My cookbook, KANSHA: Celebrating Japan's Vegan & Vegetarian Traditions (Ten Speed Press, 2010) provides a solid foundation to the principles and practice of kansha in the kitchen and at table. This workshop page enables me to guide you further.  ENJOY! 


Bounty of the Waterways, Bounty of the Land


The Japanese like to pair terrestrial and marine foods in the same dish. Here, bamboo from the forests (Kyushu and Kyoto in the south and west are the source of most early spring shoots, Tohoku and Hokuriku in the north and northeast for late-spring shoots) and wakamé from the sea (in and around Shikoku -- Naruto off the Tokushima coast -- and the Pacific coast off Iwate) – are especially tasty when cooked together in simmered dishes, soups and salads. Aisho ga yoroshii is how the Japanese describe such culinary affinity.

Wakamé & Takénoko

The tender layers of bamboo that surround the tip of the shoot are called himékawa or "Princess skin" and are especially tasty. DO NOT DISCARD! Instead, shred the himékawa WITH the grain and simmer in seasoned broth. These bamboo shoot bits can then be turned into a side dish.


Place about 1/2 cup of the shreds in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup kelp broth (kombu-jiru). Add 1/2 teaspoon each of mirin and light-colored soy sauce. RECIPE continued >>>>>>

Nothing Goes to Waste in the Kansha Kitchen

KANSHA means appreciation, and one way of demonstrating kansha in the kitchen and at table is to avoid waste. Using food fully means re-thinking your kitchen habits, focusing special attention on what could -- and should -- be used.

Set the pan over gentle heat. As soon as bubbles appear around the edge, swirl the pan to be sure the seasoned broth covers the shreds and remove the pan from the heat.

Allow the bamboo shreds to cool naturally to room temperature, steeping in the warm seasoned broth. It is in the process of cooling down that the bamboo shreds absorb the flavor of the
Use immediately, or transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Just before serving, drain the simmered shreds and toss them with either mashed um
éboshi (sour plums) or minced kinomé (leaves from spicy pepper plant). The bamboo bits are also good tossed with a fruity olive and sweet balsamic vinegar!!!

I welcome your feedback -- especially captioned photos with a brief description of your kitchen sessions when you try making the recipes above. Those interested in offering feedback, please download a set of guidelines for submitting and displaying your work.To further teaching goals, I may post some of the feedback to this site, adding my commentary.