Vegan Grandma

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm Going On Vacation For a Week!
I'm driving up to visit my son in Massachusetts and from there we will be driving to Acadia National Park in Maine to go camping. I'll be hiking, cooking vegan food over a campfire, as well as eating at vegan friendly restaurants, three things I love to do. Anyway, I won't be posting until next Tuesday, October 17. I hope you all have a great week.
Kinpira and a little about Burdock Root (Gobo)

Burdock Root (Gobo)

There is a small Asian grocery store near where I live, and I like to stop by there to find new kinds of food that I haven’t tried before, to try in new vegan recipes. I discovered burdock root (or gobo) there, so I went looking for some vegan recipes using burdock root. Today I made Kinpira and I really liked it. Kinpira is a vegan dish made from burdock root and carrots. Here is some interesting information about this delicious root vegetable. The recipe is at the end of this page.

Have you ever walked through the country side in the fall and found pesky burrs stuck to your pant legs or socks, or in your dog’s fur? Who would have thought that those burrs come from a plant whose root is a delicious and nutritious vegetable? Burdock is a common weed of meadows and roadsides. The Japanese call it Gobo.

The burdock taproot grows up to two feet long, but is as slender as a carrot. As for the taste, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, by Rebecca Wood, published by Penguin publishing, describes the scent and taste this way. "Imagine the heady aroma of freshly dug earth-that's the aroma of burdock. Add sweet and you've got its flavor, which is similar to artichoke hearts or salsify, only with a touch of bitter."

Burdock is a plant that is believed to provide herbal healing properties. I can't vouch for the healing claims, but burdock is nutritious root vegetable. In The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, the author states that Burdock has more protein, calcium, and phosphorus than carrots, and is an excellent source of potassium.

The root is similar in preparation methods to a carrot and can be used for soups or stews, as a vegetable side dish, or stir-fried with other vegetables. Rebecca Wood in The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, recommends not peeling Burdock root (the skin contains lots of nutrition and flavor). Instead give it a light scrub with a vegetable brush.

You can buy burdock year round in Asian supermarkets and health food stores. Select plump, firm roots. To store, wrap in damp paper towels, refrigerate, and use within a week.

(a Vegan Dish Made from Burdock and Carrots)
from Cooking the Whole Foods Way, by Christine Pirello, published by HP Books, page 44
Serves 4

"Kinpira means saute and simmer. Vegetables are sauteed over high heat and then simmered to tender perfection.......Very strong burdock needs the gentle, sweet taste of carrots to balance its strength."

1 teaspoon dark or light sesame oil
1 cup matchstick pieces of burdock
sea salt
1 cup matchstick pieces of carrots
spring or filtered water
soy sauce

Heat sesame oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add burdock and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Spread burdock evenly over skillet and top with carrots. Do not stir. Add water to just cover burdock only, cover and cook over medium-low heat about 10 minutes. Season lightly with soy sauce and simmer until any liquid that remains has been absorbed. about 10 minutes. Stir well before transferring to a serving platter.