Cookbook Profile

The Enlightened Kitchen
Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan

by Mari Fuji

The Enlightened Kitchen  

What makes an enlightened kitchen? It is a kitchen that exemplifies "pouring the spirit of heaven and earth into every dish...of selecting and preparing ingredients with care in order to eat with relaxed enjoyment...and creating a healthful and soothing way of cooking and eating," says Mari Fuji, the author of the new vegetarian cookbook The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan, featuring the delicious dishes of Japan's Buddhist temple cuisine, shojin ryori.

Japan's temple cuisine uses no animal products—all ingredients come from healthy plant sources: vegetables, seaweed, wild plants, grains, legumes and root vegetables, a way of eating that has numerous physical and spiritual benefits. It also emphasizes using seasonal ingredients at their peak, when they're freshest and tastiest, being kind to the environment, and cooking with natural ingredients. This nutritious, low-calorie food is the perfect antidote to our unhealthy eating habits today and an easy way to incorporate the earth's healthy vegetables into one's daily diet. Some tempting dishes are:

• Deep-Fried Lotus Root Soup
• Carrot & Mushroom Soymilk Soup

• Soy Bean & Sukkonbu (seaweed) Salad with Lemon-Miso Dressing
• Spinach & Arugula Salad with Piquant Sesame Dressing

Tofu & Beans:
• Tofu Fried Almonds
• Deep-fried Yuba (tofu skin) Rolls

• Asparagus and Carrots with Walnut Dressing
• Shitake Mushrooms Stuffed with Tofu

Potatoes, Grains & Rice:
• Scattered Vegetable Sushi
• Buckwheat Crepes

• Soymilk Mousse with Blueberry Sauce
• Pears in Wine

With an invaluable appendix that teaches cooks how to work with rice, how to make sweet vinegared ginger, and how to make the two basic stocks for many of recipes in the book, konbu and shitake stocks, as well as a handy glossary of Asian and Japanese ingredients available in supermarkets, natural food stores and online, The Enlightened Kitchen is sure to be a favorite new guide for cooks looking for healthy recipes to make them eat and feel better any time of the year!

About the Author

Mari Fuji learned the secrets of temple cuisine over twenty years ago from her husband, who is a Buddhist monk. With the publication of a number of shojin cookbooks and regular appearances on television, Mari has helped to make shojin temple cuisine popular in her home country of Japan. She is also an expert in Chinese-style shojin cooking and inyakuzen, a style of Chinese cooking which uses ingredients with medicinal properties.


Buy the Book!


The Enlightened Kitchen
Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan

by Mari Fuji
Kodansha International
Hardcover, $24.95, 112 pages
ISBN: 4-7700-2493-2
Information provided by the publisher.


The Enlightened Kitchen



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This page created March 2006