Lately I've been a bit stressed out and haven't really felt like cooking. At lunchtime I've been mostly nibbling on salads, raw veggies and fresh fruit but today I felt like eating something a bit more substantial so I decided to make a double batch of kinpira gobo. Kinpira gobo is one of my favorite Japanese side dishes and one of my "comfort" foods. It's traditionally served with rice and oftentimes you find it tucked into cute little bentos.

Gobo is the Japanese word for burdock root. Burdock root is high in fiber and potassium and when cooked has a nice earthy taste and crisp texture. Kinpira refers to the cooking style- sauteing then simmering. Everyone has their own way of making kinpira gobo but when I make it I like to add some carrot (but I've seen it made with lotus root as the accompanying ingredient on numerous occasions). The salty-sweet glaze and shichimi togarashi gives it a nice little kick. It's a pretty quick dish to make once the julienning is done and can keep in the fridge for several days.

Gobo (burdock roots)

Fresh carrots

Kinpira Gobo


One burdock root (~ 3 feet long)
1 carrot
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of mirin
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of canola oil
a few drops of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
shichimi togarashi (optional)


1. Rinse the burdock root and remove threadlike roots. Peel skin off with a vegetable peeler.
2. Julienne into thin matchsticks and immediately submerge in a bowl of cold water.
3. Keep the julienned burdock root in the bowl of water for about 10 minutes. The water will turn a brownish color. (Don't worry, it's normal.) Drain the bowl and refill with fresh water. Repeat the process until the water is clear. Leave the burdock root in the water until you’re ready to cook.
*Covering the burdock root in water keeps it from oxidizing and turning black.
4. While you're waiting, julienne your carrots.
5. In a bowl, mix your sugar, mirin and soy sauce. Set aside.
6. Heat your canola oil in a wok or large pan.  Add the burdock root and stirfry for about 4-5 minutes on high heat, until it softens slightly.
7. Add your carrots and cook for a another 2-3 minutes
8. Add your sauce, lower heat to medium and allow to simmer until the liquid is reduced and gone.
9. Add a few quick drops of toasted sesame oil. Give the dish a good toss and then remove from heat.
10. Season with a bit of shichimi togarashi (optional). Allow the kinpira gobo to cool to room temperature.
11. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve with rice.
3 Responses
  1. april Says:

    I'm in sacramento area to! Where can I buy burdock root?

  2. Ally Says:

    April, I usually buy mine at Oto's on Freeport Blvd. but I've seen it at 99 Ranch on occasion as well.

  3. april Says:

    Thank you! I will have to make a trip to Oto's :)

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