Coated in a flavoursome roasted white sesame sauce, today’s dish brings the best out of the burdock – it’s crunchy texture and unique taste. You can eat Pounded Burdock Root with Sesame Sauce just like snacks.
When I went to the Japanese grocery store and saw fresh burdock roots I had to buy them. Fresh burdock roots are so hard to find in Sydney that I usually have to use frozen sliced/julienned burdock for the burdock recipes.
You can imagine how excited I was when I saw the fresh roots!
Since I can rarely get a fresh burdock root, I pondered which burdock root recipe I should pick. Then, I decided to cook a dish that best brings out the flavour of burdock, such as Pounded Burdock Root with Sesame Sauce (Tataki Gobō).
Tataki Gobō (たたき牛蒡) actually means ‘pounded burdock’ in Japanese, but as a dish it is always dressed with flavoured white sesame sauce.
The cooking is quite simple. Boil the burdock pieces, pound them and dress in white sesame sauce.
Pounded Burdock Roots
By pounding the root, the flavour of the sesame sauce is absorbed into the burdock pieces. It also tenderises the burdock.
Unlike my Tataki Kyuri (Smashed Cucumber Salad), you don’t smash the burdock pieces too much. Pound them just to bruise them and have a slight crack or two so that you can still retain the crunchiness of the burdock.
The timing of when to pound the burdock varies by household. Some people pound the burdock pieces before boiling them, some after boiling them. I pound after boiling the burdock pieces as I find that the burdock becomes a bit watery if boiled after pounding.
The Sesame Sauce for Pounded Burdock Root is always made with roasted white sesame seeds. I ground the seeds half way so that the sauce will have whole seeds, crushed seeds and powdery seeds.
Some recipes use just grounded sesame, but I like the way whole seeds coat the burdock pieces. By partially grounding, you can extract a good flavour of roasted sesame while keeping the texture of the sesame seeds.
All you need to do is to add light soy sauce, vinegar and sugar to the semi-ground sesame seeds and mix well to make the sauce.
The proportion of these ingredients is 2 tbsp of roasted white sesame seeds (before ground) + 1 tbsp of light soy sauce + 2 tsp of sugar + 1 tsp of rice wine vinegar. If you don’t have light soy sauce, you can use normal soy sauce.
Sesame Seeds Grinder – A Handy Kitchen Gadget
When I need to grind seeds finely, I use a mortar and pestle. But like today’s dish, if I only need to grind partially so that I can get a mix of seeds in different grinding level, I use a little kitchen tool specifically designed for grinding sesame seeds for Japanese cooking.
This tool is called ‘gomasuriki’ (胡麻すり器), meaning sesame grinding tool. This gmasuriki has been around for many years and I have been using it since I started cooking when I was in high school.
Its shape is a bid odd (see the left photo above), but it is ergonomic and well-designed. Hold the transparent plastic body with your left hand (for right handers), facing the handle downwards, then turn the coloured round plastic plate clockwise using the handle (see the middle photo above).
If you are only grating a couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds, this is easier and less washing (well, I hardly wash this tool).
I bought it at Daiso discount store, but you can find them on eBay and Amazon, etc. I just thought I should introduce you to a nifty little kitchen tool as I find it quite fun to turn the dial and see ground sesame seeds coming out.
Burdock is a Good Luck Food
Tataki Gobō is often served in the New Year’s feast. This is because burdock roots grow straight into the soil deeply and for Japanese people this symbolises a stable foundation for the house, and good luck.
Tataki Gobō keeps about 5 days in the fridge. This is also the reason that Tataki Gobō is served as part of the set of dishes called ‘osechi’ (おせち). Osechi is a special feast for the New Year and is meant to be eaten for the first three days of January.
P.S. Don’t forget to see the section ‘MEAL IDEAS’ below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and the new recipe in this post that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
Coated in flavoursome roasted white sesame sauce, today’s dish brings the best out of the burdock – it’s crunchy texture and unique taste. You can eat Pounded Burdock Root with Sesame Sauce just like snacks.
- 125g/4.4oz fresh burdock root (note 1)
- 3 tbsp vinegar , separated
- 2 tbsp roasted white sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce (note 2)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp vinegar
Fill a bowl or a plastic container with 500ml/16.9oz of water (not in ingredients) with 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
Cut the root to half (note 1). Using the back of a knife, scrape the dark brown skin off one piece of the root.
Rinse and cut it into a log about 5cm/2” long. If the root is thick, cut the log in half or quarter lengthwise so that each piece is about the thickness of your little finger.
As you make thin logs, place them in the water with vinegar. This will prevent the burdock from getting dark due to oxidisation.
Repeat for the second piece of the root.
Boil water in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of vinegar.
Drain the burdock pieces, transfer them to the sauce pan and cook for 3 minutes. Drain.
Place burdock pieces on a cutting board. Using a rolling pin, bash each burdock piece lightly in a couple of places to bruise it (note 3).
While the burdock pieces are still hot/warm, dress with the Sesame Dressing (note 4).
This dish is best to eat after few hours (note 5). Keeps up to 4-5 days in the fridge.
Grate sesame seeds half way so that some are fully crashed, some remain as whole seeds (note 6).
Combine the ground sesame and the remaining ingredients of Sesame Dressing and mix well.
1. My burdock root was thin and long. It was about 50cm/1.6ft long which is too long to handle when scraping off the skin. That’s why I cut it to half. But if your burdock is fat and short, you don’t need to cut it.
2. I used light soy sauce to maintain the colour of the white sesame as much as possible. But you can use normal soy sauce instead.
3. The burdock pieces are small and hot but you need to pound them as fast as possible.
4. It is important to dress the burdock while hot so that the flavour of the Sesame Sauce is absorbed into the burdock effectively.
5. I put the dressed burdock pieces in a zip lock plastic bag and store them.
6. I used a Japanese sesame grinding tool that I bought at Daiso. It grinds the sesame to just the right degree for Tataki Gobō. Please see the photo in the post.
7. Nutrition per serving assuming 2 servings.
serving: 114g calories: 146kcal fat: 6.9g (6%) saturated fat: 0.51g (3%) trans fat: 0g polyunsaturated fat: 1.7g monounsaturated fat: 1.5g cholesterol: 0mg (0%) sodium: 546mg (23%) potassium: 273mg (%) carbohydrates: 16.3g (5%) dietary fibre: 4.8g (20%) sugar: 10.2g protein: 3.1g vitamin a: 0% vitamin c: 0% calcium: 0.1 % iron: 0.1%