3. Rinse and soak lotus seeds, when the lotus seed softens a bit, remove the red skin with a small paring knife. Rinse, drain, and set aside.
  4. Rinse and soak the dried oysters (allow at least 2 hours) until they’re softer, drain and set aside.
  5. Rinse and soak shitake mushrooms in room temperature water, place a small dish or bowl on top so that the mushrooms are completely submerged for about 2 hours. Swish the mushrooms, squeeze the excess water, trim the stem off (reserve for stock or discard), and set aside the shitake mushrooms. Reserve the soaking water, allow the water to settle (avoid using the stuff at the bottom).
  6. Rinse the baby corn and set aside.
  7. Soak the black moss in a medium sized bowl of cool water and examine the dry black moss and remove any human hair and debris. When it’s soft, drain in a fine sieve and slowly pour ½ cup of rice wine over it, drain and set aside.
  8. Soak mung bean vermicelli in a large bowl of room temperature water for 20 minutes. Grab a bundle and cut in half with scissors so that the strands are between 8-12 inches long. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  9. Rinse and soak red dates for 10 minutes. Inspect each one, remove any attached stems, discard any dates that are bruised or blemished. Remove the pit by cutting a vertical line halfway thru to remove the seed, set aside.

Parboiling & cooking:

  1. Fill a 4 quart or larger pot ¾ full with water and bring to a boil. Parboil lotus seeds for 1 minute, remove with a sieve, and set aside. Repeat by parboiling bean sticks, red dates, baby corn, and carrot slices in separate batches for one minute each.
  2. Parboil the tofu puffs for one minute. Lastly parboil the gluten balls, use scissors to snip a small slit the gluten balls. When the tofu puffs and gluten balls cool to touch, give them gentle squeezes to drain any excess water.
  3. Preheat a large pot heavy bottom pot for a few minutes on medium-high heat, add oil and swirl to coat.
  4. Add ginger and stir fry for 1 minute until fragrant.
  5. Add oysters and stir fry for 1 minute until fragrant.
  6. Add mushrooms and stir fry for 1 minute until fragrant.
  7. Add 1 cup of mushroom soaking water, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Stir the jai, add bean sticks, carrot slices, lily buds, lotus seeds, red dates, and 1 cup of mushroom soaking water, cover and lower the heat to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  9. Add baby corn, gluten balls, tofu puffs, and stir, add 4 cups of broth, add the napa cabbage on top, cover and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  10. Stir the jai, tuck the bundles of vermicelli noodles into the broth, add the black moss and snow peas on top, cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  11. Drizzle the oyster sauce and soy sauce over the top of the jai and gently stir to mix in the black moss and snow peas.