Not so appetizing eh? Well, after my fried chicken recipe, Passionate Eater requested a salad or shake. I'm assuming she wanted something healthy, so I'll do you one better.
The unremarkable-looking gobo root (Japanese burdock) is reputed to help lower your cholestrol, clear toxins from your system, alleviate psoriasis or eczema, treat sore throats, colds, even measles, lowers the incidence of diabetes, combats hair loss, cures scalp problems, gives you healthy, shiny hair, and helps you live to 100. Gee, can gobo root create world peace too? ;)
But seriously, I remember watching a news segment long ago that explores why so many of the people in this village in Japan lived to 100. One of the reasons was because they ate gobo root daily. That information stayed in the back of my mind. Years later, I tried it after seeing fried gobo root on the specials menu at Shin-Sen-Gumi in Fountain Valley. So recently when I saw it at the Asian grocery store for 69 cents, I bought two.
The tap root of gobo can be as long as 3 feet. The outer skin is very thin, similar to carrots. The inside is white as you can see below. You can either scrape the outside layer with a knife or use a peeler. I've read descriptions that likened it to an artichoke. To me, it tasted a little Chinese medicine-y, like soft, very fibrous wood. OK, interpret that in the very nicest possible way. :) But it did taste very healthy.
My mom boils it in a veggie broth and drinks it to be healthy. Since I liked it so much as fries the one time I had it, I decided to do it that way again.
Two gobo roots will create maybe slightly more than 1 cup of fries. I used rice flour because I wanted a light coating for crunch but didn't want a thick heavy batter.
Gobo Root (Burdock) Fries
2 gobo roots, ends trimmed, peeled, julienned thickly
1/4 to 1/2 cup rice flour
a few sprinkles of salt
oil for frying
Optional: sweet chili sauce for dipping
The gobo roots will darken when exposed to air so after chopping off the ends, peeling, and thickly julienning the gobo roots, let them soak in water until the color turns dark. Drain and soak again. Then when you're ready for frying, drain into a colander and add a few dashes of salt to season.
Add about 1/2 cup of water to 1/4 cup of rice flour, adding more flour if needed until you get a slightly thick but still watery mixture. Add julienned gobo roots and stir until evenly coated.
In a wok or fry pan on medium heat, add coated gobo roots and fry until golden.
Serve with sweet chili sauce if you wish.