Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Kinpira Gobo – Japanese Burdock and Carrot Stir Fry

05/04/2022 (Last Updated: 07/04/2022)

Stir fried to perfection, Kinpira Gobo is a delicious Japanese side dish of carrot and burdock root in a sauce of soy, mirin and sake. Vegan friendly too!

Plate of kinpira gobo with sesame seed garnish and chopsticks.

Why We Love This

Kinpira gobo is a quick and easy Japanese stir fry with a spicy zing. Whip it up as a healthy vegan side dish or delicious addition to homemade bento boxes.

The recipe is adaptable to use up whatever crunchy vegetables you have on hand, and uses common Japanese seasonings you likely have on hand if you enjoy cooking Asian dishes at home.

White plate filled with kinpira gobo and chopsticks.

What is Kinpira Gobo? 

Kinpira is a Japanese cooking method where thinly sliced vegetables, usually burdock (known as gobo) and carrot, are sautéed and simmered. The seasoning is usually a blend of soy sauce, sake, mirin, and dashi stock, with a sprinkling of raw sugar and a handful of chopped red chilli to amp up the flavour.

It’s a common inclusion in bento boxes alongside other Japanese side dishes like takuan pickles, cooked rice, potato salad, Japanese tofu patties or katsu chicken.

Where We Learned This

We first learned this recipe during a private lesson from a Japanese chef, organised by our wonderful couch surfing host in Okayama. 

With the restaurant closed for the night, we had the whole kitchen to ourselves. She taught us how to slice burdock into slivers using the sasagaki method, which after a little practice, becomes much easier to do than you might think.

Related:Gungjung Tteokbokki Stir Fry / Yakisoba Fried Noodles

What You’ll Need

  • Burdock This long root vegetable looks a bit like a flexible brown carrot. Where carrots are juicy and sweet, burdock has an earthy crunch all of its own. It’s widely available in Japan, but can be a little harder to source in other countries. Asian groceries or markets will be your best source for fresh burdock. We’ve found frozen sliced burdock and dried burdock pieces at different grocers in our area. Dried burdock should be reconstituted (in boiling water for around 5 mins) then chopped up into fine slivers. Sub with just about any crunchy vegetable you like such as, parsnip, asparagus, sliced lotus root or capsicum / bell pepper.
  • Dashi Stock – You can use homemade dashi stock or dashi powder dissolved in hot water as a quick alternative. Dashi powder is available in two main varieties – hon dashi (more intense flavour with bonito flakes) or kombu dashi (seaweed only stock).
  • MirinThis is a sweet rice wine for cooking. If you can’t find it at your supermarket, you can omit or add in a tsp of sugar instead. You can sometimes find this in regular supermarkets, otherwise head to your nearest Asian grocer or online. 
  • Cooking Sake – Substitute with Chinese cooking wine, or a regular dry white wine if you need.
  • Garnishes – Sprinkle with white sesame seeds and fresh chilli, shichimi togarashi, or a drizzle of rayu chilli oil to taste.
Ingredients laid out to make kinpira gobo.

How to Slice Vegetables for Kinpira Gobo – Two Ways:

Traditional Sasagaki Style – Best for Burdock

Hold the thick end of the burdock root, and cut vertical slices into the thinner end. Now hold the root on a 45˚ angle and shave with your knife – just like sharpening a pencil the old fashioned way. Rotate the burdock continually as you go. 

Once you reach the end of your first round of vertical cuts, make new vertical cuts as before, then continue to shave on the 45˚ angle.

Once you reach the very end of the burdock and you can’t make any more shavings, just slice up the rest of the root as thinly as you can.

When sliced this way, the shavings will be quite fine and thin – this will give you a delicious crunchy texture while allowing the burdock to soak up all the flavours from the seasonings. 

Fresh burdock root slices in a fry pan, ready to cook.

Julienne Style – Best for Carrot

Cut each carrot into half, then square off the edges until you have long rectangular blocks. Slice each block into thin planks, then cut through each plank again to form matchsticks. You can stack a few planks on top of each other to make this process a bit quicker. There are plenty of online tutorials to julienne your carrot too.

How to make Kinpira Gobo:

  1. For the stir fry sauce: Mix the dashi powder and water in a small mixing bowl. Add the soymirin and sake and stir.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: Wash the burdock root thoroughly to remove dirt. Slice into small julienne strips about 4 – 5 cm long, or use the sasagaki method to slice into shavings. Soak in water to keep fresh, then drain and squeeze out any remaining liquid just before cooking. Meanwhile slice the carrot into julienne strips or cut sasagaki style.
  3. To cook: Heat the sesame oil in a fry pan over high heat. Add the burdock and carrot and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Pour in half of the sauce and continue to stir fry for another minute or so.
  1. Once the liquid starts to evaporate, add in the remaining sauce. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has reduced (another 1-2 minutes).
  2. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Preparing Fresh Burdock – Always give fresh burdock a good wash under running water to remove the dirt, but avoid peeling as this will remove it’s earthy flavour. Slice just before you’re ready to cook, and soak the slices in water while you’re preparing the carrot. This helps keep it fresh and stop the colour changing, while also helping to remove some of the astringent flavour. Drain and squeeze out any remaining liquid just before cooking. 
  • Presentation – Whether you use the julienne or sasagaki method, don’t worry too much about perfect presentation. No matter how it looks, it will still taste amazing!

FAQs

Can I make it in advance?

Yes you can. Kinpira gobo will last for up to a week if stored in an airtight container in the fridge. You can freeze it for 2-3 months, although we avoid freezing kinpira gobo made with pre-frozen burdock to avoid it being frozen twice. It’s a good idea to separate it in small portions to make it easier to serve later.

What should I serve it with?

Since this is a classic bento box dish, you could serve it with homemade sushi, onigiri rice balls, takuan daikon pickles or simmered tofu. It would be amazing over steamed rice garnished with fresh chilli and sesame seeds. You could use it any time you want to add a yummy crunchy vegetable side dish to your main meal. We’ve also heard of it being used as a sandwich filling or onigirazu sushi sandwiches.

Try these tasty Japanese appetisers next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Strips of stir fried carrot and burdock root in a Japanese style sauce.

Kinpira Gobo – Japanese Burdock and Carrot Stir Fry

Stir fried to perfection, Kinpira gobo is a delicious Japanese side dish of carrot and burdock root in a sauce of soy, mirin and sake. Vegan friendly too!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Stir Fry
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4 sides
Calories: 96kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 1 burdock root approx 2 cups once sliced sasagaki style
  • 2 carrots peeled and julienne sliced or sasagaki style
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds to garnish

For the Sauce

Optional

  • 1/2 tbsp raw sugar sprinkled over the dish while stir frying for extra caramelisation
  • 1 small red chilli chopped, to add heat

Instructions

For the Stir Fry Sauce:

  • Mix the dashi powder and water in a small mixing bowl. Add the soy, mirin and sake and stir.
    1 tsp dashi powder, 180 ml water, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp mirin, 2 tbsp sake

Prepare the Vegetables:

  • Wash the burdock root thoroughly to remove dirt. Slice into small julienne strips about 4 – 5 cm long, or use the sasagaki method to slice into shavings. Soak in water to keep fresh, then drain and squeeze out any remaining liquid just before cooking. Meanwhile slice the carrot into julienne strips or cut sasagaki style.
    1 burdock root, 2 carrots

To Cook:

  • Heat the sesame oil in a fry pan over high heat. Add the burdock and carrot and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
    1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Pour in half of the sauce and continue to stir fry for another minute or so. Once the liquid starts to evaporate, add in the remaining sauce. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has reduced (another 1-2 minutes). Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
    1 tsp white sesame seeds

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Burdock – This long root vegetable looks a bit like a flexible brown carrot. Where carrots are juicy and sweet, burdock has an earthy crunch all of its own. It’s widely available in Japan, but can be a little harder to source in other countries. Asian groceries or markets will be your best source for fresh burdock. We’ve found frozen sliced burdock and dried burdock pieces at different grocers in our area. Dried burdock should be reconstituted (in boiling water for around 5 mins) then chopped up into fine slivers. Sub with just about any crunchy vegetable such as, parsnip, asparagus, sliced lotus root or capsicum / bell pepper.
  • To Slice Burdock
    • Hold the thick end of the burdock root, and cut vertical slices into the thinner end. Now hold the root on a 45˚ angle and shave with your knife – just like sharpening a pencil the old fashioned way. Rotate the burdock continually as you go. 
    • When sliced this way, he shavings should be quite fine and thin – this will give you a delicious crunchy texture while allowing the burdock to soak up all the flavours from the seasonings. 
    • Once you reach the end of your first round of vertical cuts, make new vertical cuts as before, then continue to shave on the 45˚ angle.
    • Once you reach the very end of the burdock and you can’t make any more shavings, just slice up the rest of the root as thinly as you can.
  • Dashi Stock –You can use homemade dashi stock or dashi powder dissolved in hot water as a quick alternative. Dashi powder is available in two main varieties – hon dashi (more intense flavour with bonito flakes) or kombu dashi (seaweed only stock).
  • Mirin – This is a sweet rice wine for cooking. If you can’t find it at your supermarket, you can omit or add in a tsp of sugar instead. You can sometimes find this in regular supermarkets, otherwise head to your nearest Asian grocer or online.
  • Cooking Sake –Substitute with Chinese cooking wine, or a regular dry white wine if you need.
  • Garnishes – Sprinkle with white sesame seeds, shichimi togarashi spice blend, or a drizzling of rayu chilli oil to taste.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Kinpira Gobo – Japanese Burdock and Carrot Stir Fry
Amount per Serving
Calories
96
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Sodium
 
597
mg
26
%
Potassium
 
213
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
13
g
4
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
Vitamin A
 
5095
IU
102
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
31
mg
3
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Kinpira Gobo - Japanese Burdock and Carrot Stir Fry

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashely Adams
    11/01/2021 at 1:12 am

    5 stars
    I made the recipe exactly as written with one minor change: I did not have Hon Dashi powder so I used powdered Shiitake bouillon instead. It still came out awesome despite the change! Next time I go to my Asian market, I’ll pick up Hon Dashi and try it that way!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/01/2021 at 10:29 am

      Oh good to know the shiitake bouillon worked well as a sub. Thanks heaps for the feedback and so glad you enjoyed it. It is a great little dish!

  • Reply
    Shihoko
    03/07/2016 at 7:01 pm

    5 stars
    Yum! My favourite Japanese dish <3 where did you get fresh burdock from? I wish I can find a shop that I can buy burdocks in Brisbane 😀

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      04/07/2016 at 12:04 pm

      Hey Shiho! We actually cooked this recipe while we were staying in Nagasaki in Japan. At this stage we haven’t found fresh burdock for sale near us in Australia, but it’s possible to buy some seeds and grow your own at home if you’ve got your own kitchen garden going on! Asparagus is a possible substitute but we haven’t personally tried it… yet! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristen
    08/02/2016 at 12:49 pm

    5 stars
    I love trying new stir fry dishes at home!! YUMMO!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/02/2016 at 1:38 am

      We think you’ll like this one, it’s a winner in our house 😁

  • Reply
    Shelby
    07/02/2016 at 11:55 pm

    I absolutely love your photos – and I would take advantage of cooking with a Japanese chef also! Looks like a delicious and warming dish!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/02/2016 at 1:37 am

      Thanks Shelby! It was an awesome experience, we really enjoyed meeting her and learning such an awesome recipe.

  • Reply
    Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    07/02/2016 at 7:02 pm

    5 stars
    I am sitting here pondering breakfast – and then I come on to this.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/02/2016 at 1:36 am

      Oh nice idea! We haven’t made it for breakfast yet, might give that a go next time.

  • Reply
    khadija
    07/02/2016 at 4:20 pm

    5 stars
    Unbelievable how easy this recipe is, wow! thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/02/2016 at 1:35 am

      No worries, glad you liked it 😁

  • Reply
    Ginger and Scotch
    07/02/2016 at 4:12 pm

    Burdock. Very interesting. Never heard of it before – thanks for sharing the knowledge and recipe!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      08/02/2016 at 9:38 pm

      Yes, it’s quite a different vegetable but similar in taste to artichoke and asparagus. We love it!

    Leave a Reply

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