Beautiful Cooking with Jeong Kwan

Beautiful Cooking with Jeong Kwan



One thing I love is when I come across something so inspiring I have to do something about it! An inspiration that makes me want to get up off of my chair and plan for a goal, a true goal that will help my practice along and move me and my family to another level of awareness and mindfulness. Vegetarianism has been a way of life for me…but on and off. I was a pescatarian and alternating vegetarian for 12 years. In the midst of raising a child and having a partner who eats meat I caved. I spent a few years eating poultry and at those meaty meals I knew in my body and soul it wasn’t right, at least for me…but did it anyway with the excuse that I shouldn’t be cooking 3 different meals. I always tried to buy the most healthy and well-raised animals…but to my conscious it was still not enough. My goal has been to move from my diet now (pescatarian) to lacto-vegan which is the primary diet in Kundalini practices. It may take a while but with meditation, mindfulness and awakening come responsibility. I have been an enthusiastic cook and served as a line and professional cook in the past ..needless to say, I watch lots of cooking shows to see the latest and get the news on cooking. Last night I tuned into Netflix and watched one in a series of documentaries on focused Chefs called The Chefs Table


The women who so inspired me in this beautiful documentary by director David Gelb is Jeong Kwan. She is a highly celebrated cook, Zen Buddhist nun and chef of Korean cuisine. She lives in the Chunjinam Hermitage at the Baegyangsa Temple in South Korea. Jeong Kwan cooks only for fellow nuns, monks and occasional visitors. She sometimes travels into Seoul to cook and talk about temple food for a college. Jeong Kwan, although no formal training produces beautiful and said to be by notable chefs delicious vegan dishes that could bring in rolls of $ at the very top restaurants. With love in the equation and ego out of the equation, she brings a special lesson to us all. We could say that simply to cook mindfully is the lesson but I believe that the lessons in this documentary reach beyond everyday mindfulness into a realm of true and deep health and spirituality.




There are a few forbidden "fruits" in this temple cuisine as it is said that the pungency and energy of Onions, Garlic, Scallion, Leeks and Chives may interrupt meditation. I don’t think we would know what to do without those ingredients as most of our dishes start with onion. (Onion and garlic both bother me…so why haven’t I let those ingredients go?) Instead, she uses a  world of spices like Curcuma, Sichuan Pepper, Brown Pepper, and Shisho to keep the mind calm and static. 





In closing, it would be so good to see this cuisine become the permanent health craze. It involves practices that would benefit us all even on a small scale!

See this documentary for your culinary and spiritual inspiration!


So Inspired!


Sat Nam ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ
Soorya Kirti Kaur

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