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Shredded Burdock Root

Yesterday morning, I took and passed the final exam for New York’s food protection certification. Not a difficult hurdle, but it’s nice to have that under my belt at last. If you’re at all interested in ever working in food preparation in New York, I suggest you go out and get the certification now, while it is still free. It has no expiration date! You can take the class online, and then you just have to spend an hour at 160 W. 100th St. to take the test. It will cost $105 in a few months, is why I suggest going for it now.

Yes, I do have a secret project in the works. I’m not quite ready to unveil it, but I’m almost there. Sure makes blogging difficult in the meantime, though!

So, here, let me distract you with tasty tasty burdock. Burdock root tastes like a sort of nutty artichoke, it’s really quite wonderful. Doesn’t look like much in the store, but it’s marvelous once you get it home and play with it.

This was mildly inspired by a cold Korean burdock dish I had as part of the banchan at Moim in Park Slope, and by a number of Japanese burdock (aka gobo) recipes I skimmed over while trying to figure out how to make what I had in mind.

Burdock prepared this way ends up crunchety, tasty, and just a little bit on the sweet and sharp side from the rice vinegar and sugar. It works really well with a number of dishes, but the first time we made it we ate it with a simple roast chicken with shallots that had been roasted in with the pan drippings, basmati rice that had been cooked with more grated burdock in, and fresh pea shoots. It was one of those really sublime quick weekday dinners.

Shredded Burdock Root
1/2 lb burdock root
Oil for frying
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp mirin
1 tsp japanese soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
A drizzle of sesame oil

Lightly scrub the burdock root to clean it, but do not peel it, as the skin has much of the flavor. Shred it very thinly, using a box grater or benriner.

Add some oil to a pan and stir-fry the burdock at high heat for about 3 minutes, until crispy-ish.

Lower the heat to medium-low, add the rest of the ingredients (except the sesame oil), and continue cooking, stirring often, until all the liquid is gone.

Stir in a little drizzle of sesame oil at the end.

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15 Responses to “Shredded Burdock Root”

  1. Kitt says:

    Wow, interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten burdock root, or even seen it in the store. Where do you buy it?

    Anything that tastes even remotely like artichoke is worth a try!

  2. Alanna says:

    Must check for this at my neighborhood international market – look at the yuzu and think of you each time!

    Question: So the certificate’s required for a top-secret project but I’m wondering, was it worthwhile otherwise? Did you learn things you didn’t already know about food safety?

  3. Danielle says:

    Kitt – I buy it at my local food co-op, but it also grows wild in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

    Alanna – You should, it’s really just up your alley! As for your question, well… no. I don’t think it was particularly worthwhile. But that may be because I have a good legal and medical background already, and don’t need a class to tell me about temperature danger zones or the importance of storing cooked meat above raw meat in the fridge.

  4. Ben says:

    Burdock (combined with dandelion) makes wicked awesome soda, too. I’ll be darned if I know where to find the stuff outside of Williamsburg (VA), though, or even a recipe. I’m actually thinking about starting to make dandelion wine again, and adding in burdock. The flavor is a good combination, less cloying than dandelion alone.

    The soda (and a corresponding beer) are apparently traditional British things from our parents’ generation. So I am told. Of course, I am also told that peppermint candy pigs are an East Coast holiday tradition, but I hadn’t heard of that until I got to Utah.

  5. James says:

    I love sauteed burdock root with a big bowl of rice. Yum.

  6. MissGinsu says:

    Ben’s comment gave me one of those “duh” moments. I’ve always considered burdock a very Asian ingredient, but it’s a classic in root beer, isn’t it?

    So I just skimmed the Wikipedia article on Burdock and it turns out to be native to Europe but out of favor as a cooking ingredient there. Food history is fascinating…

    And congrats on your certification! I’m looking forward to finding out what you’re up to…

  7. Cakespy says:

    Whoa! I have never even SEEN or heard of burcock root! Perhaps I have been living under a rock–it sounds fantastic!

  8. Helen says:

    I have heard of burdock root but never seen it or tasted it. I will look into where I might be able to buy some and try out your recipe. That is one of the most interesting ideas I have seen for a while. Thank you.

  9. Yvo says:

    Hmm, is it what I think it is? ;) Is that another one of your dishes btw? It’s gorgeous, I love the bright color of it, though orange is traditionally (I guess?) more of an autumn color, to me it screams “spring, spring, where art thou, spring, spring, come on already!” Maybe because that’s what I was thinking this morning…

    PS catching up a bit, congrats on starting the wedding planning, always exciting and daunting. Oh and speaking of planning large parties – word is no one is planning our 10th year reunion. I was laughing as I told someone “Uh, that’s the biggest party to plan for ever- bigger than your average person’s wedding even! Who wants to do that?!” *shrug*

  10. Aran says:

    I have never heard or seen burdock root. I will definitely have to look for it because when I read about something that tastes like a “nutty artichoke”, I must try it! Wonderful! I am so curious to read about what your new project will be. Exciting!

  11. Danielle says:

    Ben – I’ve had dandelion burdock soda over at ChipShop here in Brooklyn. It is pretty good. Burdock dandeline wine sounds wonderful!

    James – Yum indeed.

    MissGinsu – We should all work together to bring burdock back! And thank you.

    Cakespy – It is!

    Helen, Aran – I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

    Yvo – Well, I’m not pregnant. ;P Oh, and no, this dish I purchased, but I forget where. Are you going to the 10 year reunion? I didn’t bother to go to the 5th.

  12. Jessica says:

    This looks delicious!

  13. Toni says:

    I haven’t eaten burdock root since I first started studying Oriental medicine back in the late 80s! Back then we used to stir fry it with carrots. I remember loving it. Thanks for the reminder — can’t wait to try this one out.

  14. Believe it or not, we bought burdock twice at the farmers market. Then forgot about it,twice!,in the fridge. We’ve wasted burdock way too much . Your reminder will have to force us to give it another delicious try!

  15. stephan says:

    the recipe sounds great this one I think I will try out… Btw I know Im late but Dandelion and Burdock soda is available at grocery stores in England (not sure about other parts of the UK) as if it were orange or grape here… not every store has it but most… I had both a nice brand (equivalent of Boylans here) and the no -frills store brand to try…

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