Recipes from a Western Zen Temple
by Tamara Myoho Gabrysch
These delicious recipes have been created, tested, and compiled by a Zen cook with decades of experience. The colour photos are beautiful and make you want to head for the kitchen and start chopping. It is rare to find a book that helps you cook healthy, tasty food for large groups. An unexpected treat is a discovery that the recipes are interwoven with inspiring Zen teachings.
– Jan Chozen Bays, MD, is a Zen master in the White Plum lineage of the late master Taizan Maezumi Roshi. Her many books include Mindful Eating: Free Yourself from Overeating and Other Unhealthy Relationships with Food (Shambhala 2009)
The Zen River Cookbook is the work of a Zen Master. It is filled with flavourful recipes, thoughtful instruction, and beautiful images. This book captures the simplicity and dynamic range of a true Zen kitchen with variety, clarity, and nourishment for the body, mind, and spirit.
– Diane Musho Hamilton is an award-winning professional mediator, author, facilitator, and teacher of Zen at Two Arrows Zen and Integral Spirituality. Diane is the author of Everything is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution, (Shambhala, 2013). She is also featured in The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women (Wisdom, 2014).
The Zen River Cookbook is a wonderful collection of practical, accessible, creative, and delicious recipes. They lend themselves to the preparation of simple or substantial meals for the family, for a dinner party, or for a large function. This is good food – that it is vegetarian is not an issue. The recipes are well developed, tested over many years in the most demanding conditions, and they are reliable. They also represent the author’s Zen sensibility and illustrate a concern for good nutrition, the environment, minimum waste, and a delight in the delicious! I am eagerly awaiting my own copy of The Zen River Cookbook.
– David Scott, internationally published author and journalist specialising in food, travel, and Buddhist practice. His many books include The Three Bowl Cookbook, Explorer Japan (Fodor and the AA), and Simply Zen, Designs for Harmonious Living. He is the founder and leading teacher at Stonewater Zen Sangha in the UK.
Tamara Myoho Gabrysch is a master Tenzo who generously and joyfully shares her cooking knowledge and love of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha in The Zen River Cookbook. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience the elegance of a Zen kitchen in every meal. There are clear, delicious, and flavourful recipes for every part of the day and for every occasion. Beautiful photographs, along with useful instruction and thoughtful reflections, enhance this comprehensive introduction to the principles and practice of mindful cooking. Retreat cooks will appreciate The Zen River Cookbook as an essential kitchen resource, while home cooks will enjoy Myoho Sensei’s skilled guidance for making delicious meals to delight friends and family.
– Julia Kanro Sati, Tenzo, Two Arrows Zen, Salt Lake City, USA.
The Zen River Cookbook is not just another community’s cute little cookbook. Tamara Myoho Sensei is both an intuitive and methodical chef crafting simple, creative vegetarian meals that can be cooked at home or scaled up for a crowd. Myoho Sensei has served as tenzo for decades, beginning as a trainee in America with her teacher Genpo, Roshi–and now in a teaching role at Zen River. Each recipe comes complete with a picture, story, and years of testing and tweaking. A modern tenzo kyokun that is so complete that it could be a stand-alone cookbook in any practitioner’s kitchen.
– Kisei Costenbader, Tenzo, Great Vow Monastery, Oregon, USA.
“My Ten Top Reasons To Love This Cookbook”
- It lays flat.
- The photos are exquisite.
- Stories make it more than just a cookbook. It gives the recipes a history.
- All question about how to do it are answered.
- It has a full list of substitutions.
- Metric and English measurements are used.
- The recipes are very tasty.
- It gives the cook the confidence to create something tasty, colourful and delicious.
- All are very common ingredients I know where to find in my grocery store.
- Lots of little tips take me from “I want to make this” to “I can make this” The best aspect for me is that in the stories, in the photos, and in the simple recipes I get to create food, share it with others knowing that I am reconnecting with a Zen Master around the world and across the ages. Thank you for honouring this vow!
– Thresa Saunders, Manager Barnes & Nobles, Maui, US
I love this cookbook. I have learned a lot about how to cook beans. I have made the black bean chocolate chilli a number of times. Whenever I serve it everybody loves it and wants the recipe.
– Cindy Shigetsu Hall
About the Book
In the English language.
The Zen River Cookbook includes over 200 illustrated recipes prepared regularly at Zen River Temple. All the recipes are served and shared with a great variety of people who, for longer or shorter periods of time, take part in the daily program and/or sesshins (Zen meditation retreats).
What is unique about this book is how the recipes fuse the wisdom of traditional Zen cooking with Western-style menus that almost everyone will enjoy.
Clever combinations of ingredients, herbs and spices — drawn from an international cuisine — make these recipes not only healthy and well-balanced, but also very tasty. A major reason is that the main meal always includes a dose of protein — either as beans, chickpeas and lentils, nuts, tofu, tempeh or other soy products, and the occasional dairy or eggs.
The style of the recipes support meditation practice and are often served in the meditation hall where participants eat in the traditional style of Japanese Zen monasteries, using three eating bowls. There are lighter and more filling recipes; the former suited to periods of sesshin (retreat) and the latter to other days when the program includes more physical work such as cleaning, maintenance, and gardening.
In general Buddhist centres run on a relatively low-budget, which means that these recipes were prepared without great cost. Time is a reason too, and most recipes are ready within the hour. This is everyday food with a little flair that will keep one’s family or community happy.
Short introductions to each recipe offer interesting and amusing stories from the author’s thirty years of Zen practice in the US, Europe and Japan. All the food photographs were taken just as the meal was ready to be served (showing that her earlier schooling in the fine arts was put to good use). This book is not only about delicious nutritious food but also about food that looks great.
This book is essentially the kitchen notebook translated into print and is a valuable resource used regularly in the kitchen by anyone else looking to prepare a meal for the community – including the Tenzo.
Each recipe is for four large, five medium, or six small servings, so can easily be multiplied to feed a larger group.
All proceeds from the sale of the Zen River Cookbook go towards supporting the activities of Zen River Temple.
To order the hardcover edition, click here to go to the Zen River Shop
To order the Kindle edition, click here to go to Amazon
Kindle edition (Print Replica)
Zen River Cookbook
Mouthwatering Vegetarian Recipes
(Kindle edition subtitle: Recipes from a Western Zen Temple )
Tamara Myoho Gabrysch
Hardcover Format: 190 mm x 245 mm (7,48 in x 9,65 in)
Weight: 1.25 kg / 2.25 pounds
First edition, fifth printing
Copyright ©Tamara Gabrysch, Zen River Temple 2015
Photographs copyright ©Tamara Gabrysch 2015
Editorial assistance: Cordelia Mukan Mc Kenna and Wynn Seishin Wright
Hardcover printed and bound by Chris Russell Creatief Productiecentrum, Groningen, The Netherlands
First Amazon digital edition February 5 2020
ASIN ASIN: B084HHHYM4
The Cookbook perched on the kitchen scale alongside a 1 kg bag of flour
Note: This blog is an addition to the Zen River Cookbook. Recipes on this blog showcase new material. When there are enough new recipes, Volume 2 will appear!
All recipe photographs were taken by the author and are thereby subject to copyright.