Monthly Archives: October 2009

Taiwanese Oyster Noodle – Vegan Style (Azuki’s Cooking Series #2)

I would have titled the post Vegetarian Oyster, except that, following my previous post on vegetarian spider, I won’t want any confusion that scientists have discovered a new breed of oyster.

A few years back when I attended a Tzu Chi study group, the host sister often makes a vegetarian noodle dish.  The Taiwanese noodle is dark brown in color and very thin, like vermicilli.  The study group ended,  and recently I started having cravings for that noodle.  When I spotted the noodle at the supermarket I brought a pack.  The first time around wasn’t quite successful, so I went online in search of a proper recipe, and came across one for making vegan oyster.

I know Chinese eats most anything and has a vegan mock version of most anything, but it was the first time I heard of vegan oyster.   Naturally I couldn’t resist making it.

The recipe is actually very simple.  You soak the shiitake mushrooms, chop them up, tear a nori seaweed sheet into tiny pieces, and mix the two together with some flour, then fry it.

vegan oyster

vegan oyster

I used shiitake, though white button or baby bella should work too. Shiitake has a firmer texture and more umami.  I was amazed at the result.  It tastes good, and it tastes quite like the real thing: the seaweed giving it the brine-like flavor reminiscent of sea, and the mushroom a meaty, juicy texture. 

As for the noodle, my mistake first time was cooking it like most noodles: it’s done when it’s soft.  Not for this noodle.  I let it stew for a few more minutes, together with shredded mushroom, wood ear and carrot.  Feel free to add bamboo shoots and bean sprouts if you have them.  

dried wood ear
(dried wood ear)

rehydrated wood ear
(after soaking in water)

When ready, add soy sauce and sugar to the broth, generous amount of rice vinegar (black preferred).  Thicken broth with corn starch (add corn starch to a small bowl, add a little cold water, stir till dissolved, then add to the hot broth. Do not add corn starch powder directly to broth.) 


(I didn’t take picture the first time I made this, so in the picture, I use plain white noodle instead of the dark Taiwanese vermicelli)


Sprinkle on cilantro and white pepper.   Enjoy!!

veg oyster soup

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Posted by on October 13, 2009 in Asia, Cooking, Vegetarianism


Vegetarian Spider

veg spider








In a possible affront to its fierce meat-eating relatives, one jumping spider prefers to dine vegetarian, munching on specialized leaf-tips of acacia shrubs, finds a new study.

The eight-legged vegetarian, called Bagheera kiplingi (named after Kipling of The Jungle Book fame), lives in Central America, and is now considered a rarity among the world’s 40,000 or so spider species, most of which are strictly predators, feeding on insects and other animals. B. kiplingi is about the size of a person’s pinky nail.

Instead it has developed a laidback lifestyle based on nutritious wild acacia plants — and has no need to spin a web to catch its prey.

The females have even dispensed with the time-honoured spider custom of eating their sexual partners immediately after mating.  The vegetarian diet of B kiplingi appears to have prompted other changes. Since it no longer needs to go through the energy-sapping business of catching prey, it has diverted its web-spinning abilities to building family homes. Mothers use the nests to rear their young.  

A vegetarian diet may also encourage the typically territorial spiders to cooperate, says Christopher Meehan at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who has seen hundreds gathering on one plant, entire families sharing nests, and males defending nests from ant attacks.

“These spiders may be the ‘Gandhis’ of the spider world: life-long vegetarians, they tolerate one another’s company and may even cooperate peacefully in the true sense.  The abundance of food available to it may be allowing it to let down its defences.” says Meehan.

“This may be a fascinating snapshot into the evolution of a social creature as it transitions from hunter to gatherer.”

Going veggie makes you gentler and look cuter!

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Posted by on October 13, 2009 in Animals, Vegetarianism