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amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Americans who have been to France and come home craving a reminder of their magical European experience, love Vermont cheeses.
—Allison Hooper, founder, VT Butter & Cheese Creamery

Practice not cleaning your plate: it will help you eat less in short term and develop self-control in the long term.
—Michael Pollan

Sweet taste buds develop before all others, that’s why small children love sweets.
—Bronwyn Dunne

Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of milk.
—Michael Pollan

My rule of thumb is, when in doubt, cook more than you think you may need.
—Marian Cunningham, from Learning to Cook


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.

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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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