Kinpira

Fun fact #1: burdock root, also known as gobo, is from a plant that is identified as weed and is found throughout North America. The farm is no exception, and we’ve often discussed digging up a few roots for our own use. The best time to harvest the root is during the fall of the plant’s first year – so one fall afternoon Royce set out to dig up a root for dinner…

Fun fact #2: although the plants are abundant in the wild, the best bet might still be to get them from the grocery store. As afternoon turned to evening and Royce continued to dig, it became clear to us that the gobo roots at the grocery store are seriously underpriced (of course, I imagine professional farmers might have a different, more streamlined approach!). With roots on average just under a metre long…well, let’s just say that was a lot of digging!

Lately, our favourite use for gobo is kinpira. A simply seasoned mix of gobo and carrots, it’s a tasty addition to any meal, and as a bonus: I think it’s supposed to be really healthy. The following recipe is adapted from Just One Cookbook, one of our go-to resources for Japanese recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 pc. gobo (burdock root), about 180g
  • 1 small carrot, about 50g
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sake
  • 1 Tbsp mirin
  • 1 Tbsp shoyu
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (or more, to your liking — I like more)

Instructions

  1. Peel burdock with the back of a spoon/knife (avoid using a vegetable peeler as this will remove too much of the flavourful part of the root).
  2. Slice burdock into matchsticks and soak in cold water for 20 minutes, changing the water halfway.
  3. Peel carrot and slice into matchsticks.
  4. Mix sugar, sake, mirin, and shoyu until combined.
  5. Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat.
  6. Saute burdock in sesame oil for 3-5 minutes (timing will vary depending on the size of your matchsticks, along with the size of your pan and heat of your stove), or until nearly softened.
  7. Add carrot and water and continue to cook until both vegetables are tender and water has evaporated.
  8. Add sugar mixture, stirring to coat the veggies. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until liquid has evaporated.
  9. Remove from heat and toss with sesame seeds to finish.

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