Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Burdock root. Arctium lappa. γ”ぼう。
Prized for its crunchy texture and earthy flavor. Rich in dietary fiber, keeps the bowels in healthy condition. Best in autumn, but in fact harvested twice a year, May-Sept and Oct-Febr. The texture of burdock is unique.


The skin is the best part of the root, so do not scrape, but scrub with a stiff brush to clean. Has a tendency to taste bitter, so place in vinegar after cutting (also to avoid discoloration). Good-quality roots are firm and straight.

  • Kinpira-gobo, chopped burdock root cooked in soy and sesame oil. A popular dish named after a strong mythical hero
  • Yawata-maki, a slender burdock around which a split eel has been diagonally wrapped
  • Kobu-maki, burdock wrapped in kelp
  • Yuba-maki, burdock wrapped in yuba
  • Burdock salad (a modern development with mayonnaise, available in supermarkets)
  • Burdock as tempura (cut into fine strips)
  • Used in yanagawa-nabe, a pot of loaches boiled in soy sauce with scrambled egg
  • Or in dojo-jiru, loach soup seasoned with miso
  • Great in soups, produces deeply flavored dashi