Burdock root is a tuber that looks a bit like a woodier version of a parsnip. It is known to have medicinal as well as nutritional benefits. Very low in calories, burdock is high in inulin which acts as a prebiotic, helping to promote good gut bacteria and healthy blood sugar. Among other antioxidants and minerals like iron, manganese, selenium and zinc, it is also particularly high in potassium which makes it beneficial for healthy blood pressure. How on earth do you use this earthy vegetable?
Since burdock is on the woody side, I found that boiling it until tender then slicing it into matchstick sized pieces transformed it into something similar to bamboo shoots. This dish combines a lot of earthy flavors between the root vegetables and that rich, umami miso flavor. The lightly cooked carrots and daikon radish give it a fresh crunch. I served it with rice but this would be great with Explore Asian's bean-based noodles.
1 block organic extra firm tofu
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2-3 pieces of burdock root
1 medium daikon radish
1 medium carrot
2 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp miso
Add about 4 cups of water to a saucepan and squeeze the lemon into it. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, use the back of a knife to scrape the burdock root clean. Slice burdock root on the diagonal in ½ inch pieces and place in the water. Burdock discolors quickly so you can add it to the water as you cut it. The lemon juice in the water keeps it from discoloring. Simmer until just tender, about 30 minutes, then let cool.
Cut tofu into 12 rectangles (slice in half lenghthwise then across 5 times). Pat each rectangle dry with a paper towel. Dry tofu is your friend; this is the key to getting nice crispy tofu. Add coconut oil to a frying pan and place the tofu in the pan. Let it cook on one side at medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until nicely browned and crisp, then turn and do the same on the other side. Remove tofu from pan.
Combine 1 Tbsp sugar, rice vinegar and miso in a bowl. Slice burdock pieces, daikon radish and carrot into matchsticks and add to frying pan along with the liquid. Stir over medium-high heat to coat then add the tofu. Continue stirring until the sauce turns glossy, and everything is well coated, about 2 minutes. Serve over rice or your favorite asian noodle.