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Are there any cookbooks for Chinese Buddhist cuisine?


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I remember eating vegetarian food at a Buddhist temple at events such as (sadly) funerals. It was fantastic. There's plenty of discusion about the cuisine, but I can't find any cookbooks or even recipes online to recreate these dishes. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

 

p.s. I should point out that the "Buddhist" recipes that show up on an easy google search are, shall we say, of questionable authenticity. Hot chiles, garlic, cheese, meats and seafood shouldn't be at all involved in this type of food.

Edited by tomishungry (log)
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Curious why Chinese. Many of the temples that do the communal meals are from other places. Also it is generally as noted a communal experience and something one would learn hands on when assisting. .

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I don't know about a book related to cooking at Chinese temples, but on the shojin ryori and Japanese temples, i really like "The Heart of Zen Cuisine: A 600 Year Tradition of Vegetarian Cookery" 

by Soei Yoneda, it's another old one, quite simple but fascinating. But it's amazing to see now the prices on Amazon for those oldies (Bhutan and this one), became i guess real collectors books :-)    

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There are books, but I've only ever seen them in Chinese, but these are not aimed at home cooks. It's very much a restaurant and temple tradition.

 

By the way, not all Buddhists are vegetarian. The Dalai Lama isn't.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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The book “Chinese vegetable and vegetarian cooking” by Kenneth Lo contains quite some recipes that he traces back to buddhist traditions. I cannot judge how far they have been modified. Depending on what exactly you are looking for with the buddhist approach it might be a starting point ...

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On 1/15/2020 at 1:03 AM, heidih said:

Curious why Chinese. Many of the temples that do the communal meals are from other places. Also it is generally as noted a communal experience and something one would learn hands on when assisting. .

Because I'm chinese and I liked the food :)

 

More seriously, I've been examining vegetarian diets more carefully for the ethical and ecological implications. On the side of good eats, I've been decidely unimpressed by western mass market vegetarian thoughts - bean burgers, impossible burgers made from beets, chicken shapes made of out of seitan and bad stereotypical bean/rice/tofu/sprouts. The chinese vegetarian dishes don't try to imitate meat, they're just tasty and satisfying on their own. Even if they're named mock duck or chicken, it's pretty obvious they've got nothing to do with the real animal. It's different food that tastes good, not some insane chemical filled patty imitating a slab of meat.

Edited by tomishungry (log)
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On 1/15/2020 at 3:34 AM, liuzhou said:

There are books, but I've only ever seen them in Chinese, but these are not aimed at home cooks. It's very much a restaurant and temple tradition.

 

By the way, not all Buddhists are vegetarian. The Dalai Lama isn't.

 

 

Interesting. My personal experience (admittedly limited) has been wholly vegetarian dishes at Chinese temples, with a lot of interesting tofu and soybean product based dishes that I've never seen anywhere else. Those dishes in particular stick in my memory and palate.

 

As for non veg Buddhists, well the middle path has lots of room. But if you look at some the purported "Buddhist Cuisine" recipes on the web, they're just plain nasty. I'm having a hard time believing the equivalent of ham and cheese roll ups are good eats in any cuisine.

 

Edited by tomishungry (log)
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https://forums.egullet.org/topic/146245-vegetarian-and-vegan-cuisine-in-china/

30 minutes ago, tomishungry said:

My personal experience (admittedly limited) has been wholly vegetarian dishes at Chinese temples, with a lot of interesting tofu and soybean product based dishes that I've never seen anywhere else.

 

 

That is certainly true in most of China, but not everywhere. Tibet and Tibetan regions in Qinghai and Sichuan for example, have little vegetation!

Most Chinese Buddhist vegetarian food tries to replicate non-vegetarian dishes. See the first couple of posts in this topic.

 

Where are you from in China, if I may ask?

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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On 1/16/2020 at 11:46 PM, liuzhou said:

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/146245-vegetarian-and-vegan-cuisine-in-china/

 

 

That is certainly true in most of China, but not everywhere. Tibet and Tibetan regions in Qinghai and Sichuan for example, have little vegetation!

Most Chinese Buddhist vegetarian food tries to replicate non-vegetarian dishes. See the first couple of posts in this topic.

 

Where are you from in China, if I may ask?

 

Mom and dad are from the Shanghai region. I'm actually a New Yorker.

Edited by tomishungry
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Some input here as my husband is vegetarian - I have the read the following Chinese vegetarian cookbooks :

 

'The Chinese Vegan Kitchen: More Than 225 Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Dishes from the Culinary Regions of China'

'Florence Lin's Chinese Vegetarian Cookbook' (an old classic there)

 

I've forgotten if they contain specifically Buddhist Vegetarian recipes, but the vegetarian restaurants we frequent here (that serve similar vegetarian dishes)  has served Chinese monks with no issues here :) 

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