Oryoki (Three bowl dining)

IMG_0325 As has previously been said here, I love Japanese food. I am also very interested in the ritual of Buddhist mindful eating known as ōryōki. Buddhist foods are amazing - I've never had vegetables prepared so well as when using one of their recipes.

There is great ritual around the preparation of the place, the unpacking of the bowls, eating, cleaning up, and repacking. There is a fantastic video on YouTube which goes through this ritual.

My two favorite cookbooks for this type of dining are the Three Bowl Cookbook and 3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery. The large bowl usually consists of a grain, such as rice or oatmeal. The middle bowl usually consists of a hot liquid. The third bowl usually consists of vegetables, yogurt or nuts.

In the picture above, the bowls are holding (from left to right) Basmati Rice with Raisins and Walnuts, Miso Soup, and grilled vegetables. Frequently the meal should also be accompanied with some kind of pickle. I love pickled ginger, but am experimenting with pickled daikon, carrot and other good vegetables for pickling purposes.

These meals are very simple in terms of structure, but the flavor combinations can be surprisingly complex.