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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kinpira (Japanese Sauteed Gobo Root (Burdock) and Carrot Matchsticks

Sure you'll live longer, but will you enjoy it? Since I had just posted my recipe for gobo root (burdock) fries, I bought a few more from the Asian grocery store and decided I would try and cook them in a more healthy way. One of those methods is Japanese kinpira, sauteed gobo root and carrot matchsticks with soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil.


Kinpira (Japanese Sauteed Gobo Root and Carrot Matchsticks)

You'll need:
1 gobo root, ends trimmed, peeled, julienned
1 carrot, ends trimmed, peeled, julienned
soy sauce, to taste
rice vinegar, to taste
sesame oil, to taste

Optional: 1 small package of enoki mushrooms. Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top.

Peel the gobo root, or scrape with a knife if you want to keep more of its nutrients (I found that this results in a mushy dark outer layer that I didn't much care for.) Julienne. Place matchsticks in a bowl of cold water to keep them from turning brown. You'll probably want to dump out the dark water and let them soak again. Drain into a colander when you're ready to cook.

Trim, peel, and julienne the carrots.

 In a wok or saute pan on high heat, add a few drizzles of sesame oil. Add gobo root and carrot matchsticks, and enoki mushrooms. Add a few dashes of soy sauce and vinegar, mixing everything thoroughly. Turn heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so until vegetables are softened.

Sprinkle sesame seeds on top before serving. I didn't have any on hand so I omitted this. The result is still a woody taste, but at least the consistency is softer. Which reminds me of that newsmagazine segment I mentioned before about the Japanese village with the healthy elderly folks who ate gobo root regularly. The reporter tried some gobo, probably kinpira, and didn't think the taste was something she'd want to eat on a daily basis.

Which leads to my other recipe experimentation - roasted gobo root.

Roasted Gobo Root (Burdock)

You'll need:
1 gobo root, trimmed, peeled, sliced
salt, to taste
olive oil, to taste

Trim, peel, and slice your gobo root. Next time, I think I'll stick with julienning, looks and tastes better. Soak in water and drain. Wrap gobo in aluminum foil, drizzling olive oil and a few dashes of salt.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for half an hour or so.

Doesn't look too appetizing does it? It wasn't the best method. If I did it with tons of other roasted vegetables, the result would probably be better. As a side centerpiece, the roasting merely concentrated the woody taste. It was literally like eating a tree. Lil' sis told me to specifically mention the face she made as she tried this.
Luckily, when I experiment, I also prepare something that's a tried and true favorite.

April 22, 2012 update:
My Baked Salmon with Lemon Pepper Seasoning now has a separate post for the recipe.

So there you have it. Gobo root may help you live longer, but will you enjoy it? My preferred method of eating them remains as fries. Salmon and broccoli are healthy too, and probably much tastier to most people.


  1. I have never seen Gobo before. Is it somewhere near sweet-potato, tapioca, or yam taste?
    You can do whole lot of different cuisines! :)

  2. I had never had Gobo until my wife started including in the miso soup that she makes every now and then. I'm into the fibrous taste so I like it :) I didn't know it was so healthy - bonus!

  3. Tigerfish,
    Not like any of the starchy root vegetables at all. It's actually a member of the artichoke family.

    How does your wife put it in her miso soup? I've only had miso soup with tofu so do tell me her recipe. :)


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