mandag 3. desember 2012

Buddhas Delight

Mesa College
Nutrition 153: Cultural Foods 

The story of Buddha
In what was one time called Lumbini, there was a young prince called Siddhartha Gautama. He lived in a luxurious palace and had everything a man could possibly obsess. He lived within the walls of the palace, having no contact with the world outside. One day the Siddhartha woke up with an urge to see the world, and he persuaded his father to let him go. So he did, and for the first time, he met the reality outside the walls of wealth and power he had been raised in. Some of the sights that met the young untroubled man, was sickness, and even death. Siddhartha could not continue his life within the four walls of the palace and started his journey to finding salvation and understanding. He left his princely robes along with the rest of his belongings and started wandering the forest to seek answers by wise men, but non of them to his satisfaction. 

Finally, he decided to meditate under a big tree, being tempted over and over again by demons. Siddhartha resisted and after days of meditating he achieved enlightenment. From that point on, he was know as Buddha.

the woman who came to Buddha 
with rice cooked in milk, 
when he was near death 
after being haunted by demons,
meditating for the enlightenment

Buddhism is a religion based on the learnings of Siddhartha Gautama and is practiced around the world. It originates in the Indian subcontinent, where Buddha lived and thought. 
One of Buddhisms largest concepts is Karma. Buddhist lives their lives striving to do good and skillfull deeds, in order to obtain good Karma. Their main goal is to reach Nirvana, as a final destination, ending to all sufferings and rebirths. 

Samsara, the Buddhist Wheel of Life
Five Guidelines are available for obtaining a happy life as a Buddhist
1. To refrain from taking life
2. To refrain from taking that which is not given
3. To refrain from sensual misconduct
4. To refrain from lying
5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness

There are no set dietary laws in Buddhism. However, as you can see from the guidelines presented above, both taking life and consuming intoxicants are advised to refrain from (in order to obtain good Karma, and eventually reach Nirvana), leading many Buddhists to be vegetarians(the concept of rebirth also plays a role in vegetarianism and Buddhism, as they believe that many humans are reborn as animals), some vegans, and to refrain from alcohol and other drugs.

I am not a vegetarian, but I still enjoy vegetarian dishes, and thinks it's a great way to vary our diets.
I am inspired by the openness and wisdom of Buddha, and truly enjoy experimenting with new dishes in the kitchen.

Lo Han Jai
is a Buddhist vegetarian stew, traditionally served on the first day of the Chinese New Year, to cleanse and purify the body. It is originally called Buddhas Delight, eaten by monks, and is now often served as a vegetarian option at Chinese restaurants. There are a number of different recipes for the dish, containing different kinds of vegetables, root fruits, nuts and mushrooms, some more familiar than others.     

I was able to get all the ingredients at the local store
To prepare this dish you need the following:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 fresh brown and/or white mushroom
1 carrot
2 cups Napa cabbage
1 cup vegetarian broth  
(chicken or beef can be used for non-vegetarians)
1 cup firm tofu
8 snow peas or snap pea
2 cups bean sprouts
2 tablespoons soy sauce(low sodium preferred)

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Chinese parsley (cilantro!)

Use fresh ingredients for the best result

Start with getting the vegetables ready; remove stems and slice the caps of the mushrooms. Peel and slice the carrot julienne, and shred up the cabbage to small strips, and remove the strings of the peas. Dice the tofu.



Heat the wok and add vegetable oil. Stir-fry mushrooms, carrot and cabbage, and let cook for about 3 minutes over high heat. Add the broth. Cover, and let simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. 

Add tofu, bean sprouts, snow or snap peas and soy sauce. Cover, and simmer for 2 minutes.

Mix cornstarch with cold water, and add to the dish, to form a light gravy consistency. Stir well.

Serve hot in portion bowls, drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with fresh springs of Chinese parsley.

Lo Han Jai
I was surprised how flavorful and warming this stew was. The crispiness of the vegetables, along with the tofu and the tasty broth was the perfect meal for a cold winter night.
Well served with fresh bread. 
  As a dessert I continued in Buddhas spirit "do no harm" and made
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes 

You need:
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup coca powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F

Add apple cider vinegar to the coconut milk and set aside for a few minutes

Measure up sugar,

vegetable oil, and vanilla

Add it all to the milk/vinegar mix. Stir well.

Measure up the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda/powder

and sift it together in a separate bowl, add salt

You now have one dry, and one liquid mix

Combine the flour mix to the milk mix in two batches 

Mix everything until no lumps appear

Line a muffin pan

and scoop them about 3/4 full

Let your Vegan Cupcakes bake for about 20 minutes

When firm to touch, take them out

Let the Cupcakes cool completely on a cooling rack

Lotus flower Cupcakes
Icing made of powdered sugar and water, lotus made of Marshmellows and food coloring

The Lotus flower is the symbol of fortune in Buddhism. It grows in muddy water (or vegan chocolate) and resembles the purification of the spirit, which is born into murkiness.  

Good luck, and enjoy!

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