The Enlightened Kitchen The Enlightened Kitchen Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan

While Japanese cuisine has become popular in the West, far less is known about the traditional fare originating from Japan’s Buddhist temples.

Simple and delicious recipes to nourish body and soul.


While Japanese cuisine has become popular in the West, far less is known about the traditional fare originating from Japan’s Buddhist temples. Natural and healthy, temple food is based on fresh seasonal vegetables, and staples such as grains and tofu. For centuries, these dishes have been a way of life—and a refreshing change of pace—for monks whose days are spent in rigorous self-discipline.


Married to a Buddhist monk, author Mari Fujii has taught temple cuisine for over twenty years. In these pages, she presents sixty heartwarming recipes, many adapted for the Western kitchen but all true to their roots. Her Carrot and Mushroom Soymilk Soup combines traditional sensibilities with modern taste requirements. The Ginger Rice lends a welcome flair to a common staple, and Banana Tempura is a light, fruity variation of this worldwide favorite.


Mari Fujii’s offerings are wide-ranging. The Enlightened Kitchen opens with soups and salads, then sweeps into tofu, beans, vegetables, rice and desserts. A well-considered appendix explains the finer points of cooking rice and making stock, and a detailed glossary provides valuable tips on selecting, using, and storing ingredients.


In Japan, as people seek more ways to improve their diets, temple cuisine is gaining a new generation of followers. Mari Fujii delivers simple, seasonal foods with love and care. She teaches the importance of drawing out the natural flavors of ingredients rather than smothering with heavy sauces or spices. Whether soup, salad, or tofu, these wholesome dishes, based on ancient Japanese traditions, are sure to become firm favorites in modern households. Any way you look at it, The Enlightened Kitchen is a nourishing experience for both bod y and soul.


Brimming over with delicious recipes based on the centuries-old vegetarian cuisine of Japan’s Buddhist temples, this book is a must for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone with an interest in healthy eating. In addition to mouthwatering recipes for soups, salads, tofu, beans, vegetables, rice, and desserts, the author teaches us the physical and spiritual benefits of using seasonal ingredients and following the flow of nature. In an age when processed, additive-laden foods are everywhere, readers will be surprised to find just how delicious the natural flavors of fresh vegetables can be. Lavish full-color photographs, easy-to-follow instructions, and a wealth of information about the ingredients make it easy to bring the magic of Japan’s temple cuisine into your own kitchen.

Mari Fujii 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 cookbooks and regular appearances on television, she has helped to make temple cuisine popular in her home country of Japan. She is also an expert in Chinese-style temple food and in yakuzen, a type of Chinese cooking which uses ingredients with medicinal properties.

“Touting the benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets, The Enlightened Kitchen presents dishes that anyone would love, while the fantastic photographs will tempt even the most die-hard carnivore to at least try the recipes. Knowing that a healthy life-style and long life takes work, this new cookbook espouses good, sensible meals which can encourage weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity. The bonus? The food tastes good…. I’m hooked. I try to eat sensibly and plan to live to be 110! I expect The Enlightened Kitchen to help me meet my objective.”


“Vegetarians, vegans and even lovers of steak teriyaki will find much to savor in this introduction to the quiet wonders of Buddhist temple cuisine, or shojin ryori. …Tae Hamamura’s color photographs are mouth-watering, whether depicting Kenchin Style Vegetable Soup or a simple bowl of Ginger Rice.”
—Publishers Weekly


“The book is beautifully illustrated and the recipes are mostly simple, quick and easy to follow. Longtime vegetarians, especially those with a macrobiotic background (which in America has seriously deep Japanese roots), will be familiar with many of these ingredients. . . Fujii provides a helpful, illustrated glossary, as well as some basic how-to material for preparing staples.”
—Associated Press


“Clean and crisp, this nourishing guide brings a healthy, natural culinary tradition from Japanese temples to the American table. . . . a true antidote to the overindulgent American diet, this is more than a recipe collection—it’s a refreshing approach to food that is sure to make you look and feel renewed.”
—Kirkus Reviews


“Emphasizing natural and healthy ingredients such as fresh seasonal vegetables, and the staples of grains, and tofu, these creations are simple and elegant delights, delicious without undue extravagance. . . . Highly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review


“This lovely coffee table book cum recipe book is full of ancient, delicious recipes from the kitchens of Japan’s Buddhist temples. The vegetarian fare is simple and excellent–and this book a must for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who wants to eat well.”


“Beautifully photographed . . . with easy to follow instructions . . . Even non-vegetarians will enjoy The Enlightened Kitchen. . . It’s a great addition to any kitchen.”

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