Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Kinpira Gobo – Japanese Burdock and Carrot Stir Fry

11/12/2020

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!

Kinpira gobo on a white plate, garnished with white sesame seeds.

Why We Love This

This 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.

Bursting with flavour, it uses everyday Japanese seasonings you probably already have on hand if you enjoy cooking Asian dishes at home.

Close up shot of kinpira gobo showing fried burdock and carrot slices.

What is Kinpira Gobo? 

Kinpira means ‘to sauté and simmer’. Gobo is the Japanese name for burdock root. This dish is usually made with thin slices of carrot and burdock root steam-fried in a base 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.

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.

What You’ll Need

  • Burdock – Burdock is a 2 foot long root vegetable that looks a bit like a long and flexible brown carrot. Where carrots tend to be juicy and sweet, burdock has an earthy crunch all of its own. While it’s sold in everyday supermarkets in Japan, it can be a little harder to source in other countries. Asian groceries or markets are going to be your best source for fresh burdock. We’ve found both frozen pre-sliced burdock and dried burdock pieces at different grocers in our area. Dried burdock probably be reconstituted and then chopped up into finer slivers, although we haven’t tried this yet, so please let us know if you do. If you can’t source any burdock, other crunchy vegetables make the best substitute – think carrot, parsnip, asparagus, lotus root slices or capsicums. They’ll all be equally delicious when cooked using this method.
  • Dashi Stock – To keep things simple we use dashi stock powder dissolved in hot water. It’s available in two main varieties – hon dashi (a more intense flavoured stock made with bonito flakes) or kombu dashi (seaweed only stock). Use whichever style you prefer.
  • 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 – This is a type of Japanese rice wine for cooking. You can substitute with Chinese cooking wine, or a regular dry white wine if you need.
Soaking burdock root slices in water.

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. 

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.

Watch this video to see it in action:

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.

Here’s how:

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Preparing the Burdock – Just like unwashed potatoes, when you buy fresh burdock from the market it will usually still have dirt on it. Give it a good wash under running water to remove the dirt. You may also like to brush the skin with a vegetable brush. To maintain it’s delicious earthy flavour, avoid peeling the burdock before slicing. We recommend only slicing just before you’re ready to cook, and soaking the slices in water while you’re preparing the carrot. This helps to 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 perfectly formed slices or presentation. No matter how it looks, it will still taste amazing!

FAQs

Can I make it in advance?

Yes you can. Once made, it will last for up to a week. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. You can also freeze kinpira gobo and it will last for a couple of months. It’s a good idea to freeze 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 simply served 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 Japanese style onigirazu sushi sandwiches.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Garnishes – Sprinkle with white sesame seeds, shichimi togarashi spice blend, or a drizzling of rayu chilli oil to taste.
Fresh burdock root slices in a fry pan, ready to cook.

Try these tasty Japanese appetisers next:

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

Stir fried carrot and burdock root (kinpira gobo) on a white plate.

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: 95kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

For the Sauce

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.
    1 burdock root, 2 carrots

To Cook:

  • Heat the sesame oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add the burdock and carrot and stir fry for a few minutes.
    1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Pour in half of the sauce and continue to stir fry. 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.
    1 tsp white sesame seeds

Recipe Notes

  • Burdock – Burdock is a 2 foot long root vegetable that looks a bit like a long and flexible brown carrot. Where carrots tend to be juicy and sweet, burdock has an earthy crunch all of its own. While it’s sold in everyday supermarkets in Japan, it can be a little harder to source in other countries. Asian groceries or markets are going to be your best source for fresh burdock. We’ve found both frozen pre-sliced burdock and dried burdock pieces at different grocers in our area. Dried burdock probably be reconstituted and then chopped up into finer slivers, although we haven’t tried this yet, so please let us know if you do. If you can’t source any burdock, other crunchy vegetables make the best substitute – think carrot, parsnip, asparagus, lotus root slices or capsicums. They’ll all be equally delicious when cooked using this method.
  • 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 – To keep things simple we use dashi stock powder dissolved in hot water. It’s available in two main varieties – hon dashi (a more intense flavoured stock made with bonito flakes) or kombu dashi (seaweed only stock). Use whichever style you prefer.
  • 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 – This is a type of Japanese rice wine for cooking. You can 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
95
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Cholesterol
 
1
mg
0
%
Sodium
 
224
mg
10
%
Potassium
 
199
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
12
g
4
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
5125
IU
103
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
38
mg
4
%
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

Miso E-cookbook

Image of laptop and ipad with text overlay.

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

    Recipe Rating




    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1K Shares
    Pin
    Share
    Yum
    Share
    Tweet