Are you interested in winter root vegetables? Find a gobo burdock at your neighbor farmers market or food stores. You can make delicious kinpira dish at home. In Japan gobo is a long (20 inch), thin (1 ½ -inch in diameter at the thicker end), brown root vegetable. Locally grown gobo from the farmers market in my neighborhood is short and plump. Gobo in general has a pleasant crispiness and earthy taste. The flavor of this American cousin is much richer and tastier than the Japanese counterpart.
Gobo burdock can be enjoyed in different ways. You can stir-fry it, deep-fry it, simmer it or steam it. I love gobo the best in Kinpira preparation, since in this dish the root vegetable can fully express its flavor and texture. Kinpira is a dish, in which julienned gobo and carrots are stir-fried in little oil and flavored with shoyu (soy sauce) and sugar/mirin. I spice it with little shichimi togarashi. Kimpira is a popular Mother’s dish in Japan and I often crave for it. So, I make it frequently during this winter time, when earthy delicious root is available at the farmers market. Here is how to prepare it. From The Japanese Kitchen: 250 recipes in a traditional spirit.
5 ½ ounces gobo burdock
2 ounces carrot
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 teaspoon tamari
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
1/3 teaspoon shichimi togarashi
With a hard brush (use tawashi brush; the best result) scrub the outside skin of the burdock and carrot. Since you are not peeling it, do it thoroughly. Cut the gobo and carrot into julienne strips. I use a julienne peeler to do this process, which makes the job easy and painless. (http://hirokoskitchen.com/shop/julienne-peeler/)
Heat a wok or skillet and add the vegetable oil. Add the burdock and stir-fry it until it is well coated with the oil. Add the carrot and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons water, the sake, mirin and sugar and cook the mixture until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add the shoyu and cook 30 seconds or so. Season the mixture to taste with tamari. Give large stirs. Turn off the heat and add the sesame seeds and shichimi togarashi powder. Give several large stirs. The dish tastes better after few hours of making.