Last Updated on February 14, 2021
Have you incorporated burdock root in your cooking? They are super healthy, delicious, and easy to prepare. Try our Kinpira (Sweet & Savory Burdock Root and Carrot) to explore this underrated vegetable! It’s authentically Japanese and vegan.
Kinpira is an authentic Japanese dish. It’s typically root vegetable cooked and seasoned with soy sauce, and mirin (or sake and sugar.) So it’s sweet & savory which is a typical Japanese cooking style. Toasted sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, and red chili pepper flakes are also common ingredients to season kinpira to for variations. It’s sweet & savory, a perfect match with a bowl of Japanese white rice, or as a small dish to go with sake or beer.
Kinpira style dishes can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. They are delicious at any serving temperature but always taste better the next day when typically the flavor settles as they cool down in the fridge.
Burdock Root and Carrot
Burdock root is one of the common veggies for making kinpira. The combination with carrot is also widely popular which is what we did! Using lotus root is also great if you have them available. We do have lotus root available here in where we live but the only option is packaged ones (pre-sliced and preserved in water.) If it’s not fresh produce, we’d skip it for this.
About Burdock Root
Burdock root is really good for you. It’s a good source of fiber and boost your immune system (do your research for the actual health benefits and facts.) It’s a light brown in color and it looks like a long stick. Just like any other typical root veggies, the texture is firm and crunchy but you can control the tenderness by cooking longer/shorter. The taste is earthy but doesn’t have a strong smell or taste so it should be edible for the first-timers!
How to Prepare Burdock Root
The preparation of the burdock root is the key to savor the taste of it at its full potential. The skin is actually edible but covered with some dirt when you pick them up from grocery stores. That will be easily removed by rinsing them under running water. Here is how to prepare;
- Rinse the dirt off well under running water.
- At the sink, use a back of knife moving back and forth to scrape off the skin PARTIALLY!
- Either slice, julienne, or shave them depending on the dish you are making.
- Place the cut burdock root in a prep bowl. Add enough water to cover completely and soak for a few minutes to remove some scum and harshness (the water will turn brown.)
- Use a colander to drain. Place the colander over the bowl. Fill with clean water to rinse. Drain again and it’s ready to use!
The important thing is not to remove the skin completely! That’s where the flavor is so you really want to leave it! If you’re a visual person, check out this site. The site is in Japanese but you can see lots of pictures of the burdock root how-to’s which kind of explains my preparation steps above!
Burdock root can look very foreign and intimidating but actually it’s very easy to prepare and cook with. So don’t be scared and try some today!
Check out other authentic Japanese taste recipes!
Pan Fried Tofu with Sweet & Savory Sauce
Japanese Sweet & Savory Tofu Scramble (Iri-Dofu)
Kinpira (Sweet & Savory Burdock Root and Carrot)
Sweet & Savory Sauce Mixture
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp mirin
- Two 15-inch sticks burdock root
- 1 medium carrot julienned
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- Toasted sesame seeds (garnish, optional)
- Wash the burdock root under running water to remove dirt. Use the back of a knife moving back and forth to partially scrape the skin off. It’s important to leave some on purpose which gives the earthy flavor. Slice them thinly and diagonally (about 2-inch length), then cut them into thin sticks (julienned.)
- In a prep bowl, soak julienned burdock root in water for 2-3 minutes or so to remove the scum and harsh taste. After soaking, use colander to drain. Place the colander over the same bowl and fill with water to rinse. Drain again and set aside.
- Prepare the sauce. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix water, soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Mix well and set aside.
- Heat up a frying pan at medium high heat. Pour sunflower oil (or any neutral oil) and add burdock root and carrot. Season with salt and cook for 3-4 minutes. If the carrot start burning quickly reduce the heat to medium.
- Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the sweet & savory sauce mixture. Stir well and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced down. About 5-6 minutes, burdock root should be tender enough but still has a bite. If you like tenderer, continue to cook until the desirable texture (to do so, you may need to add a little more water.)
- Lastly, add toasted sesame oil. Give a quick toss.
- Serve immediately. It can also be served at room temperature or cold.
- It’s better served with Japanese rice (starchy short grain rice.)
- The flavor will settle more as it cools down and rest in the fridge. It tastes even better the next day!