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Kimpira - Spicy Stir-fried Carrot and Burdock

Posted on August 18, 2009 at 2:43 AM

Some people say that the best way to cut burdock thin is by shaving it at an angle like you would sharpen a pencil by hand.  Then soak the shavings in vinegared water to remove the inherit "nigami" or bitterness of burdock and make them crispier. True, but I do neither when I make Kinpira Gobo.  I cut them rather thick, slightly wider than 1/8 inch and about  2 to 2 1/2 inches in length and skip the soaking.  The dish comes out crunchier and tastier. There will be chewing involved but it's fun and good for your health - burdock is high in fiber.  While the texture of burdock is wonderful,  it needs a little help in the seasoning department because it tastes bland.  Traditionally, the Japanese season it with soysauce, sugar and mirin.  Mine is a milder version of the classic recipe. I use less sweetners. You can decide what works best for your palate.  Adding more carrots to the dish will sweeten the Kinpira Gobo naturally.


Make 4 servings

  • 2 burdock roots, about 1/2 lbs, scrubbed
  • 2 carrots, about 4 oz 
  • 2 Tbls soy sauce  
  • 1 Tbls mirin, sweet sake
  • 1 Tbls sugar, or more to taste.
  • 3 Tbls sesame oil
  • 1 Tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper, or more if you like

*You can omit  the sugar or replace sugar with more Mirin or maple sugar or honey.   

Cut the roots by hand.  The slight unevenness makes for more
interesting texture.
  1. Lightly scrub the Burdock skin but do not shave it off, as the earthy flavor is in the skin. Cut the Burdock root into matchsticks, about 2 1/2inches in length and a tad wider than 1/8-inch. 
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat and stir fry the burdock and carrots until they soften, about 6-8 minutes.  They can be slightly toasted but not burnt.  Add soy sauce and sugar and lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes.  Taste the Kinpira. If it tastes crunchy and cooked, add mirin and cook for a couple more minutes.  Remove from heat.
  3. Serve with rosated sesame seeds and/or crushed red chili pepper.  Tastes good at room temperature or heated.


Categories: Vegetable and Seaweed Dishes , Vegetarian

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