Monday, May 24, 2010

Donabe cooking class report..."Shojin" (Buddhist-style vegan) dishes

Last Saturday was our Donabe & Japanese cooking class. The theme was "Shojin Dishes", which refers to Buddhist-style vegan cuisine. In Japan, shojin-style dishes are part of our traditional cuisine, and many of them are enjoyed at home whether you are vegetarian or meat/ fish lovers. These dishes we make at home in Japan are simply naturally vegan that we don't normally even think about it. We like them because they taste good.

We made 4 dishes in the class...

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Shojin dashi stock. I made the cold infusion of dry shiitake and dashi konbu (dry kelp). After 24 hours, both the color and the aroma were nicely deep. Our first dish was the salad of colorful seaweed and vegetables with miso vinaigrette.

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The second dish was the steam-fry brussels sprouts and tofu skin ("yuba") with the miso sauce. The key was to caramelize the outside of the vegetable before adding the sauce. By this way, the brussels sprouts turned almost "meaty" when the dish was ready! Our tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san", did a great job of both caramelizing and steam-frying.

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Japanese "beans and rice"! The rice course was mixed mushrooms rice with the donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". We used three kinds of mushrooms (shiitake, enoki, and shimeji), and two kinds of rice (regular short grain and mochi rice). I was so happy that we got the nice crust on the bottom! The soybean stew was simmered in the soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe", in the oven for 40 minutes. With the donabe effect, the beans developed the nice deep flavor.

I was so happy that all of our guests enjoyed the healthy donabe shojin dishes. Some of them commented that they were surprised by the depth and variety of flavors coming from these dishes. I'm looking forward to hosting another shojin class soon!

Here's the menu of last Saturday...(the one thing we did "against" shojin philosophy was we drank sake with the meal;-)

Theme: Shojin (Buddhist-style Vegan) Dishes


Colorful seaweed and vegetables salad with miso vinaigrette


Steam-fried Brussels sprouts and tofu skin in miso sauce


Soybean and vegetable stew


Mixed mushroom rice

Sake Selection

Yamamoto Honke, Kaguyahime, Junmai (Kyoto, Japan)