Kimpira: Sautéed spicy Burdock(Gobo) root

Feb. 7, 2012, 6:54 p.m. | by Adriano Petrich | Categories: german vegetarian Japanese Starters sushi

Kimpira: Sautéed spicy Burdock(Gobo) root


Burdock (Bardana or Gobo) root, 4 Unit Pencil shaved

Hot Peppers, 2 Unit In fine strips

oil, 2 tbsp

Toasted Sesame Oil, 2 tsp Read it right: Teaspon!! It is strong stuff

Sesame Seeds, 3 tbsp Toasted

Soy Sauce, 4 tbsp

Materials and Methods

Get it out of your system: It is a different ingredient.

Burdock (Bardana in Portuguese or Gobo in Japanese) is a long root root that when sautéed becomes this wonderful and tasty dish called Kimpira.

I have no idea how difficult (or easy) it is to find it where you live, but if you do it is worth it.

The root looks like a lot like horseradish root does, but the similarities end there.Where horseradish is mustardy and strong, Gobo is a woody and almost mellow.

This is one of those dishes that are so easy to do and the results are nothing short of amazing.

You start by pencil shaving the Gobo. Yup! The method is called sasagaki. Try to be consistent with the size though.

Put the savings immediately in a big bowl filled with cold water. You were warned! They will go brown fast if you don’t.

My super power:

I can call Portuguese, Lebanese, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, German, African, and some other regional foods as my own. All that besides the eventual Croatian or Dutch one that I get from my or my wife’s grandparents.

Grant you that some dishes are not exactly as the originals, some have changed here, others have changed in their home locations, but we are close enough.

That’s what you got from being born in São Paulo, eat your liver Kryptonians.

That said, I have no shame at all to use red jalapeños instead of any other more traditional Japanese pepper that I didn’t find.


Once you’ve placed the Gobo shavings in the bowl filled with water the water will turn an ugly shade of brown. Better the water than your food. Change the water once.

Get a large sauté pan on high heat with a little oil. While it heats spin dry your shavings on a salad spinner.

Add to the pan and stir it around constantly until slightly soft. Try some to see if the hardness is gone. Also you might add some toasted sesame oil to the pan if you like it.

When they are not hard but still have some push add the pepper cut in strips. Cook some more and add the soy sauce.

Let it reduce and become syrupy. Remove from heat, add the toasted sesame seeds.


It can be served both warm or cold.

It is a great otoshi (starter) for a sushi session made at home.

It is said that some people also eat them for breakfast, some people. Totally not me, today.

Some more thoughts

Soy sauce: I’m using low sodium Kikkoman sauce. It is one of the best mass market products that you can find. If you can’t find it just go for any soy sauce that has only 4 ingredients (water, wheat, soybeans, salt)

Using regular soy sauce reduce the amount as it might get too salty

Carrots, Sugar: Some recipes call for sugar or carrots. You don’t need it if you are using a good soy sauce, but feel free to add them.


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