Soo Hwang Chue sounds a little better in Chinese than it does translated into Vegetarian Yellow Sparrow, and like the Lion’s Head Casserole, these don’t really look like birds. Naming issues aside, it’s a fabulous dish. It takes a little prep work and a bit of finesse, so it’s one of those dishes that you want to make for your special vegetarian friend to show them that you went the extra bit for them. It’s full of so many nutritious ingredients like shitake mushrooms, black fungus, and lily buds, all considered to have medicinal properties to enrich good health. The edamame, dry bean curd, and  bean curd sheets round-out this dish with an abundant source of protein. In my opinion, this is the perfect vegetarian dish.

Vegetarian Yellow Sparrow

Besides loving all the ingredients here individually, this dish is set up to be a really fun textural experience in the mouth. The “sparrow” is filled with veggies that crunch and squish inside of a soft bean curd skin that feels like a soft satin sheet holding it all together. Bites of edamame and bok choy should be taken in between offering breaks with new flavors and bite, one with more density and one that’s leafy.

If you don’t want to venture into making this yourself, look for this dish at Shanghainese restaurants. You might have to take a picture with you though. Chinese restaurants are notoriously bad at translating for their menus.

Vegetarian Yellow Sparrow 8

Vegetarian Yellow Sparrow
~10 to 12 pieces

  • 5 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup dried lily flower
  • 3/4 cup dried black fungus strips
  • 5 oz dry bean curd, cut into thin strips
  • 1 (8 oz) can bamboo shoots (strips), drained
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 bok choy, halved
  • 3 bean curd sheets (circular)
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cooked soy beans (edamame)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Instructions –

1. Soak shitake mushrooms in water for 2 hours.  Squeeze out excess liquid from the mushrooms and cut into strips. Set aside.

2. At the same time, soak lily flowers and fungus in water, separately, each for 1 hour. Squeeze out excess liquid from the lily flowers and pick any hard ends off. Cut them in half to shorten. Set aside. Squeeze out excess liquid from the fungus and set aside.

lily buds 2 fungus strips 2

3. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan on medium high heat. Fry bamboo for a few seconds while stirring. Add shitakes, fungus, and lily flowers and stir and flip for a few seconds. Add bean curd and stir and flip for a minute.

filling 2

4. Stir in vegetarian oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and sugar. Stir to coat evenly. There should be no excess liquid. Remove from heat and sea aside to cool to room temperature.

5. In the meantime, blanche bok choy in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

6. Cut bean curd sheets in quarters.

7. To assemble, wipe a little water on the bean curd sheet. Use 1/2 cup of filling, placing it almost 2″ from the curved edge. Spread it a little to fill the middle third of the area. Roll up like a cigar. Tie it in a knot. You can leave the end sticking up or tuck it back in. Repeat with remaining filling until you have 10 to 12 “sparrow”.

filling on bean curd sheetsroll up in bean curd sheets
roll up in bean curd sheets 2
filled bean curd sheet knots

8. Put all the sparrow in a large non-stick pan, at least 3″ deep. Add 3 cups water, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

wrapped in bean curd sheets and knotted

9. Turn down to a simmer and allow to cook uncovered for 3 minutes. Gently spoon some liquids from below, over the “sparrow”. Cover again and simmer for another 3 minutes.

10. When bean curd feels tender, sprinkle edamame and sesame oil on top. Mix cornstarch with 4 teaspoons water and stir into the sauce. Place “sparrow” on a bed of blanched bok choy. Serve immediately.

Vegetarian Yellow Sparrow 4

Left-overs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about 1 week. You can reheat on the stovetop or microwave and it will taste good, but the edamame will turn yellow as left-overs.

posted by jessica at 09:54 AM Filed under Chinese, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.