The “Perfect Dish” Should Not Only Be Meant for Celebrating Chinese New Year

By Cheryl Lu, Dietetic Intern, Nutrition & Fitness Center at Sargent College

Celebrating for Chinese New Year is the equivalent of Super Bowl events for many Chinese Americans. Having been moved to and lived in North America for nearly two decades, Chinese New Year celebrations are definitely something that my family practices diligently every year. This year, under my mother’s request, I decided to do a little belated celebration myself by making the “perfect dish”.

The name, “perfect dish” (please pardon my translation), actually comes from a four-word Chinese idiom – 十全十美 – that means “perfect”, based on the fact that it is made from 10 ingredients.

Due to the availabilities at the local Asian market, I had to make several modifications to my grandmother’s original recipe. The ten ingredients (all obtained from the Super 88, Allston/Brighton) that I used for this year were: carrots, snow peas, soy bean sprouts, stalks of Chinese broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, tree mushrooms, tofu skin, Chinese-spiced extra-firm tofu, bamboo shoots, and red chili peppers.

cheryl1 One important trick that will make all the difference in the aesthetic quality of this recipe is to trim away all the roots of the soy bean sprouts (see below). When cooking with snow peas, don’t forget to peel off the hard stems on the two sides before cooking them.


This recipe is both very simple and (kind of) difficult to make. It is difficult because all ingredients must be cut into ~1.5-inch shreds and must be boiled separately so that their flavors do not mix. It is simple because once all the preparation is done, all you need to do is combine them altogether and stir!


This tasty and colorful dish may be served either hot or cold. Make a whole bunch at once and store them in the fridge. Pair this dish with any types of cooked grains (such as quinoa and brown rice), in a whole-wheat pita or make a vegetarian wrap for a complete meal and enjoy!


“The Perfect Dish”

Makes 4 Servings


1 medium carrot
½ cup snow peas
½ cup soy bean sprouts
Several stalks of Chinese broccoli (or 1 large celery stalk)
4 large shiitake mushrooms
½ cup tree mushrooms
2 pieces of 2”×2” tofu skins
1 ½ pieces 2” ×2” Chinese-spiced tofu, extra-firm
⅓ cup canned bamboo shoot shreds
1-2 large hot chili peppers, red
2 teaspoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon white pepper powder
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste


1.       Cut all ingredients into 1.5-inch-long shreds. Trim away all the roots of the soy bean sprouts. If only a mild hotness is desired, discard all seeds in the hot chili peppers.

2.       Briefly cook each ingredient in boiling water, except for the hot chili peppers and snow peas. Change boiling water for each ingredient to prevent mixing of flavors. Avoid overcooking to preserve a crisp texture of the vegetables.

3.       Heat the sesame oil in a wok or a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the snow peas briefly and stir in all other ingredients. Cook everything together for about 3 minutes. Season with white pepper powder, salt, and pepper.

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving (does not include the side quinoa)

Calories                                        120 cal
Fat                                                      6 g
Saturated Fat                               1 g
Protein                                             8 g
Carbohydrate                              10 g
Fiber                                                3 g
Sodium                                         200 mg

Cost per serving: $1.62
Cost per recipe (4 servings): $6.45

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