Kinpira is a beloved Japanese side dish, known for its preparation involving stir-frying and simmering root vegetables in a delightful sweet and savory sauce. Typically, these vegetables are thinly sliced or julienned, then cooked with seasonings such as soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin.
The name "Kinpira" is said to originate from "Sakata Kinpira," the main character in "Kinpira Joruri," a traditional Japanese recitation accompanied by a Shamisen that gained popularity during the Edo period. Kinpira is also believed to be the son of Sakata Kintoki, who is famous for his role in the Japanese folk tale of "Kintaro." He symbolizes strength and bravery, making him a guardian deity for boys.
Kinpira traditionally features a variety of root vegetables, chosen for their firm texture and chewiness, complemented by the spiciness of chili peppers. This combination is likened to the strength and bravery of Sakata Kinpira, giving rise to the dish's name.
Common ingredients in Kinpira include carrots, lotus root (renkon), and burdock root (gobo). In this recipe, we'll specifically explore a Kinpira recipe featuring "gobo," which is not only rich in dietary fiber but also boasts an earthy flavor with a subtle hint of bitterness.
It's important to note that burdock root tends to discolor easily when exposed to air. To prevent it from turning black, it's advisable to immediately soak it in water after cutting. This discoloration is due to the oxidation of polyphenols present in burdock root.
In this recipe, we will also introduce you to unique techniques for cutting burdock root. So why not give it a try and savor the authentic flavors of Japanese cuisine?
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Total servings: 2
- 150g Gobo (burdock root)
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 2 tsp Cooking Sake
- 2 tsp Mirin
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- Sesame Seeds, as needed
- Sliced Chili Pepper, as needed
The Kinpirakun tool proves incredibly handy, particularly when you're preparing the ingredients for Kinpira. With a simple slide across the vegetable's surface, you can effortlessly create perfect julienne cuts. Beyond Kinpira, this versatile peeler is also perfect for crafting salads, soups, and more. Elevate your cooking experience with this smart and compact kitchen tool!
1) Gathering the Ingredients
Gather the ingredients together.
2) Preparing & Slicing the Burdock Root
Rinse the Gobo thoroughly, and if you have a Tawashi, it's excellent for cleaning its surface. Since the nutrients and distinctive flavor are concentrated near the skin, it's best to skip peeling. Get a bowl of water ready and cut the Gobo in a way that resembles sharpening a pencil, a method known as "Sasagaki" in Japanese, as shown in this step's pictures.
If Sasagaki proves challenging, simply thinly slice the gobo pieces instead. After cutting, immediately soak the pieces in water to eliminate any lye and prevent discoloration. Allow them to soak for 10 minutes, then gently pat them dry with paper towels.
3) Stir-Frying the Burdock Root
4) Seasoning and Braising the Burdock Root
After 2 minutes, introduce the seasonings, sesame seeds, and sliced chili peppers. Stir-fry them over medium to high heat until the liquid in the seasonings has evaporated.
5) Serving Kinpira Gobo
Transfer the braised burdock root to a plate and garnish with sesame seeds if desired. Enjoy!