Make Kinpira Gobo

Kinpira gobo
Jenny Hones/Flickr
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 cups (4 servings)

Kinpira Gobo is a traditional Japanese dish often enjoyed at home, typically served in a bento box. It’s perfect for lunch and busy weekday dinners when you want one more thing for the menu. 

Kinpira means a cooking style that you stir fry and simmer with sugar and soy sauce. The most common ingredients used for Kinpira is gobo (burdock root) and carrot, but lotus root is another common ingredient for this cooking style. The name Kinpira comes from legendary muscleman, and that shows how nutritious the dish really is. 

Burdock has been an important botanical in Western folk herbalism and traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, primarily valued for its cleansing and skin smoothing properties. The entire plant is edible and is a popular vegetable in Asia, particularly in Japan. 

Gobo is hard and looks like a tree root, but it gets quite soft when cooked and then it has a mild but distinct flavor. Though Gobo doesn’t contain very many vitamins, it has a lot of fiber and minerals. There may be a detox effect on you if you eat it regularly. Gobo can be used in Nimono (boiled and seasoned vegetables), Miso Soup, salads, and many many more dishes. 

While Gobo and carrot are the main ingredients in this recipe, you could add things like Konnyaku, lotus root, and even meat like beef or chicken. You can also spice up the dish with thinly sliced dried red chili pepper.


  • 1/2 lb gobo (burdock root)
  • 1/4 lb carrot (peeled and cut into short and thin strips)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Peel the gobo’s skin with a peeler (the traditional method is to scrape the skin off with the back of kitchen knife - Sasagaki, between shaved and sliced). Then diagonally slice thin strips so that each piece is about 2-inches in length. Then collect some of the slices and cut into thin matchbox strips. 

  2. Soak the gobo strips in water for a while and drain well. You can add a drop of vinegar to the water if desired. Change the water several times until it is clean. Leave the gobo in the water until you are ready to cook.

  3. Cut the carrots into matchbox strips.

  4. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan, and fry gobo for a couple of minutes.

  5. Add carrot strips to the pan and stir-fry them.

  6. Add sake, mirin, and sugar and stir-fry until the liquid is gone.

  7. Season with soy sauce and stir-fry well.

  8. Turn off the heat.

  9. Sprinkle sesame seeds.