Stir Fry Burdock (Kinpira Gobo)


I used to stay in a diverse neighbourhood. We have the Japanese, Filipinos, Swedish, Malaysian, American.

Those were happy days. If one run out of sugar, salt or eggs, one will just need to go next door or walk across to "borrow” some.
Back then, we would gather fortnightly to cook and eat together. Outdoor cooking at our car porch/garden and indoor cooking at Mats' air con kitchen.

To make cooking (and eating) enjoyable, we have a different theme each time. We have cooked many Japanese theme dinners, a few Szechuan, some Italian, BBQ, some Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish and oysters parties where we order over 10 dozens of fresh oysters from the local oyster farm.

Everyone will contribute a dish and those that have no time to cook will get wine or desserts. Of course, home-cooked dishes are always preferred.
We take great pride in creating the "authenticity" of the dish. Cooking techniques, eating patterns, ingredients were well "researched" and discussed such that the dishes will complement one another.

Although many have moved out since (including me), we often meet to cook, eat and catch up.
Last night was another Japanese theme dinner. By the way, we don't do repeat recipes.

I decided to do a few stir fry dishes as I just returned from a whirlwind trip in the late afternoon with burdock, some mizuna (Japanese greens) in my luggage.
Yes, I am well known for bringing home groceries from my trips and my son will not let me forgets that I once lugged a huge head of Japanese cabbage home.

Kinpira is Japanese for stir fry with soy and sugar and then simmer. Gobo is another name for burdock. I first tasted Kinpira Gobo in that neighbourhood, cooked by Maiko.

Maiko love for spicy food spurred from her years in Indonesia, she added chilli padi to her Kinpira Gobo. I remembered she will always save some for me when she cooks this dish.
Since then, it has become my favourite Japanese stir fry.

Last night, my Japanese friends had a mouthful of this dish and declared it as very "Japanese" and "Oishi" (delicious)

It was a delightful dinner with an array of authentic Japanese dishes from the starter to the desserts in the company of cooks.

You will need:

2 sticks of burdock
1 carrot
1 teaspoon of roasted sesame seed
3-4 chilli padi (cut)
1 tablespoon oil

3/4 cup of dashi
2 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoon soy sauce
dash of sesame oil

1.Cut the peeled burdock into thin stripes and soak in water or vinegar water(a drop will do) and change water few times until water is clear. Leave it in the water till you are ready to cook.

2. Peel and cut carrot into thin stripes, set aside.

3. Heat up the wok with oil and add in the burdock, stir fry for 2- 3 mins and then add in the carrot.

4. Add in seasonings and simmer till the liquid almost all evaporates.

5. Add in the dash of sesame oil and cut chilli padi and mix well. Sprinkle the sesame seed and serve hot

Cooks' Note:
1. You may omit the chilli padi if you can't handle the heat.
2. You may substitute the chilli padi with fresh red big chilli.
3. I used dashi in teabag form.

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