Japanese Shredded & Sun-Dried Mitoku Burdock
The burdock plant's long, slender taproot has a pleasant, crunchy texture and earthy flavor. Native to northern China and Siberia, burdock (Articum lappa) is cultivated mainly in Japan, where it has been an important vegetable since at least the 10th century. It also grows wild in North America. The plant can be recognized by its very large leaves and spiny burrs, which stick to your pants as you walk in the meadow. This " wild burdock" is very popular with macrobiotic students who feel it is one of nature's most powerful foods.
Sasagaki Gobo, Shredded Japanese Burdock Root has been cultivated by farmers in Japan for centuries; its long slender, dark-brown root is a perennial favorite. Ours is preserved the traditional way; it is to shaved into fine slivers, then left to dry in the sun during the clear, cold days of winter. An effective blood-cleanser. Delicious sauted Kimpira-Style.
Uses: Burdock root can be used in other root recipes, such as rutabagas, celeriac, turnips, etc. It can be steamed, stir-fried, or added to soups and stews.
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Cooking with Burdock
When you buy fresh burdock root (in natural food stores, Oriental markets, and some supermarkets), look for firm, unbroken roots with taut skin. Slender roots tend to be more tender and less fibrous than thick ones. Avoid floppy roots or dry, brittle ones with wrinkled skins.
To prepare, scrub the root thoroughly but lightly with a stiff vegetable brush and remove any rootlets. It is best not to peel burdock except for overly tough roots, since the skin contains much of the flavor and nutritional value. Burdock's whitish flesh quickly becomes dark after being sliced. To avoid discoloration and eliminate the slightly bitter taste, immediately immerse sliced burdock in cold water for about 15 minutes or until ready to use.
Since burdock combines well with oil, it is often sautéed alone or with other vegetables, or deep-fried as tempura. It is also good simmered in a seasoned broth. Burdock requires lengthy cooking. When combining it with other vegetables in sautéed or simmered dishes, be sure to add burdock first and cook until it starts to become tender before adding other ingredients.
Mitoku offers dried burdock root, which can be reconstituted and used like the fresh root.
Burdock root has long been prized in the Orient for its pleasant, crunchy texture and earthy flavor, as well as for its medicinal qualities. It is highly regarded in Oriental medicine as a blood purifier. The long, slender cultivated burdock roots are available in sun-dried form, easy to reconstitute.
This adaptation of a traditional Japanese recipe is our family's favorite way to enjoy burdock, especially during the late fall and winter months.
3 1.76 oz Mitoku Dried Burdock Root
2 large carrots, cut into julienne strips
2-3 teaspoons Mitoku Toasted Sesame Oil
1/4 teaspoon Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
2 tablespoons Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
1 tablespoon Mitoku Yaemon Tamari
Few drops Mitoku Hot & Spicy Seseame Oil
Scrub burdock well, and cut into very thin, 2-inch-long julienne strips. Immediately submerge strips in cold water to prevent discoloring. Heat oil in a frying pan or heavy saucepan. Add drained burdock, and sauté over medium heat for several minutes. Add water, if necessary, to prevent scorching. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 10-15 minutes, or until burdock is nearly tender. Add carrots, salt, and one tablespoon mirin. Sauté briefly. Cover and let cook. Check often to be sure vegetables are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
When the liquid in the skillet is absorbed, add one tablespoon tamari, another tablespoon mirin, and a few drops of spicy sesame oil. Toss, cover, and cook briefly until tender, adding 2 tablespoons water if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and serve hot.
Mochi Soup (O-zoni)
Symbolizing longevity and wealth in Japan, mochi is traditionally included in the first meal of the New Year, usually in soup or stew.
8 cups Mitoku Shiitake Dashi Broth or Kombu Stock
1 1.76 oz package Mitoku Dried Burdock Root
1 large carrot
1/2 teaspoon Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
8 caps Mitoku Donko Dried Shiitake, reconstituted and sliced
1 tablespoon Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
3 scallions, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
4 Chinese cabbage leaves (or other tender greens), chopped
6 pieces Mitoku Brown Rice Mochi (2 x 2 1/2 inches)
1/4 cup Mitoku Sakurazawa Barley Miso (to taste), or 2 tablespoons Mitoku Johsen Shoyu
Prepare stock. Soak burdock in warm water for 20 minutes then add to stock along with salt. Simmer 10-15 minutes, then add carrots and shiitake. Simmer 10 minutes. Add mirin, scallions, and cabbage. Cook 5 minutes more.
While soup is cooking, cut the mochi squares into bite-sized pieces and place on lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F until slightly brown and puffy. (Check frequently to avoid overcooking.) Remove and set aside.
When cabbage is just tender, add mochi and shoyu (if using), and gently simmer 1 minute more. Dissolve miso in a little of the broth before adding it to soup. Let soup sit 1-2 minutes before serving.
Spicy Burdock Root Sauté
1 package Mitoku Dried Burdock Root
1 fresh carrot
1 teaspoon rice wine or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Mitoku Johson Shoyu or Mitoku Yaemon Tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon Mitoku Virgin Sesame Oil
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Mitoku Black Sesame Seeds (lightly toasted)
Soak burdock in warm water for 1 hour, changing water once or twice.
Peel and cut carrot into matchsticks. Mix vinegar, soy sauce and honey in a small container. Heat oil in wok or skillet and stir-fry the vegetables 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle in pepper flakes, stir, and then add sauce and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet or warm oven for several minutes, stirring often, and sprinkle on top of vegetables.
Makes 5-6 Servings
1/2 pound already soaked, Mitoku Dried Burdock
1/3 pound Mitoku Hijiki
1/4 pound fresh carrot
1 tbsp Mitoku Johsen Shoyu
2 1/2 tbsp Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
1 tsp Mitoky Black Sesame seeds
2 tsps Mitoku Toasted Sesame Oil
Soak the burdock strips and hijiki in cool water until soft, then drain well. Peel the carrot and cut it into short and thin strips. Put oil in a frying pan and place on high heat. Add burdock and hijiki to pan and fry for a couple minutes. Add carrot strips in the pan and fry for a minute. Add all seasonings in the pan and stir well. Turn off the heat.