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[Temple to Table] Temple food staple: Siraegi bokkeum

Siraegi bokkeum, or braised radish greens (Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism)
Siraegi bokkeum, or braised radish greens (Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism)

“Food is important for life! Physical health should be maintained by food first and then by medicine. That’s why we need to prepare food with great sincerity because it gives us life. What are the three components of temple food?”

To this question from the Ven. Gyeho, all present became immersed in thought. “They are purity, pliability and accord with the Dharma. Of these three, the foremost is purity. The cook must have a pure mind without the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion. Many world-renowned people come to visit Jinkwansa, and I tell them, "The best seasoning is the mind."

Purity, pliability and accord with the Dharma. I repeated them silently so as not to forget them. One winter I met a monastic at a mountain temple who clarified for me the meaning of loving kindness and compassion. Loving kindness is wishing to give happiness to sentient beings while compassion is the desire to remove their suffering. How great it is to imbue food with warm love and compassion!

Siraegi bokkeum (braised radish greens)

Ingredients

- 430 grams dried radish greens (siraegi)

- 1/2 each of a green and red chili

Seasoning

- 2 tablespoons soy sauce

- 2 teaspoons grain syrup,

- 1 tablespoon chili powder

- 1 tablespoon sesame oil

- 1 tablespoon cooking oil

- 1/2 cup veggie stock

Directions

1. Boil siraegi until soft and soak in water for a day.

2. Wash the siraegi, peel the skin from stems, squeeze out excess water, and cut into appropriate sizes.

3. Cut the green and red chilies diagonally.

4. To the cut siraegi from step 2, add soy sauce, grain syrup, chili powder, and cooking oil. Mix well.

5. Stir-fry the seasoned siregi in a pan.

6. Add boiling vegetable stock to the mixture from step 5, and boil until siraegi softens completely.

7. Add green and red chilies and sesame oil, and boil again.

Provided by Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism

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Temple food is food of the ascetics who express gratitude for all forms of life and wish for peace all around the world. The Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism operates the Korean Temple Food Center where guests can learn and experience temple food. -- Ed.



By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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