Japanese gourmet food is becoming greener, with plant-based creations taking center stage. People in Japan are practicing sustainable, caring, and climate-friendly diets in a post-pandemic world. Domestic brands promote 100% cruelty-free meat and fish alternatives. According to a GlobalData report, the meat substitute market in Japan will reach ¥36.3 billion ($373.5 million) by 2026, at a CAGR of 5%.
Japanese vegetarian and vegan influencers are taking the lead in promoting culinary diversity. We are driven by our love for the environment and animals, and want people to pay attention to their health,” says Roland, founder of VeggieProject, a nonprofit that gives food vegan certification. Haruko Kawano says:
Take back Shojin Ryori
Simple, fuss-free and nutritious plant-based food is not a new concept in Japan. says chef Rakan Jetani, who celebrates the spirit of shojin ryori at
Jethani worked at Sougo, a kaiseki-style vegetarian restaurant in Tokyo, Japan. His mentor, owner-chef Daisuke Nomura, helms his two-Michelin-starred Daigo, offering a modern take on ancient plant-based cuisine. was offering. “I think it took me a while to realize that a meat-only diet was unhealthy for us. Vegan options on his menu include mock duck (using soybeans), donburi (vegan bowls, rice, Japanese mushrooms, tofu, grated momiji (homemade chili paste), and sea vegetables (aoniri). ), togarashi flat bread, and aburaage (Japanese deep-fried tofu sheets).
At Megu, The Leela Palace, New Delhi, Chef De Cuisine Shubham Thakur also incorporates the spirit of ancient Buddhist cuisine into plant-based dishes made with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. He says he wants to make Japanese cuisine accessible to beginners. “We don’t want you to think that Japanese cuisine is all about seafood. Now we have almost as many plant-based and non-vegetarian dishes on our menu. Inspired by cooking.We don’t rely on imports, we source our vegetables from neighboring farmers.By inculcating our own harvest, we can be more creative and also give back to our farmers. says Thakur. “We need to stop relegating vegetables to the side dish and make stars out of them,” says the chef. His plant-based products include shiraae (tofu spinach with sesame sauce), asparagus crunchy, seaweed salad, miso eggplant, and tofu and banyaki.
Swapandeep Mukherjee, head chef at Sakura, The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, New Delhi, agrees that plant-based Japanese has limitless possibilities. “Our Japanese customers are now leaning toward greener dishes. For example, they have never ordered vegetable tempura before. We’ve added some plant-based dishes to our post-pandemic menu,” Mukherjee says. His green vegetable dishes include tofu steak (tofu grilled on an iron plate with teppanyaki sauce), atsuageyaki (grilled tofu with chopped green onions and grated ginger), plant-based nigiri, and maki. Sushi and more. We’ve come a long way from believing there’s no such thing as veggie sushi, to tweeting about sparse veggie options and being spoiled for choice, says the chef. Come on! ’ says Mukherjee.
Amit Gupta, who launched vegetarian Japanese restaurant Bento B in Ahmedabad, Gujarat a year and a half ago, is also pleasantly surprised by the reaction his restaurant is receiving. “We initially drew flak to serve plant-based Japanese. But after a few months, it worked. No indianization, no fusion. ,” says Gupta. Plant-based gourmets have certainly won hearts and palates!
Popularized in Japan in the 13th century, shojin ryori is the ancient plant-based cooking style of Zen monks. Traditions based on the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) also celebrate the principles of sustainability and seasonality. We offer dishes centered on tofu, seasonal vegetables, and mountain vegetables, without using any meat, fish, or dairy products. Japanese chefs around the world are reviving Shojin cuisine with a modern approach. Elizabeth Ando, an American-born Japanese author, features the classics of shojin ryori in her book Kansha. The word kansha, which has taken root in Buddhist philosophy, means gratitude and gratitude in Japanese.
Silken tofu, banana blossom, jackfruit (texture is similar to fish)
Vegetables such as mushrooms, pumpkins, avocados, eggplants, broccoli, corn, and asparagus
Make vegetable dashi with kombu flakes instead of katsuobushi