Discover Japanese Food #7: Atsuko’s "Kenchin Jiru" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Atsuko’s Kitchen)

In Japan, we enjoy many types of Japanese cuisines such as kaiseki ryori, wa-shoku, even yo-shoku.
Some are familiar dishes for Japanese home cooking but not many people know about “shojin ryori”, a Japanese buddhist cuisine which has been sustained by Japanese buddhists from almost two thousands years ago.
Nowadays, the position of shojin ryori has changed to suit modern life styles, and vegetarians.
It only uses seasonal vegetables, tofu, nuts, seaweeds and but there are many amazing ideas to create textures, looks and flavours using Japanese basic ingredients and seasonings.
Here is a typical buddhist soup made from root vegetables, then breaking a block of tofu into the soup so that everyone gets an even share.
This is buddhist thoughtfulness….

(for 4 people)
150g tofu
80g konnyaku
1 age
2 dried shiitake (with a cup of water)
1 carrot
15cm renkon
1 parsnip
16 mange tout

3 cups kombu dashi
2 tbsp sake
3-4 tbsp shoyu
A pinch of salt
1.5 tbsp sesame oil

1. To make the kombu dashi. – Soak 15cm of kombu in water leave it for 30 mins, then bring it to the boil, and remove the kombu.
2. Soak the shiitake in a cup of water for 30 mins. – keep the shiitake dashi.
3. Boil the konnyaku to remove the smell. Dice konnyaku with a spoon.
4. Wash the age to take the oil out of the surface. Cut into dice size.
5. Peel and chunk all the root vegetables roughly.
6. Cut Mange tout into half. Set aside.

1. Fry all the root vegetables and konnyaku in sesame oil.
2. Add shiitake and age. After the oil has coated all the ingredients, add half the amount of shoyu to flavour the ingredients.
3. Add the dashi mixture ( kombu dashi & shiitake dashi ) and bring it to the boil with lid on.
4. Add sake and the rest of the shoyu, then simmer for 20 mins until all the vegetables are cooked.
5. Finally, crush the tofu by hand, and add with mange tout to the soup.
6. Bring it to the boil again and serve.

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