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Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
—Michael Pollan

Feeding nine billion people in a truly sustainable way will be one of the greatest challenges our civilization has had to confront. It will require the imagination, determination and hard work of countless people from all over the world. There is no time to lose.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

The surest way to capture the flavors, colors, and textures of a culture is by using authentic products.
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The most important habit you can develop is to taste as you are preparing something. Take a sample and taste it critically at different stages of the cooking, then correct the seasonings…
—Marion Cunningham, from Learning to Cook

Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you don’t.
—Michael Pollan

The Venerable Shojin Ryori Cuisine of Japan by Hiroko Shimbo

Cookbook author and friend, Hiroshi Shimbo, writes about the special 7th century vegetarian cuisine still practiced in Japan today. 

Japanese Shojin Ryori lunch

A Japanese Shojin Ryori lunch at Shoryakuji Monastery

Bronwyn told me how much she enjoyed the Shojin Ryori on her visit to a Zen temple in Japan this past spring. Shojin Ryori, the venerable Japanese vegetarian cuisine, was introduced by the Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, Dogen. In the 7th century after his studies of Zen Buddhism in China, Dogen banned the slaughter of animals for human consumption. He believed that the act of killing was inhumane and the very act of slaughtering interfered with the training of the monks who meditate in order to attain enlightenment. Shojin means the process of continuous meditation.

Monks practice meditation at the temple throughout the day as part of their daily lives. Even the time for preparing meals and the time for consumption is an important period of meditation. Monks consider that meals are not for satisfying hunger, but are principally for sustaining their health in order that they might continue the proper pursuit of their meditation. Food is not treated as an object of human pleasure.

Shojin Ryori uses grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. To create a Shojin Ryori menu, a monk cook employs these rules: the use of five colors –green, yellow, red, white and black: the use of five cooking techniques –astringent, acid, sweet, salty and spicy. By incorporating all these elements in the prepared dishes, the meal has a balanced nutritional value and, at the same time, can entertain diners’ five senses.

Basic simple Shojin Ryori is Ichi-iuu San-sai.  Ichi-iuu San-sai  literally means one small soup dish and three additional small dishes as one meal. These four dishes are served with two additional indispensable dishes, a small rice bowl and a tiny plate of pickled vegetables.

The meal that Bronwyn had – shown in the above photograph– is an elaborate celebration Shojin Ryori. Tempura dishes include the spring delicacy, butterbur sprout, fuki-no-to. Fuki-no-to, which heralds the early spring, surprises us with pleasant astringent flavor. Fuki, butterbur, which resembles rhubarb in shape, is a popular early spring vegetable in Japan. As is true of many spring vegetables, the astringency of Fuki is one of its prized qualities. At the lunch at the Shoryakuji Monastery, Bronwyn enjoyed simmered Fuki with other spring vegetables –bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms. She was also served Rape blossom, nano-hana. It resembles young, tender Chinese broccoli and was included in a traditional Shojin Ryori dish called Aemono –firmly cooked vegetables tossed with sesame, miso, vinegar or shoyu-based dressing. Inspired! I will definitely make Shojin Ryori this summer using vegetables available in my local New York area.

See Bronwyn’s post about her trip to Japan and special Shojin Ryori lunch, Food for the Soul as well as the Body: Shojin Ryori.

Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo

Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo

A contributor to Zester Daily, Hiroshi Shimbo is a widely acclaimed chef-consultant and Japanese cooking instructor, and the author of “Hiroko’s American Kitchen,” “The Japanese Kitchen” and “The Sushi Experience.” Read her recent article in Zester Daily on How Japanese Tradition Holds Secrets of Healthy Eating.

 

Posted: 8-1-2014

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[caption id="attachment_3407" align="alignleft" width="500"]Japanese Shojin Ryori lunch A Japanese Shojin Ryori lunch at Shoryakuji Monastery[/caption]

Bronwyn told me how much she enjoyed the Shojin Ryori on her visit to a Zen temple in Japan this past spring. Shojin Ryori, the venerable Japanese vegetarian cuisine, was introduced by the Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, Dogen. In the 7th century after his studies of Zen Buddhism in China, Dogen banned the slaughter of animals for human consumption. He believed that the act of killing was inhumane and the very act of slaughtering interfered with the training of the monks who meditate in order to attain enlightenment. Shojin means the process of continuous meditation.

Monks practice meditation at the temple throughout the day as part of their daily lives. Even the time for preparing meals and the time for consumption is an important period of meditation. Monks consider that meals are not for satisfying hunger, but are principally for sustaining their health in order that they might continue the proper pursuit of their meditation. Food is not treated as an object of human pleasure.

Shojin Ryori uses grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. To create a Shojin Ryori menu, a monk cook employs these rules: the use of five colors –green, yellow, red, white and black: the use of five cooking techniques –astringent, acid, sweet, salty and spicy. By incorporating all these elements in the prepared dishes, the meal has a balanced nutritional value and, at the same time, can entertain diners’ five senses.

Basic simple Shojin Ryori is Ichi-iuu San-sai.  Ichi-iuu San-sai  literally means one small soup dish and three additional small dishes as one meal. These four dishes are served with two additional indispensable dishes, a small rice bowl and a tiny plate of pickled vegetables.

The meal that Bronwyn had - shown in the above photograph- is an elaborate celebration Shojin Ryori. Tempura dishes include the spring delicacy, butterbur sprout, fuki-no-to. Fuki-no-to, which heralds the early spring, surprises us with pleasant astringent flavor. Fuki, butterbur, which resembles rhubarb in shape, is a popular early spring vegetable in Japan. As is true of many spring vegetables, the astringency of Fuki is one of its prized qualities. At the lunch at the Shoryakuji Monastery, Bronwyn enjoyed simmered Fuki with other spring vegetables –bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms. She was also served Rape blossom, nano-hana. It resembles young, tender Chinese broccoli and was included in a traditional Shojin Ryori dish called Aemono –firmly cooked vegetables tossed with sesame, miso, vinegar or shoyu-based dressing. Inspired! I will definitely make Shojin Ryori this summer using vegetables available in my local New York area.

See Bronwyn's post about her trip to Japan and special Shojin Ryori lunch, Food for the Soul as well as the Body: Shojin Ryori.

[caption id="attachment_3410" align="alignleft" width="150"]Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo[/caption]

A contributor to Zester Daily, Hiroshi Shimbo is a widely acclaimed chef-consultant and Japanese cooking instructor, and the author of "Hiroko's American Kitchen," "The Japanese Kitchen" and "The Sushi Experience." Read her recent article in Zester Daily on How Japanese Tradition Holds Secrets of Healthy Eating.

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[caption id="attachment_3407" align="alignleft" width="500"]Japanese Shojin Ryori lunch A Japanese Shojin Ryori lunch at Shoryakuji Monastery[/caption]

Bronwyn told me how much she enjoyed the Shojin Ryori on her visit to a Zen temple in Japan this past spring. Shojin Ryori, the venerable Japanese vegetarian cuisine, was introduced by the Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, Dogen. In the 7th century after his studies of Zen Buddhism in China, Dogen banned the slaughter of animals for human consumption. He believed that the act of killing was inhumane and the very act of slaughtering interfered with the training of the monks who meditate in order to attain enlightenment. Shojin means the process of continuous meditation.

Monks practice meditation at the temple throughout the day as part of their daily lives. Even the time for preparing meals and the time for consumption is an important period of meditation. Monks consider that meals are not for satisfying hunger, but are principally for sustaining their health in order that they might continue the proper pursuit of their meditation. Food is not treated as an object of human pleasure.

Shojin Ryori uses grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. To create a Shojin Ryori menu, a monk cook employs these rules: the use of five colors –green, yellow, red, white and black: the use of five cooking techniques –astringent, acid, sweet, salty and spicy. By incorporating all these elements in the prepared dishes, the meal has a balanced nutritional value and, at the same time, can entertain diners’ five senses.

Basic simple Shojin Ryori is Ichi-iuu San-sai.  Ichi-iuu San-sai  literally means one small soup dish and three additional small dishes as one meal. These four dishes are served with two additional indispensable dishes, a small rice bowl and a tiny plate of pickled vegetables.

The meal that Bronwyn had - shown in the above photograph- is an elaborate celebration Shojin Ryori. Tempura dishes include the spring delicacy, butterbur sprout, fuki-no-to. Fuki-no-to, which heralds the early spring, surprises us with pleasant astringent flavor. Fuki, butterbur, which resembles rhubarb in shape, is a popular early spring vegetable in Japan. As is true of many spring vegetables, the astringency of Fuki is one of its prized qualities. At the lunch at the Shoryakuji Monastery, Bronwyn enjoyed simmered Fuki with other spring vegetables –bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms. She was also served Rape blossom, nano-hana. It resembles young, tender Chinese broccoli and was included in a traditional Shojin Ryori dish called Aemono –firmly cooked vegetables tossed with sesame, miso, vinegar or shoyu-based dressing. Inspired! I will definitely make Shojin Ryori this summer using vegetables available in my local New York area.

See Bronwyn's post about her trip to Japan and special Shojin Ryori lunch, Food for the Soul as well as the Body: Shojin Ryori.

[caption id="attachment_3410" align="alignleft" width="150"]Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo[/caption]

A contributor to Zester Daily, Hiroshi Shimbo is a widely acclaimed chef-consultant and Japanese cooking instructor, and the author of "Hiroko's American Kitchen," "The Japanese Kitchen" and "The Sushi Experience." Read her recent article in Zester Daily on How Japanese Tradition Holds Secrets of Healthy Eating.

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Bronwyn told me how much she enjoyed the Shojin Ryori on her visit to a Zen temple in Japan this past spring. Shojin Ryori, the venerable Japanese vegetarian cuisine, was introduced by the Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, Dogen. In the 7th century after his studies of Zen Buddhism in China, Dogen banned the slaughter of animals for human consumption. He believed that the act of killing was inhumane and the very act of slaughtering interfered with the training of the monks who meditate in order to attain enlightenment. Shojin means the process of continuous meditation.

Monks practice meditation at the temple throughout the day as part of their daily lives. Even the time for preparing meals and the time for consumption is an important period of meditation. Monks consider that meals are not for satisfying hunger, but are principally for sustaining their health in order that they might continue the proper pursuit of their meditation. Food is not treated as an object of human pleasure.

Shojin Ryori uses grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. To create a Shojin Ryori menu, a monk cook employs these rules: the use of five colors –green, yellow, red, white and black: the use of five cooking techniques –astringent, acid, sweet, salty and spicy. By incorporating all these elements in the prepared dishes, the meal has a balanced nutritional value and, at the same time, can entertain diners’ five senses.

Basic simple Shojin Ryori is Ichi-iuu San-sai.  Ichi-iuu San-sai  literally means one small soup dish and three additional small dishes as one meal. These four dishes are served with two additional indispensable dishes, a small rice bowl and a tiny plate of pickled vegetables.

The meal that Bronwyn had - shown in the above photograph- is an elaborate celebration Shojin Ryori. Tempura dishes include the spring delicacy, butterbur sprout, fuki-no-to. Fuki-no-to, which heralds the early spring, surprises us with pleasant astringent flavor. Fuki, butterbur, which resembles rhubarb in shape, is a popular early spring vegetable in Japan. As is true of many spring vegetables, the astringency of Fuki is one of its prized qualities. At the lunch at the Shoryakuji Monastery, Bronwyn enjoyed simmered Fuki with other spring vegetables –bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms. She was also served Rape blossom, nano-hana. It resembles young, tender Chinese broccoli and was included in a traditional Shojin Ryori dish called Aemono –firmly cooked vegetables tossed with sesame, miso, vinegar or shoyu-based dressing. Inspired! I will definitely make Shojin Ryori this summer using vegetables available in my local New York area.

See Bronwyn's post about her trip to Japan and special Shojin Ryori lunch, Food for the Soul as well as the Body: Shojin Ryori.

[caption id="attachment_3410" align="alignleft" width="150"]Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo[/caption]

A contributor to Zester Daily, Hiroshi Shimbo is a widely acclaimed chef-consultant and Japanese cooking instructor, and the author of "Hiroko's American Kitchen," "The Japanese Kitchen" and "The Sushi Experience." Read her recent article in Zester Daily on How Japanese Tradition Holds Secrets of Healthy Eating.

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3 responses to “The Venerable Shojin Ryori Cuisine of Japan by Hiroko Shimbo”

  1. […] of Shojin Ryori so interesting, I asked her to share it with my blog readers. Take a look at Hiroko’s description of this 7th century vegetarian cooking style still practiced in Japan. It’s her contribution to the Spoon Fed Stories section of my […]

  2. Mary des Jardins says:

    Just returned from another amazing journey through Japan with Upaya visiting sacred Zen temples and shrines. More amazing dining experiences in the zen temple tradition. Thought of you. You were missed!!!

  3. Bronwyn says:

    If I life were perfect, I would have been there, Mary! I’d love to see photos. I hope to join everyone, again, next year. Hope you are well!

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Bronwyn Dunne and Judith Jones Prepare Two Potato Salads at Bryn Teg. See the recipes


Gateau de Crepes- In Molly’s Kitchen.
See recipe from the Smitten Kitchen



Blog Archives

Recipe Archives

  • Four Things I learned in Cooking Class - Oct 2018
  • Moussaka - Oct 2018
  • I Love Early Fall…From My Head…To-ma-toes - Sep 2018
  • Three uses for a bounty of apples - Aug 2018
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Salsa - Jul 2018
  • Egg White Casserole with Sweet Potato Crust - Apr 2018
  • Chicken Dijonaise – Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever - Feb 2018
  • Winter Root Soup – Nourishing Traditions - Feb 2018
  • Soooo Many Momos - Sep 2017
  • SautĂ©ed Fiddleheads in Butter with Lemon and Garlic - May 2017
  • A Recipe for the Holidays from Shelburne Farms - Nov 2013
  • The “Zetterburger” Recipe - Aug 2013
  • Homemade Fresh Mozzarella Recipe - Jul 2013
  • Twin Farms’ Gluten-Free SoufflĂ© Pancake Recipe - Jun 2013
  • Potato Salad Two Ways - Mar 2013
  • It’s Easy Being Green—If You’re a Soup! - Feb 2013
  • For The Love of Valentine’s Day, A Chocolate Mousse - Feb 2013
  • Happy New Year Resolutions – Roasted Root Vegetables - Jan 2013
  • The Best Cheesecake in the World - Dec 2012
  • Tarte aux Pommes – A Holiday Gift to You - Dec 2012
  • A Thanksgiving Memory with a Memorable Brining Recipe - Nov 2012
  • Chicken with Artichokes & Honey – The Recipe - Nov 2012
  • Alison Baker’s Tomato Coconut Soup - Oct 2012
  • Basil, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich – The Recipe - Oct 2012
  • Cold Pea Soup- The Recipe - Sep 2012
  • Onion Tart with Anchovies & Black Olives- Recipe for Pissaladiere Nicoise - Sep 2012
  • Boeuf Bourguignon - Apr 2012
  • Gingery Shrimp with Asparagus and Edamame - Apr 2012
  • Salisbury Steak - Apr 2012