While Japanese cuisine has become popular in the West, far less is known about the traditional fare originating from Japan's Buddhist temples. Natural and healthy, temple food is based on fresh seasonal vegetables, and staples such as grains and tofu. For centuries, these dishes have been a way of life—and a refreshing change of pace—for monks whose days are spent in rigorous self-discipline. Married to a Buddhist monk, author Mari Fujii has taught temple cuisine for over twenty years. In these pages, she presents sixty heartwarming recipes, many adapted for the Western kitchen but all true to their roots. Her Carrot and Mushroom Soymilk Soup combines traditional sensibilities with modern taste requirements. The Ginger Rice lends a welcome flair to a common staple, and Banana Tempura is a light, fruity variation of this worldwide favorite. Mari Fujii's offerings are wide-ranging. THE ENLIGHTENED KITCHEN opens with soups and salads, then sweeps into tofu, beans, vegetables, rice and desserts. A well-considered appendix explains the finer points of cooking rice and making stock, and a detailed glossary provides valuable tips on selecting, using, and storing ingredients. In Japan, as people seek more ways to improve their diets, temple cuisine is gaining a new generation of followers. Mari Fujii delivers simple, seasonal foods with love and care. She teaches the importance of drawing out the natural flavors of ingredients rather than smothering with heavy sauces or spices. Whether soup, salad, or tofu, these wholesome dishes, based on ancient Japanese traditions, are sure to become firm favorites in modern households. Any way you look at it, THE ENLIGHTENED KITCHEN is a nourishing experience for both body and soul.