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Japanese Comfort foods - Kabocha and Burdock

Posted on September 12, 2010 at 1:52 AM

It's been nearly a month since I lasted posted something on the blog.  August was one crazy month of traveling, cooking, cooking and more cooking.  I went back to Tokyo, visited the island of Sado (which I will blog about later), did a weeklong pop up soba event at the Breadbar in West Hollywood (which I will also blog about later) and eight soba workshops.  Akila left for Tokyo two days ago, and what is left is still some pots to scrub and left over vegetables from the event to clear out of the fridge. Surprisingly enough, I am not as exhausted as I thought I would be.  I still have lots of loose ends to tie, maybe that's why.  Good news was we had no left over soba or meat.  Just a lot of pumpkins, six in all, and a few burdock and carrots.  So I made my two favorite comfort  foods - Sweetened Kabocha squash and Kimpira Gobo, Sauteed burdock and carrots.  I feel at home again.

I put enough water in the saucepan to submerge the cut kabocha pieces.  I then added 1 cup of beet sugar.  Beet sugar is milder and rounder in flavor than cane sugar.  I cooked the kabocha for about 10 minutes, just enough for a chopstick to go through the kabocha but still firm in the inside.   I drained the kabocha pieces in a strainer and let them dry until they reached a floury surface texture. The sweet liquid is discarded.  The kabocha squash teastes delicious a hot or at room temperature. 

The other comfort dish I put together with left over root vegetables was kimpira gobo. I used a whole burdock, a couple of carrots and a quarter of left over red pepper.  They were all shaved, about 2 inches long and soaked in vinegared water.  I heated some sesame oil in a medium saucepan and sauteed the burdock, carrot and red pepper
until they were evenly fried.  I added sake, mirin and finally soysauce and continued frying them until some of the burdock looked slightly toasted and caramelized.  I finished the kimpira with a couple of teaspoons of sugar.  Crushed red chili peppers were added at the end. This makes a nice salad either hot or cold. 

When I cook these dishes, there are never any leftovers.  

Categories: Vegetable and Seaweed Dishes

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