Pennington Biomedical Research CenterAwesome.2Cents! A Healthy Lifestyle Curriculum for Teens…Lesson 9, VegetarianismTribal Diet CBuddhist Monks of Japan Japanese Vegetarian CuisineAbout 44 percent of Japanese are Buddhists. Buddhists monasteries arevegetarian. Traditionally, Zen monasteries served only a couple of meals aday ñ all before midday.Japanese vegetarian food tends to be based on rice, tofu, vegetables, seavegetables and mushrooms. On the whole, it is simple food, which is oftencooked quickly by methods such as grilling, steaming, or stir-frying. Mostrecipes use fresh ingredients to which flavorings such as soy sauce, sake,miso or dashi are added. Diet consisted mostly of rice, millet, soy, andvegetables in various forms. Other foods are sweet potatoes and bamboo.Usual vegetables used are shiitake mushrooms and dried bonito. Of allbeans, the soybean is the most significant. It is a good source of vegetableprotein, and its importance in the Japanese diet is surpassed only by that ofrice. Some several hundred varieties of salted vegetables are known inJapan; however, the method of pickling common in the West, using vinegar,has not developed there.Konbu, (giant kelp added salt and calcium) is used to flavor the broth. Konbustock is a signature element of both modern and traditional Japanese cuisineAnother kind of kelp, is called wakame. Hijiki is another kelp. Nori is aseaweed that has is used a lot in Japanese cuisine.Bacillus subtilis bacteria, which grow on rice straw, are cultivated on boiledsoybeans to produce natto¯. Natto¯ has a unique sticky consistency and isusually seasoned with soy sauce and mustard before eating; minced natto¯is used as an ingredient of soybean-paste soup. Natto¯ contains abundantprotein and vitamin B2 and has been popular as a breakfast food because itis easily digestible.Vegetarian diets, or sho¯jin-ryo¯ri, rely on a variety of foods processed fromsoybeans. These include tofu, abura-age (fried tofu), ko¯ri-do¯fu (freeze-dried tofu), and yuba (paper-thin processed tofu), as well as mushrooms, seaplants, sesame, walnuts, and, of course, vegetables. Fu, which is producedby condensing wheat gluten, has also been a popular foodstuff. From adietetic point of view, the Japanese vegetarian diet is both well balanced andquite rational. It supplies protein from tofu and similar products, fat fromsesame, walnuts, and vegetable oil, vitamins from vegetables, and mineralsfrom sea plants. Such a diet not only is nutritious but also offers many
palatable recipes, which have been refined by such techniques as employinga broth made from dried sea tangle and mushrooms as a base for cooking.Vegetable oils, which are extensively used, were especially developed bythose Zen Buddhist monks who had maintained contacts with China.When a Japanese meal is served, all of the courses are usually put on thetable at the same time and food is served in several small bowls, rather thanon one plate, so that the different flavors can be appreciated. Meals areeaten with chopsticks which are kept in a chopstick rack when they are notbeing used. In daily meals, vegetables have generally constituted the mainingredients of side dishes and soups, accompanied by rice.Japanese food is always well-garnished, using vegetables which are cut indecorative ways - twists, fan shapes, flower shapes etc. A typical Japanesevegetarian meal would consist of: rice, soup, two or three savory protein andvegetable dishes (Okazu) and Japanese pickles. Desserts are not usuallyeaten. Green tea is usually drunk at the end of a meal and on specialoccasions fresh fruit would be eaten too. Eggs are frequently used inJapanese recipes, either in omelettes, or raw eggs are sometimes added tosoup or to hot rice. So, vegans beware!Breakfast in Japan usually consists of rice, pickled vegetables and miso soup,but the western-style breakfast of coffee and toast is becoming morepopular.SoupSoup is usually served in a lidded bowl (to keep it warm) and is eatenthroughout the meal, rather than as a separate course. Soup can be thick(miso shiru) or clear (suimono). Both types of soup are made with dashi.Vegetarian dashi is generally made by soaking seaweeds (such as kombu orwakame) and/or shiitake mushrooms in water for about an hour. The stock isthen boiled and the solid ingredients are removed. Clear soups can have tofucubes added to the dashi and they are usually garnished with twists of lemonzest or shredded spring onions. Thick soups usually have miso added tothem. Vegetables such as beansprouts, carrot matchsticks and cabbage canalso all be added to this kind of soup.RiceRice is served at most Japanese meals, even breakfast! In Japan rice is oftencooked in an electric rice cooker. Gohan is plain white rice and is served inits own bowl with a rice garnish. Suitable rice garnishes (furikake) include:goma-shio (toasted sesame seeds, crushed with salt) and nori-goma which ismade in a similar way but ajitsuke nori seaweed is also added. Plain rice canalso be livened up by cooking the rice with peas, shiitake mushrooms, adukibeans, or sticks of ginger root. Cooked, left-over, rice is used in many waysin Japanese cuisine. Onigiri are riceballs or triangles. They are often taken
to work in lunch boxes and can be garnished with strips of ajitsuke-noriseaweed, or can contain umeboshi (plum) paste. Donburi are also madefrom left-over rice and are served in special donburi bowls. They often havestrips of aburage (flat sheets of tofu) placed on top of them. Sushi (ricesandwiches) are made from vinegared Japanese rice and are stuffed with atasty filling. Suitable vegetarian stuffings include: aburage, shiitakemushrooms or sheets of nori. Watch out for fish which can also frequently beused to stuff sushi! The Japanese take sushi to work in their lunchboxes. Thelunch box is in two sections - with rice on one side and sushi (or a similarsavoury) on the other. Pickles are included too.NoodlesNoodles are usually served as a snack rather then for a meal. In Japan theycan be purchased in a noodle bar and are commonly eaten at lunchtime. Themost commonly available types of noodles include: udon, soba or harusame.Udon and soba noodles are often served in a soup base (similar to dashi) andnatto (a soya bean product), fried tofu cubes, ajitsuke nori seaweed, orchopped spring onions, can all be added to the noodles. It is possible to buypackets of instant noodles in most oriental shops.TofuTofu is frequently used in Japanese cuisine. It can be added to soups, ordeep-fried and is served in its own bowl with slices of pickled ginger orchopped spring onions. Tofu is also served grilled, barbequed or even iced!TempuraThese are vegetables which are deep-fried in a batter that contains eggs.Tempura are therefore not vegan. Many different kinds of vegetables areused to make them. They are eaten with pickles, rice, miso soup and atempura dipping sauce.PicklesThere are many types of Japanese pickles. In Japan pickles are eaten with allmeals - including breakfast!SaladsJapanese salads are usually made from edible flowers, beansprouts,seaweed, daikon radish, or bamboo shoots.
Commonly Used Japanese Ingredients Aduki beans - small red beans which are used to make red rice. Bamboo Shoots (takenoko) fresh or canned. Burdock (gobo)- a long root vegetable with a crunchy texture Daikon - a large white radish which can weigh up to 2.2 kg. It is used in stews and soups, or raw as a garnish. It can also be grated and used in a dipping sauce. Dashi - A soup stock, made from hot water and kelp. Ginger – a root, spice. Green tea - It is drunk throughout Japan (and also in China) and is believed to contain cathechins - special chemicals which are thought to have anti-cancer properties. Konbu (kombu) - dried kelp. A greenish-brown sea vegetable, used in dashi. Mirin - a form of sweet sake which is used for cooking. Mochi - a rice cake which is used in soups. Mochi are grilled until golden brown, placed in the bottom of a soup bowl and then the soup is poured over them. Noodles - Varieties which are commonly used in Japanese cookery include: o Udon - white noodles made from wheat flour. They come in various thicknesses and can be bought dried. o Soba - (buckwheat noodles) a greyish brown in colour, these noodles are also sold dried. Green ones can sometimes be purchased which are made with green tea. o Harusame - are very fine transparent noodles which are usually made from rice. Soak for five minutes before use. Nori (laver) - a sea vegetable which is used to wrap sushi, or as a garnish. It can be toasted by passing through a gas flame several times and is also sold as flakes - ao-nori. Onions – scallions or regular onion. Rice - is eaten at most meals in Japan, even breakfast! Use any short grain rice. Sake - Japanese rice wine. Sake is frequently used in Japanese cookery. It is served in a sake bowl. Sesame seeds - both white and black sesame seeds are used as a garnish on salads, or on bowls of rice. Shiitake Mushrooms - these mushrooms are often used in Japanese cookery. They can also be purchased dried.. Soy Sauce - a rich sauce which is made from soya beans, wheat and salt. Tofu - bean curd. Umeboshi Plum - a pickled and salted plum, used for example to make onigiri. Vinegar - only use Japanese rice vinegar when cooking Japanese meals. Use in salad dressings and for making sushi.
Wakame - a bright green seaweed. Use it in soups and as a salad garnish. It needs to be soaked before use. Always remove the central rib after soaking.Weblinks:http://www.btinternet.com/~bury_rd/japanese.htm