Monday, January 10, 2011

What do you do with a burdock root?

I was teasing this all Saturday on Twitter and here's the answer...konbu maki. It's my father's favorite New Year's food and one of my contributions to the cooks guild meeting that I attended on Sunday. I was unable to find kanpyo at the local Asian market so I had to secure these little flavor bombs with toothpicks.

But what's konbu maki? Seaweed wrapped pork rolls.

Konbu Maki
8 oz. nishime
1 lb pork butt
1 package kanpyo
1/3 c shoyu (soy sauce)
1/4 c sugar
2 T mirin
Gobo (burdock root)

Soak the dried konbu in warm water until it becomes pliable. Cut into 5-6" long strips. Soak the kanpyo in a separate dish.

Scrape the skin off the burdock root and slice into sections the width of the konbu. (I tend to quarter the thicker pieces and half the thinner ones). Par boil the gobo and pork butt (in separate pots) until the pork is cooked through (this is my timer). Slice up the pork so you have enough pieces for the konbu (the goal is to have one piece of gobo and 1 piece of pork in each maki).


This is where you would tie the roll with the kanpyo (or use a toothpick if you don't have any kanpyo).

Put konbu maki in a sauce pan, add enough water to cover (use hot water to speed up the process), and cook until tender (2-3 hours).

Drain out water. Add shoyu, sugar and mirin mixture and simmer for another 30 minutes (or until reduced to a syrup).

Some notes:
  • My grandmother (and other people I know in Hawaii) swear that Okinawan konbu makes the best konbu maki. All the people surveyed are Okinawan so we might be biased. The package of konbu I used was purchased in Okinawa.
  • The original recipe does not call for soaking the konbu, I soak it to reduce the cooking time.
  • The original recipe does not call for par boiling the gobo and pork butt, I do this to reduce the cooking time.
  • Tie the kanpyo around the roll and secure with a knot (I use a square knot) then cut off the ends. I have seen recipes that call for pre-slicing the konbu but I think cutting as you go results in less wastage and a nicer presentation.
  • My father suggested using tofu instead of pork...experiment at will.

Babs: "Honey, that smells so good...pork allergy be damned. Nom nom nom..."

Warm Wishes,

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