One of the foods I miss from Japan, it’s burdock root. I wish this vegetable will become more available over here. Burdock root has earthy, deep flavour which isn’t like anything else. As well as it’s filled with vitamins and minerals, it’s got lots of fibre. This is quite a common plant in Japan and I used to eat a lot of this when I was there, in tempura, cooked in dashi or with rice…various ways.
Recently I became friends with people who grow burdock, in Whiltshire! (Yatesbury Farm) When I visited their farm, for the first time in my life I saw how deep the roots grew in the soil. And it WAS an experience to dig them out using a spade. As the roots were so deep in the soil, I had to keep wiggling the spade into the hard, almost clay-like soil around a plant. Lucky if I could get a whole root without breaking it. It took me 10 minutes to dig out the root of just one plant! But it’s worth the effort.
You may be able to get burdock root in oriental shops. My friends on Yatesbury Farm use natural farming method to grow all their vegetables, and the taste of the roots seemed stronger and sweeter. Above all, the way they grow vegetables makes you feel ‘safe’.
Oil of your choice (I used rapeseed oil and coconut oil)
1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
2. Peel the skin of the root if it’s looking too tough. But peel just as much as you need to, as there are more nutrients in the skin! Scrape the skin off using the back of a knife blade (blunt side) as you rest the root on the chopping board. This way you don’t have to peel the skin too thick.
3. Slice the root very thinly and spread them on a baking sheet.
4. Coat the slices with oil, using your hands. Try to spread them so each slice don’t overlap.
5. Bake in the oven until crispy and golden.