Vegetarian Japanese Cooking
Several Japanese recipes that are fully vegetarian in nature. These are very healthful and all have are of authentic Japanese origins.
Braised Shiitake Mushrooms
8 large dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Set oven control to broil. In saucepan, soak mushrooms in warm water for about two hours, until soft. Trim off stems. Add soy sauce and sugar; bring to a boil, then simmer about 30 minutes, uncovered. Let cool. Place two mushrooms on each of four small plates.
Green Beans with Miso and Sesame
1/2 pound long beans or French beans, cleaned and trimmed to 3-inch lengths
2 tablespoons miso paste
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Bring medium saucepan half filled with cold water to a boil. Add beans and cook 60 to 90 seconds until cooked but crisp. Drain and cool. In bowl, mix miso paste and sugar gradually with 3-tablespoons water until smooth. On each of four small plates, place small bundle of beans, nap with sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.
Silk Tofu with Green Onion
2 blocks of silk tofu, drained
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Cut each block in two and place each on small serving plate. Slice in half again horizontally, then lengthwise and breadth-wise into 1/4-inch cubes without disassembling block. Drizzle soy sauce over top and garnish with green onions.
Lotus Root with Edamame Dip
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 segments of raw lotus root, peled and sliced into 1/4-inch disks
1 cup edamame (green soy beans), cooked and shelled
1/2 block of silk tofu
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fill medium saucepan halfway with water. Add salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Add lotus root and boil five to seven minutes, until cooked but still crisp. Drain and cool. In food processor, blend edamame, the tofu, the sugar and the salt. Divide lotus root slices evenly among four small plates and garnish with edamame dip. Recipe makes four servings.
Tips and Suggestions:
You can purchase edamame frozen in packages, with or without shells. If they have shells, cook them in boiling water for about 12 to 15 minutes until just tender. When shelling, remove both the outer fuzzy shell and a harder indigestible inner lining. It is not necessary to remove the thin lining of the bean itself.
Another way to serve the edamame is to simply serve the cooked bean warm or cold with a generous sprinkling of kosher or sea salt; eat it by shelling it tapping it between your teeth - it is easier than it sounds.
Use a very sharp knife in Shojin cooking. Sharp, precise cuts provide the neatness and symmetry characteristic of this style. The tofu will stay in place better in its block even with multiple cuts crosswise. You can get very delicate slivers of green onion fractions of a centimeter thick.
Use a fine brewed Japanese soy sauce (such as Honzen) for this kind of presentation when you want to taste the sauce itself. In other forms of cooking when it is one of many different seasonings, it would be preferable to use the everyday and less expensive sauce.
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