I posted before about Shoujin Ryouri (also seen as shōjin ryōri or shojin ryori), over three years ago when I stayed in a temple at Koya-san in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan (GO!). I’m very fond and passionate about it, being a vegan foodie Buddhist and all; though I don’t make it as often as I would like!
Shoujin Ryouri is a Buddhist temple food from Japan (brought back from China by Dogen, founder of Soto Zen Buddhism. A basic history can be found here).
One of the things I love is the balance and rules of the cuisine. Every dish must have:
5 colors: black, white, red, yellow, green
5 tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, salty, bitter
5 preparations: raw, boiled, steamed, fried, grilled
Psst- Google “精進料理” and the food will literally pop your eyeballs out of your head it’s so amazing. @o@
One of the things I love about my city life is the opportunities that are available. And a couple of those opportunities arose when The Enlightened Kitchen author Mrs. Mari Fujii came to town: an invitation to the Embassy of Japan and a hands-on cooking class from Atsuko’s Kitchen. My head nearly exploded twice I was so excited!
Oh my gosh, a “for your consideration” page break? Yes! It’s a long and photogenic post. Don’t worry there is a RECIPE for MOCK EEL in there too! Click MORE!
The Embassy of Japan was putting on a shoujin ryouri talk/cooking-demo/tasting called “Zen and the Art of Healthy Eating”, and afterwords Omni Monkey couldn’t stop thanking me for taking him for the next 24 hours. Neither of us had eaten authentic shoujin ryouri for three years, although the sake kind of defeated the meaning of the monk cuisine!
Let me apologize in advanced for these super-sneaky, camera-phone, lack-of-quality photos.
Mrs. Fujii demonstrated making: Gomadofu, Unagi no kabayaki modoki, and Miso fondue.
We then sampled Hijiki mini-pasties, Chilli tofu with renkon chip, Sweet potato cheesecake, with wine and two different sakes.
Haiku Girl has a more detailed blog about the event HERE.
“Unagi ni kabayaki modoki” by Atsuko’s Kitchen and Mari Fujii
3 large baking potatoes
1 1/2 sheets of nori (seaweed)
5 T dark soy sauce
5 T mirin
vegetable oil for frying
Sansho (Szechaun) pepper for garnish
- Peel potatoes and finely grate (preferably with a Japanese grater– Oroshigane)
- Soak grated potatoes in water to remove starch away, strain & squeeze out any excess water
- Cut the nori into 12 rectangular pieces. This is the imitation eel “skin”
- Make the marinade by mixing the dark soy sauce and mirin
- Heat a thick layer of oil to 170C/345F in a frying pan
- Spread the potato paste thinly on top of the nori. *drag a chopstick down the middle to replicate the spine indent
- Deep fry with the nori side down first. When the surface of the potato has become brown, turn over a few times
- After done frying a piece, strain the excess oil and dip it into the marinade dressing for an instant
- Serve it sprinkled with sansho pepper
Omni Monkey was shocked about how “eel”-like it was, so I guess it’s pretty authentic!
I then did a Shoujin Ryouri cooking course with Atsuko’s Kitchen and Mari Fujii to learn more about it so I could start making authentic things myself. It was an early Christmas gift from my mother-in-law; how amazing is she!? Very. Thank you, Sue!
It was an intimate course with 9 people; a few had done her courses before, and the majority half were vegan (I made sure to clue them up to FatGayVegan.com‘s monthly potluck and drinks get together! Londonites: come!).
Our recipe booklets and menu for the night were:
Gammogoki (fried tofu patties with daikon sauce). *I used to eat these a lot in Japan! So happy to be able to make them myself.
Satoimo no dengaku (Taro root with miso sauce)
Umesu zuke (plum-pickled radishes). I can’t wait to pickle everything.
Peanut ae (peanut dressing) for any vegetables.
Kinoko okowa (mixed mushrooms with sweet rice)
Rikyu soup (turnip, miso, and sesame soup). Rikyu was a dude who loved this so much, they named it after him.
Matcha Tiramisu Yes. Green tea tiramisu, with a tofu and amaretto cream! ^_^
For more recipes and information, sign up! Atsuko’s Kitchen has many courses, and Atsuko herself is very happy to adapt any foods and courses for vegans! So I definitely recommend taking some courses people! It’s a very fun and light atmosphere and you get to make Japanese food. I mean, c’mon!