Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday: Kinpira

Burdock-carrot kinpira* with green cabbage-egg stir fry, served on brown rice.

For those who may be uninitiated, burdock (sometimes labeled by its Japanese name, "gobo") is a long, thin brown root. It can be found at farmer's markets during the colder months, or in some pan-Asian grocery stores. It's an unusual vegetable, with a very earthy, almost herbal flavor. If you decide to try a burdock recipe, make sure to chop or shred it directly into a bowl of water, because it (enzymatically) browns very quickly in the air, which will adversely affect the flavor.

In this particular dish, the burdock and carrot are cut into shavings (a carrot peeler works best), then fried in a little oil. Soy sauce, sugar and red pepper are added and stir-fried until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. The final dish has a delicate, still slightly crunchy texture.

As for the other dish, we finally found another cabbage-and-___ recipe, this time with egg filling in the blank!

*According to our cookbook, "Kinpira" was a "strong and dashing mythical hero of old Japan." But you knew that already.

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