The Auspicious Eight Treasures

Bā bǎo rúyì cài 八宝如意菜, or the auspicious eight treasures, are a must-have dish during Chinese New Year. Passed down through generations of Tang cooking, the recipe I’m publishing today has perfected through lines of ancestral mothers laboring at their wood-fired stoves. And while the dish is best served at its birthplace, an electric stove pot is acceptable, though shunned.

The secret sauce to their unctuous slew of treasure? My matrilineal sweat. Just kidding, but prepare your arms from some brutal back-and-forth sautéing.

My mother, who learned from my grandmother who learned from her mother, taught me how to curate the right treasures this year. The eight different julienned ingredients compliment each other with taste and texture. The main ingredient for the dish is soy bean sprouts, as its shape is similar to the ancient imperial jade symbol of auspiciousness. The second most important ingredient is the julienned bamboo shoots because they share the similar sound of “everything goes as one’s heart desires”.

Ingredients include:

  • Soy bean sprouts
  • Dried daylily
  • Julienned bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, green pepper, soy puff, and carrots
  • Pork loin

Sauté all the ingredients, receive your good fortune, and enjoy this familial delicacy of the Spring Festival.

Published by holidaysallyearround

For most cultures, holidays serve as the only opportunities in the year in which we come together: to reunite with faraway relatives, reconcile our past ancestors, and refill stomachs. And for most, holidays fall deep into history, myths, or grandma's fictitious tales that dictate the food boiling after a sacrificial ceremony to the decorations adorned on doors.

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