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Fill a large bowl with cold water.
Peel the burdock, then cut thin, 3"-long, slices on a steep bias. Place the resulting oval slices into the bowl of cold water as you cut them (this will keep them from discoloring).
Peel the carrot and slice in the same way. You should end up with about twice the amount of chopped burdock as you have carrot. If you prefer more of one or the other you can always vary it to your tastes.
You can leave the carrots and burdock as is, or slice the ovals into thin matchsticks for a more refined dish. Up to you! If you do, remember to put the chopped burdock back in cold water so it does not brown. Just make sure the pieces of carrot and burdock are around the same size.
In a large skillet or wok heat the oil over high heat. Rinse the burdock, drain in a colander, and add to the hot oil just as the oil begins to smoke. Stir fry for about 3 minutes, then add the carrot slices and stir fry for 2-3 minutes more.
Add the mirin and shoyu and mix well, then drop the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid mostly evaporates and the carrots and burdock are both tender-crisp. Add spices to your tastes, mix well, and remove to a serving dish.
Remove to a serving dish and top with additional spice.
Try the same technique with: broccoli stalks (this is a great way to use them, just peel the woody outer layer away), celery (especially the less pretty bits that would get tossed or made into stock), chard stems, collard stems, and kale stems.
Try adding a big handful of whole peanuts when you add the oil to the pan, let them toast a bit as the oil heats then follow the recipe as above. I like dressing this with a bit of black vinegar and a bit more heat, some Espelette pepper or toasted whole chilies is very nice.
If you'd like to add meat to this dish, start by frying small cubes of chopped chicken thigh or pork belly that you've marinated in shio koji and spices of your choice, Noga is a fun one. Once they've browned, add the burdock and cook as above.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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