Ingredient For Four For Four
burdock root 9 oz. 250g
carrot 3.5 oz. 100g
sugar 2½ Tbsp. 2½ Tbsp.
soy sauce 2½ Tbsp. 2½ Tbsp.
vegetable oil 1 Tbsp. 1 Tbsp.
sesame oil 2 Tbsp. 2 Tbsp.
toasted sesame seeds to sprinkle to sprinkle

Gobou, known as burdock root in the West, is a healthy, fiber-loaded vegetable that few Japanese cooks would do without but often goes ignored in the exotic section of the vegetable aisle for lack of knowledge. Kinpiragobō is a common Japanese side dish that combines the root’s earthy flavor and firm texture with the more familiar carrot root and seasons it with seasame oil. Somewhat oily and not at all subtle in flavor, it’s not something intended to be eaten straight; rather, it’s nibbled at among many small dishes along with white rice in a traditional Japanese muilti-dish spread.


  1. Thoroughly wash and scrub the burdock root to remove any dirt. Don’t peel it; you can just wash it thoroughly, or scrub off the outer layer using either the blunt side of a knife blade, or a rough scrubber such as a potato brush or crumpled ball of aluminum foil. Shown below are the raw, washed burdock root, and the root after scrubbing.

scrubbed burdock root unpeeled burdock root


  1. Shred carrot.
    Cut carrot into thin strips about two inches (4-5 cm) long.
  2. Shred burdock root.
    Shred the burdock root into thin strips roughly a couple inches (4-5 cm) long. The traditional method is to score the thicker end of the burdock root lengthwise all the way around and about half the radius deep, then lay the end on a cutting board and whittle away at it with a chef’s knife while rolling it back and forth; the effect is a little like sharpening a pencil with a pocket knife. You can also do this with a vegetable peeler instead of a knife. The spacing of the score marks will adjust the thickness of the strips. If the burdock root is very thin, or once you work your way to the thinner end, it’s not necessary to score it.
  3. Stir-fry vegetables.
    Add the vegetable oil to a pan and bring it to high heat. Once hot, add carrots and burdock root and begin stir-frying. Add sugar and stir-fry until the liquid that the vegetables produces has evaporated.
  4. Add remaining seasonings.
    Add soy sauce and continue to fry and stir constantly until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, add sesame oil and stir to coat. Finally, dust with whole toasted sesame seeds and stir to distribute evenly. Serve at room temperature.


  • Burdock root, known in Japan as gobou, can be found in the vegetable section of some mainstream grocery stores, and at most Asian markets. The long, thin roots are very dark in color (usually coated in dirt), and can range in size from roughly carrot-sized to the length of your arm. Unlike, say, carrots, they don’t need to be particularly stiff or crisp.
  • In addition to being very high in soluable fiber, burdock root also contains antioxidants. The antioxidants, as well as the flavor, is concentrated near the surface, so while it’s tempting to peel it like a carrot, it is both tastier and healthier to scrub it clean without peeling it. For the same reason it’s also not a good idea to soak it (which some cooks do to remove scum) or leave the shredded burdock root exposed to the air, so cook it immediately.