Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions
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The celebration of Japan’s vegan and vegetarian traditions begins with kansha—appreciation—an expression of gratitude for nature’s gifts and the efforts and ingenuity of those who transform nature’s bounty into marvelous food. The spirit of kansha, deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy and practice, encourages all cooks to prepare nutritionally sound and aesthetically satisfying meals that avoid waste, conserve energy, and preserve our natural resources.
In these pages, with kansha as credo, Japan culinary authority Elizabeth Andoh offers more than 100 carefully crafted vegan recipes. She has culled classics from shōjin ryōri, or Buddhist temple cuisine (Creamy Sesame Pudding, Glazed Eel Look-Alike); gathered essentials of macrobiotic cooking (Toasted Hand-Pressed Brown Rice with Hijiki, Robust Miso); selected dishes rooted in history (Skillet-Scrambled Tofu with Leafy Greens, Pungent Pickles); and included inventive modern fare (Eggplant Sushi, Tōfu-Tōfu Burgers).
Andoh invites you to practice kansha in your own cooking, and she delights in demonstrating how “nothing goes to waste in the kansha kitchen.” In one especially satisfying example, she transforms each part of a single daikon—from the tapered tip to the tuft of greens, including the peels that most cooks would simply compost—into an array of wholesome, flavorful dishes.
Decades of living immersed in Japanese culture and years of culinary training have given Andoh a unique platform from which to teach. She shares her deep knowledge of the cuisine in the two-part A Guide to the Kansha Kitchen. In the first section, she explains basic cutting techniques, cooking methods, and equipment that will help you enhance flavor, eliminate waste, and speed meal preparation. In the second, Andoh demystifies ingredients that are staples in Japanese pantries, but may be new to you; they will boost your kitchen repertoire—vegan or omnivore—to new heights.
Stunning images by award-winning photographer Leigh Beisch complete Kansha, a pioneering volume sure to inspire as it instructs.
on a cool, dry shelf, sealing it snugly after each use. JAPANESE SPICY MUSTARD Like other mustards, Japanese spicy mustard (karashi) is made by crushing the dried seeds of Brassica juncea (mustard greens). It is sold in powdered form in small cans and as a paste in tubes. Powdered karashi is mixed with iri nuka (roasted rice bran) for making pickling pastes. To make prepared mustard from powdered karashi to use as a condiment, mix it with cold water, a few drops at a time, stirring until a
(with barley bits), golden paste. RED MISO AND WHITE MISO In some recipes I have called for generic types: aka, or “red,” miso would be any russet, brown, or other dark shade (and usually a robust and salty flavor); shiro, or “white,” miso refers to pale beige, golden tones (and usually sweeter, milder flavors). In the examples above, Saikyō miso and mugi miso would be considered white, and Sendai miso and Hatchō miso would be red miso. GENMAI MISO One other type of miso that you will readily
longer rising and the container does not feel especially warm to the touch, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days. You can serve the fiddleheads chilled, brought back to room temperature (most typical in Japan), or briefly warmed (reboil the broth and steep again for a few minutes). When the fiddleheads are at the temperature you wish to serve them, remove them from the broth and mound in small, deep dishes. Garnish with the sesame seeds. Eggplant Two Ways
finished dish will keep well in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. Crispy Gourd Chips CRISPY GOURD CHIPS KARI KARI KAMPYŌ This is a wonderful way to enjoy the gourd ribbons that remain after stock making. The chips are crisp yet tender, fully flavored (marinated in soy sauce, they require no further seasoning), and as addictive as potato chips—maybe more so. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. MAKES ABOUT 180 PIECES (1 INCH LONG); NIBBLES FOR ABOUT 10 PEOPLE 2 or 3 pieces
temperature. It is during this cooling-down period that flavors develop and meld. Serve in small, mounded portions in individual dishes or from a large bowl. Add the peas just before serving for a brighter appearance. Transfer any leftovers to a lidded container and refrigerate for up to 2 days; drain off any excess liquid that might accumulate in the container and bring to room temperature before serving. A child’s ōbento, or lunch box (clockwise from top left): Jellied Grapefruit Wedges,