Kenchinjiru (Japanese Zen Vegetable Soup)

"Kenchinjiru" is a famous Zen temple cuisine. Lovingly made with only plant-based ingredients, this authentic Japanese Vegetable Soup is rich and delicious. Check out the detailed recipes and cooking videos to learn how to bring out the rich flavor using only natural plant-based ingredients! Set it aside after boiling to bring out the vegetables' Umami taste for a more delightful finish. This recipe uses vegetable stock covered in a different recipe. Please refer to the recipe for Shojin Dashi broth.

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 3 pieces (12 g) dried Shiitake
  • 100g daikon radish
  • 100g Carrot
  • 150g Konnyaku
  • 100g Burdock root
  • 50g Lotus root
  • 150g Taro(4 medium-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 block Tofu
  • 1 block Aburaage (Japanese Fried Tofu Pouch)
  • 1 liter Shojin Dashi broth or kombu Dashi broth
  • 1/2 bunch of Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach)
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • A pinch of Salt
  • A dash of Sake
  • A pinch of Rice



Rehydrate dried Shiitake overnight. (Leave 100ml of the water used to soak the Shiitake for later use). Quarter the Shiitake, cut off the hard part of the stem, and tear into thin slices.

Wash the daikon radish, carrot, and burdock root well and coarsely cut without peeling the skin. (Soak the burdock root in water for about 30 seconds)

Slice the lotus root into 1 cm thick pieces without peeling the skin and cut them into half. (Soak them in water for about 30 seconds.) Peel off the taro skin.

Tear apart the konnyaku into small pieces. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and rub in. Then, cook in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes and drain.

Add sesame oil to a pot and heat up. Then, add the dried Shiitake and stir fry for about 3 minutes.

Once fragrant, add the burdock root and lotus root and stir-fry well.

Close the lid and simmer on low heat until the burdock root becomes fragrant and stir fry for about 3 minutes.

Turn the heat up to medium and add the daikon radish and carrots. Stir fry for another 2–3 minutes.

Add soy sauce and close the lid, then turn the heat down to very low and broil for about 5 minutes. The vegetable will release liquid.

Add the vegetable broth and water used to soak the Shiitake and simmer at medium heat. Once the vegetables are soft, skim off the scum from the surface and turn off the stove. Add some water in between to adjust the amount of liquid.

At the same time, boil the taro and the pinch of rice in a separate pot with enough water to cover all the taro. Once it becomes soft enough to let a skewer through, drain the water and cut the taro into quarters.

Add the taro to the pot in 10. and cover with the lid without turning on the stove. Let it sit for around 6 hours to get a well-rounded soup.

Wrap the tofu in kitchen paper, place something flat and heavy like a plate on top of it for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Pour hot water over the Aburaage and cut them into 2 cm strips.

Heat up the soup that was set aside. If it tastes too bland, add a pinch of salt, and some cooking wine if you want more Umami flavor.

Once it comes to a boil, add the fried tofu skin, tofu, and komatsuna spinach cut into 3cm length. Cover with lid and turn off the stove.

Once the tofu is heated up with the residual heat, it is ready to serve.


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