Fried Burdock stick 牛蒡の唐揚げ

japanese cake

This is a rather common Izakaya dish, although, for some reason, I have not made it at home until now. There are several different ways to make deep fried gobo. There are gobo chips like potato chip, kakiage tempura, or match sticks like shoe string fries. It can be just deep fried as is, or some kind of batter (tempura batter or buck wheat batter) or flour coating could be used. Another variation infuses some flavors before deep frying.

I decided to make shoe string like fries. I also marinated it with sake and soy sauce before frying. I used potato starch to coat the surface to help make it crisper.

For two small servings like those shown above (one serving shown), I used 2 root end halves of gobo. I scraped the skin and cut into match sticks and soaked in acidulated water for 10-15 minutes with several change of water. I then drained and marinated it in a mixture of sake and soy sauce (1:1) in the fridge over night (few hours at room temperature will be fine or you can skip the marinading step all together). I drained the gobo and patted it dry with a paper towel. I then dredged the sticks with potato starch (katakuri-ko 片栗粉).

Instead of deep frying, I shallow fried them using light olive oil (below image) on medium flame. I could have used peanut oil and/or deep fried them. After several minutes, the gobo sticks turned brown and crispy. I drained the excess oil and while they were hot, I seasoned them with salt. Serve while hot.

My wife was totally sold on this dish. Gobo has a very unique flavor and prepared this was they were so crunchy. It is a bit like sweet potato shoe string fries but gobo is all fibers and crunch. This is probably much healthier than fried potato. This goes well with any drink but we were having cold sake.

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