The zen monks do not eat any meat, not even seafood. They get their protein from soy beans and tofu products. Seaweed is high in calcium. They take all of their minerals and vitamins from vegetarian dishes. They are known to live very long so I suppose zen food is very healthy so I have decided to learn how to cook zen food. I signed up with two temples. My first class took place at a vegetarian restaurant in Tokyo. When cooking zen food, you only use certain ingredients such as soy sauce, salt, vinegar, sesame oil, rice wine, etc. No sugar is used. One rule is to use five colors (ex. carrot for red, spinach for green, sesame seeds for black) and five tastes.
How to cook Taro potato with five color vegetable sauce.
Ingredients: 4 large sized taro potatoes, 40g carrots, 8 green peas, 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, a little bit of shimeji mushroom, 2 tablespoons of potato starch and fresh Mitsuba green leaf for garnishment. Sauce mix–1 cup (180cc) of Konbu dash, a half cup of shiitake mashroom dash, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice wine.
1. Peel the skins off the taro potatoes and cut them in six sections, boil them in hot water and set aside.
2.Thinly slice carrots, shiitake and green peas. Separate shimeji mushroom to small pieces.
3. Boil sauce and add vegetables to the pan. Cook the carrots until tender. Mix potato starch with water and add to the vegetable to make the sauce slimy.
4. Cut Mitsuba leaf in 5 cm or so.
4. Decorate cooked taro potatoes on the plate, pour the sauce over and garnish with Mitsuba leaf.