Tag Archives: dish

Shojin Ryori: A Food Style by Zen Buddhists of Japan

Culinary experts across the globe are quite enthusiastic when it comes to “Shojin Ryori”.

Shijon Ryori, a typical meal P.C.: https://goo.gl/B1cV1N

Shojin Ryori, a typical meal
P.C.: https://goo.gl/B1cV1N

Shojin Ryori, mostly implies their vegetarian cooking style. It’s the abundant availability of both wild and cultivated vegetables in Japan that led to the emergence of such a culinary style. It started during the 13th century, when Zen Buddhism, a kind of Buddhist practice started in Japan.

Zen Buddhist nuns P.C.: https://goo.gl/uDSUX5

Zen Buddhist nuns
P.C.: https://goo.gl/uDSUX5

A typical Shojin Ryori meal consists of a soup, and three dishes, together called as ichi ju san sai. Soy, tofu, kozu – are common ingredients in a Shojin Ryori meal, usually complimented with pickles of various kinds.

Ichi Ju San Sai, the soup P.C.: https://goo.gl/a1jpR6

Ichi Ju San Sai, the soup
P.C.: https://goo.gl/a1jpR6

During the training span of a Buddhist monk in Japan, experting in Shojin Ryori culinary form is important. Some of its dishes require elaborate preparation time with dedicated efforts. One example would be sesame paste, a popular dish that needs long hours of grinding in a pestle and mortar.

Seasame paste P.C.: https://goo.gl/gd8hvz

Seasame paste
P.C.: https://goo.gl/gd8hvz

Speciality of Shojin Ryori cuisine includes, there happens to be no waste during production of this food. Every spread necessarily has a balance of five flavours and colours that completes its composition.  Use of garlic, onion, meat, fish, insects and other pungent flavours is completely abstained in Shojin Ryori.

Shojin Ryori menu is also very much based on nature. Buddhists consider seasonal agricultural products as flow of nature and thus, incorporate them in their plates. During spring, emphasis is led on new sprouts that come up; in summer it’s the green leaves that are preferable; during autumn, it’s more of fruits and nuts while in winter, root veggies and fruits are the main ingredients.

Before the consumption of a Shojin Ryori spread in a Zen Temple, five principles or prayers are chanted which includes:  Reflect on the effort that brings us this food; Reflect on our imperfections as we receive the meal; Reflect on mindfulness to be free from attachment, anger and ignorance; Reflect on taking this food as a medicine to sustain good health and Reflect on the fulfilment of our practice as we accept the offerings.

Buddhists monks during feast P.C.: https://goo.gl/lEN6Qw

Buddhists monks during feast
P.C.: https://goo.gl/lEN6Qw

book P.C.: https://goo.gl/uMvnUh

Shojin Ryori: The Art of Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine
P.C.: https://goo.gl/uMvnUh

Authors and bloggers have already made ample research on this culinary style and produced elaborate thesis on it. Among them, “Shojin Ryori: The Art of Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine” by Danny Chu is one of the best work to know more about this special culinary style developed by Zen Buddhist monks of Japan.

The Story of Butter Chicken

On the streets of Delhi, there lived a well-fed, nourished hen, that had a mind of its own. Oftentimes, it would venture out on its own to explore. As luck would have it, on one such adventure trips into a wrong ‘gully‘, the hen ended up in the hands of a butcher… The next morning, meat was being prepared to be sent to a nearby Moti Mahal Restaurant in Daryaganj. The butcher packed separately the well-fed hen, now as clean chicken pieces, under the cook’s order for some extra meat required apart from the regular load.

Hen... P.C.: http://goo.gl/wes9pK

Hen…
P.C.: http://goo.gl/wes9pK

The cook’s mind had been busy all night and he was waiting rather energetically to give his thought a shape, form and identity. He unpacked the isolated parcel in excitement, washed the pieces carefully and rubbed in some marinade… What he did is somewhat similar to the excerpt below:

Ingredients
For marinating chicken:
boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in 1″ – 2″ cubes, lemon juice, cloves of garlic, minced, garam masala, salt
For sauce:
vegetable oil, chopped onion (about 2 medium-large), coarsely chopped garlic, garam masala, paprika, cinnamon, salt to taste, diced no-salt-added diced tomatoes, cashew paste, butter  and chopped cilantro, to garnish

Garam Masala P.C.: http://goo.gl/EyGEAK

Garam Masala
P.C.: http://goo.gl/EyGEAK

The cook combined all ingredients in the marinade and let it sit for a while. May be from the next time, he marinated overnight. Then he browned the onions over oil, added garlic, garam masala, red chilli powder (paprika), cinnamon and salt. Just stirring this, the cook began to feel that his experiment will be immensely successful! And meanwhile, he put the marinated chicken to roast in an oven.

When all were frying well on the oil, he added the tomatoes, and cashew paste. After a short while, he added the cooked chicken pieces and covered it to mix in with the sauce. After a gentle simmering for quite some time, he stirred in the butter, added chopped cilantro and put off the fire.

Now he was happy. He had made the perfect dish he wanted to. It was ready to set afoot into the world. Little did he know that it will become one of the most popular recipes of all times! The brave hen also had an innovative commemoration of her life, afterall! The happy cook named it, Butter Chicken!!

Butter Chicken P.C.: http://goo.gl/EvTFgA

Butter Chicken
P.C.: http://goo.gl/EvTFgA

To try some delicious versions of Butter Chicken, with Indian breads like butter / garlic naans, visit www.bookyourtable.com and make a reservation in any of the city’s best north indian cuisine restaurants soon!