This Japanese Burdock and Carrot Stir Fry is a healthy vegan side dish with a spicy ZING – quick and easy to make, and bursting with Japanese flavour. From wok to plate before you’ve finished reading the recipe, this is the Asian side dish you’ve been waiting for.
There was no way we were going to miss out on the chance to cook with a Japanese chef, even if the breeze outside was sharp enough to slice us in two.
Escaping the horrendous weather for the blessed warmth inside the restaurant, a savoury aroma filled the air from the kombu and bonito bubbling away on the stove.
Donning our aprons and taking charge of scarily sharp knives, we set to work whittling carrots and burdock into slivers using the sasakagi method before chucking them in a frypan to sizzle in sesame oil.
But wait, hold up. What the heck is burdock?
Known as gobo in Japan, burdock is a 2 foot long and (let’s be honest) rather ugly little root vegetable that looks like a long and flexible brown carrot, if you tilt your head and squint.
While carrots tend to be juicy and sweet, burdock root has an earthy crunch all of its own, unlike anything else we’ve come across in our travels.
Kinpira means ‘to sauté and simmer’, so into the hissing burdock and carrot we threw splashes of soy, sake, mirin, and the mouth-watering dashi stock, following up with a sprinkling of raw sugar and a handful of chopped red chilli.
And that was literally all that was needed to turn a few simple ingredients into this luscious Japanese Burdock and Carrot Stir Fry.
Leaving the red and gold mass to simmer down into thick, saucy deliciousness, we turned our hands to a few other classy Japanese recipes from our awesome chef while we had the chance.
(Hint hint: If you love rice for breakfast lunch and dinner, check out these handcrafted Japanese rice ball snacks over here>>).
Asian groceries or markets are going to be your best source for burdock, but if you can’t get your hands on any, asparagus is the perfect substitute.
What do you like to cook outside when the weather is foul? What dishes warm your soul? Tell us all about them in the comments below. 🙂
- Mix the dashi powder and water in a small mixing bowl. Add the soy, mirin and sake and stir. Set aside.
- Wash the burdock root thoroughly to remove dirt. Slice into small julienne strips about 4 – 5 cm long. (Alternatively, slice burdock using the Japanese sasagaki method). Soak the burdock slices in water to keep fresh and remove any dirt, then drain and squeeze out any remaining liquid.
- Slice the carrot into julienne strips.
- Heat the oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add the burdock and carrot and stir fry for a few minutes.
- Pour in half of the sauce mixture and continue to cook. Once the liquid starts to evaporate, add in the remaining sauce. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has reduced.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
- Cut the burdock and carrot using the sasakagi method.
- Kinpira means ‘to sauté and simmer’.
- For sourcing burdock: Asian groceries or markets are going to be your best source for burdock, but if you can’t get your hands on any, asparagus is the perfect substitute.