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Korean Temple Cuisine

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Here are a couple recipes for Korean (Buddhist) Temple style dishes.

Beoseotbap (버섯밥, mushrooms and rice)

This dish is made without any animal ingredients, nor with any of the 5 "Hot

Vegetables" and so the simple flavors of the ingredients shine through.

Serves 4

2 ounces shittake mushroom
2 ounces common white mushroom
2 ounces coral mushroom*
2 ounces pine mushroom*
1 red chili pepper
1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 dash salt
1 dash pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cups uncooked rice
2 1/4 cups water **

* substitute any type of available mushrooms

** or as directed for your rice maker

Mushrooms and Pepper

Rinse mushrooms thouroughly in cold running water (use soft brush if
needed).
Soak any dried mushrooms for about 1 hour (reserve soak water), then
squeeze any excess moisture from them.
Thin slice the mushrooms.
Wash the chili pepper in cold running water.
Remove the stem, then cut in half from top to bottom.
Thin slice each half into "threads" from top to bottom.
Heat a pan over medium heat, add oil, mushrooms, and chili threads, then
stir fry for about five minutes.
Remove from heat, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, drizzle with sesame
oil, and toss until well mixed.

Rice

Choose Rice:

Use a Calrose style Short or Medium Grain white rice, although any uncooked
short or medium grain plain (unflavored) white rice will work. Some types of
rice are covered with talc and will need to be rinsed thoroughly prior to use.
Others are vitamin enriched and do not require rinsing. Be sure to read the
manufacturers label.
DO NOT USE INSTANT OR MINUTE RICE!!!.

Prepare Rice:
Rinse thoroughly if needed. (Talc coated)
Place rice in a large pot or bowl and completely cover with cold water. Water
level should be about 3 inches higher than the rice level.
Soak for 1/2 to one hour, then drain.

Cooking:

Rice Cooker:
Follow manufacturers instructions.

Stove Top:
Place soaked rice in a non stick cooking pot.
Add mushroom soak water or clean water (1 1/4 cup water per 1 cup rice).
Bring to a full boil over high heat and cook for about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium low (drop to a simmer), cover, and cook about 10
more minutes. Do not remove cover or otherwise disturb the rice.

Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the cover on, then fluff
gently(stir from bottom to top) just prior to serving.

Serve:
Place the rice in serving bowls and top with the mushroom mix. Serve with
vegetable banchan that has been prepared with no animal or "hot
vegetables" ingredients.
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Baechu Kimchi (Temple Cuisine)

This "Temple Cuisine" version of Kimchi excludes garlic and fish sauce, and
presents a crisp, clean flavor that is a hallmark of much of Korean Buddhist
Temple foods.

2 Napa cabbage(about 5-6 pounds)
1/2 Cup non iodized salt 1 small Korean (Daikon) radish (about 2 pounds)
5-6 Green onion
3 dried shiitake mushroom

Seasoning Paste
1/2 ounce kombu
1 Tb of sweet rice powder
1 cup of cold water
1 small semi sweet apple
1 small Korean pear (4 to 5 ounces)
1 ounce fresh ginger
2 tablespoon non iodized salt
1/4 Cup coarse ground dried chili pepper

Preparation
Cut cabbage in quarters from top to bottom
Wash the cabbage thoroughly in cold running water, making sure to wash
between the leaves.
Place the Cabbage in a non reactive pot or bowl, cut sides up, then add salt
by sprinkling between leaves.
Let stand for 6 to 12 hours.
Rinse well in cold running water, then gently squeeze out excess moisture.

Seasoning Paste:
Rinse shiitake mushrooms in cold running water.
Place the mushroom and kombu in a pot and add 1 cup water, and let soak
for about 1 hour.
Remove mushrooms, gently squeeze out excess moisture, and thin slice, then
set aside.
Discard the Kombu.
Add sweet rice flour to the soak water and mix well, then heat over medium
low heat until the mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and let cool.

Peel the ginger, peel and core the apple and pear, then cut into chunks
small enough to place in a food processor or blender.
Add just enough water (about 1 tablespoon) to be able to liquify the mix.
Add the pear/apple/ginger mix, salt, and the ground chili pepper to the
thickened rice flour mixture and mix well.
Let stand for at least 30 minutes.

Final Mix:
Coarse shred the Korean radish.
Cut the green onion on a diagonal into roughly 1 1/2 inch long sections.
Place the shredded radish, green onion, and sliced mushroom into a large
bowl, then add seasoning paste and mix well.
Place a small amount of the seasoning mix in the bottom of a clean, sealable
container.
One quarter at a time, rub the seasoning mix into the cabbage, making sure
to place a small amount between each leaf, then gently fold the cabage in
half.
Repeat with each cabbage quarter.
Tightly fit the cabbage into the container, then place any remaining
seasoning mix on top.
Make sure there is about 1 1/2 inches of room between the top of the
cabbage/seasoning mix and the top of the container to allow for expansion.
Let the kimchi sit out at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate.
Kimchi will be ready to serve in three to seven days.

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  1. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Can you kindly specify which vegetables are considered heat-giving according to Korean food-health associations?

    1 Reply
    1. re: luckyfatima

      Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Buddhism or Buddhist cuisine.

      The five "hot" vegetables are green onions, onions, garlic, leeks, and a wild rocambole.

      An excerpt from an essay by Jung Lee - "in the Surangama Sutra it is said that these five ‘hot’ flavored vegetables, when fresh, affect our thinking and lead us to obscene thoughts, and when cooked they stimulate our anger."

      I know that green onion is included in the kimchi recipe above but there are a few different branches/sects of Buddhism in Korea so the green onion in this case (neither fresh nor cooked) may be allowable to some.

    2. Hobak Namul - Fried Squash

      A Korean Temple version of Hobak namul, this recipe omits the garlic and green onion commonly found in other versions of this dish.

      Servings: 4

      Ingredients

      1 large zucchini -- (about 3/4 pound) (or any long round squash)
      2 tablespoons vegetable oil -- (soybean, sesame, etc)

      Hot Sauce:
      1 teaspoon gochujang -- (red pepper and fermented soy bean paste)
      1 tablespoon rice vinegar
      1 tablespoon mulyeot or honey -- (malt syrup)
      1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
      1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

      Procedure

      Sauce:
      Mix all ingredients together.
      Let stand at least fifteen minutes to let flavors develop.

      Cook:
      Slice the zucchini into thin ovals.
      Lightly oil a pan and heat over medium high until hot.
      Add zucchini slices and fry for about 45 seconds per side.
      Stack the fried zucchini slices 3 or 4 slices high, with a small amount of hot sauce between each slice, and a dollop of the sauce on top.
      Serve warm or at room temperature.