With so much emphasis on knife skills lately, I’ve been thinking about sharing this recipe for Macrobiotic Kinpira Root Vegetables– one of my all-time favorite vegetable side dishes. It’s s a classic Japanese dish that I learned how to make years ago when studying macrobiotics in culinary school. Named for the legendary Japanese “superhero” Sakata Kinpira, kinpira root vegetables is high in minerals, supports internal alkalinity, and is strengthening to the body.
Why the emphasis on knife skills? Yesterday I taught a kids knife skills class with my friend Monica of Cook Like An Italian. We had 8 bright and enthusiastic children and 2 assistants (my daughter Isabel and my former student Maria), and the children learned about knife safety and how slice and dice a wide variety of vegetables that we used to make a delicious minestrone soup. We used some brand new 5-inch chef knives that seemed to be the perfect size for little hands. It was a great success! I could actually see a big improvement in the technique of each child from the start of class to the end of class. Everyone said they had fun, and seemed to LOVE the soup. And no one got hurt, which was my #1 goal!
Knife Skills Class Dream Team- Isabel, Rachel, Monica, and Maria
Now back to kinpira… the main idea is that you cut root vegetables into evenly sliced matchsticks, sauté in a heavy-bottomed skillet with a little oil and sea salt, then add a little water to steam, and cover to simmer until vegetables are al dente. The recipe is very versatile– any root vegetable can be used in various combinations, including parsnip, carrot, onion, rutabaga, turnip, burdock or salsify, lotus root, or sunchoke. Some classic combinations are: carrot, burdock, and lotus root; carrot and parsnip; carrot and rutabaga; carrot, turnip, and rutabaga; and carrot, parsnip, and sunchoke. You can even add some sea vegetable, like arame or hijiki, or little pieces of meat to make even heartier if you wish.
- 1 tablespoon untoasted sesame oil
- 1 cup organic burdock or salsify, cut in matchsticks
- unrefined sea salt
- 1 cup organic carrots, cut in matchsticks
- 1 teaspoon shoyu or tamari
- 1 teaspoon mirin (optional)
- 2 scallions, green parts, thinly sliced
- Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat and add oil. When oil is shimmery, add burdock and a pinch of salt and sauté 5 minutes. Add another pinch of salt and sauté one minute more.
- Add carrots and another pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add shoyu, mirin (if using), and ¼ to ½ cup water. Steam, covered, for an additional 3 minutes.
- Remove from skillet to prevent burning. Garnish with scallions and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Substitute other root vegetables for carrot and/or burdock such as turnip, rutabaga, lotus root, and/or parsnip. Carrot and parsnip, Carrot, rutabaga, and turnip, carrot, burdock, and lotus root, and carrot and turnip are good combinations. If not using burdock or lotus root, reduce cooking time so that vegetables do not get mushy.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds instead of scallions.
Burdock, carrot, and lotus root kinpira with scallion garnish
Carrot and rutabaga kinpira with black and white sesame seeds
Want to learn how to make delicious, healthy food while meeting new people? Come take a class with Chef Rachel or schedule a private lesson here.