Japan Eats

Recipe: Lotus and burdock root salad

This healthy winter salad makes a great accompaniment to a hearty stew

Gobo (burdock) root is high in fiber and has an earthy flavor. It is thought to have first come to Japan as a Chinese medicinal herb several centuries ago. Lotus root, meanwhile, is also a winter vegetable, coming into season between October and March. It is part of New Year dishes throughout Japan, the holes in the root allowing Japanese to ‘see a bright future’.

I suggest you serve the salad alongside wine-based meat stews (think stewed beef in demi-glace sauce).

Lotus and burdock root salad

Lotus and burdock root salad

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 150 – 200 g lotus roots
  • 100 g burdock roots
  • 50 g kidney beans
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of miso (barley miso)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of pounded white sesame seeds
  • 2 – 3 pinches of white sesame seeds

Method

Rinse the lotus root in a bowl of cold water.

Rinse the lotus root in a bowl of cold water.

Fill a bowl with 500 ml of cold water, and add 1 – 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Peal the skin off the lotus roots, cut into 1 mm thick slices, then soak in the bowl for 10 minutes to remove any bitterness.

Fill a second bowl with 500 ml cold water, and add 1 – 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Wash the burdock roots with a brush, then cut it into long thin strips, shaving each root as though sharpening a pencil with a knife. Soak the roots in the water for 10 minutes, again to remove any bitterness.

Place a pan with 1 liter of cold water on high heat, and when it comes to boil, add a tablespoon of vinegar. Add the shaved burdock and boil for 1 minute, then add the sliced lotus roots and boil them together for another 1 minutes (2 minutes in total).

Drain then and cool them down in a colander. Place a pan withe 500ml of cold water on a high heat. When it comes to boil, add a pinch of salt, boil the kidney beans for 2 minutes. Soak the kidney beans in a bowl of cold water till the kidney beans cool down to stop the color change. Once they cool down, slice them 2 mm thick diagonally. Place a bowl and mix the following ingredients to cook the dressing: 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of mayonnaise 1 teaspoon of miso (barley miso) 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon of pounded sesame seeds.

Add the lotus roots, burdock and kidney beans to the bowl of the dressing and mix the them entirely. Serve the salad with 2 – 3 pinches of sesame seeds on.

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