I'm a big fan of kinpira gobo. I love burdock root so much, but darn if it isn't hard to find. You know what's easier to find here in America (especially in winter?) celery root. I would have never thought of having celery root in my kinpira until a Japanese friend of mine shared it with me. I thought: "Well, she's Japanese - so if she can do it, so can I!" Thus, this dish was born. Celery root has a mild flavor that takes on sesame well. It's also got a smooth, yet chewy texture which is somewhat reminiscent of burdock root. Why celebratory, you ask? I created this dish to be disguised as the auspicious kohaku namasu, pickles of daikon and carrot, of New Year's osechi ryori tradition. The red and white combination is considered auspicious and celebratory.
1/2 teaspoon cooking oil (vegetable)
1/2 celery root - peeled and julienned*
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 tablespoon usuguchi soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon hot chili sesame oil
Sesame seeds to garnish
Heavy skillet or frying pan
1. Heat vegetable oil to medium-high and heat up the pan.
2. Once the pan and oil are hot, add the carrot and celery root and quickly saute.
3. Add the soy sauce (do not add the mirin first) and continue to saute until the liquid is absorbed and the vegetables begin to brown somewhat.
4. Add the mirin, and continue to saute until the liquid is absorbed and it is beginning to caramelize.
5. Once the vegetables have begun to caramelize in earnest, add the hot chili sesame oil and saute for 1-2 minutes more.
6. Liberally sprinkle sesame seeds in the mixture, combine, and remove from heat.
7. Serve hot or room temperature.
*Ok, I cheated - I used a food processor to shred the mixture. Feel free to do so as well. Same with the carrots.