Stir fried “kinpira” daikon 金平大根

japanese cake

When I recently made a simmered daikon dish, I removed the sharp edges (called mentori 面取り). This additional step makes the appearance of the daikon better and also prevents the edges from coming off after long simmering (called nikuzure 煮崩れ). Since I did not want to waste these scraps of daikon, I made this dish in a way very similar to “Kinpira” gobou or burdock root.

Digression alert: I first tasted this dish many years ago while bar hopping with friends in the Susukino 薄野 district of Sapporo 札幌, One of our favorite watering holes was a bar where the mama-san happened to be a high school classmate of one of my friends. One time, we stayed until closing and she suggested we move the party to another place that was still open. (Some places stayed open very late to serve people working in the industry and “night owls” the likes of us). As we walked (staggered?) to our destination we passed a fruit and vegetable stand. Such stands were not unusual in the Susukino area at that time (I always thought they were meant for drunk fathers and/or husbands to lessen the guilt of their imbibing by buying a souvenir/peace offering to take home to their families—or for bar hostesses, who were wife and/or mother, to get some vegetables for their family on the way home after a long night’s work ). The stand was open and brightly lit displaying baskets of fruits and vegetables…and they were expensive! The mama-san, urged us to stop and look around a bit. Of course, we did not buy anything especially since none of us was a father and/or husband or wife and/or mother at that time and especially since we were not going home yet.

When we finally arrived at our destination; a small bar with a lone master behind the counter, the mama-san whipped out a rather large good looking “daikon” and asked the master to make something with it. We did a double-take. Where had that come from? She apparently lifted the daikon from the fruit stand we had just visited.  Her explanation was that the fruit stand charged exorbitant prices for vegetables and this was her way of exacting justice. We were not in a state to argue. The master cooked up this dish and we enjoyed it very much. When I told this story to my wife, she just kept asking, “where did she hide the thing when she heisted it?” (Come to think of it, having divulged this story what is the statute of limitations on daikon theft?)

The amount of the vegetables are all arbitrary but this is the amount I used for two snack sized servings (below left). Since the daikon scraps were not enough, I also added 1 inch round of daikon which was peeled, sliced and julienned. I also did the same for one medium  carrot. I added julienned aburage 油揚げ which was thawed in hot water, water squeezed out and cut into thin strips.

I placed a small amount of vegetable oil (1/2 tbs) and a dash of sesame oil in a frying pan on medium heat and added flakes of red pepper (to taste). When the oil became hot, I added daikon and carrot and stir-fried  (above right). When the oil coated the vegetables, I added aburage and stirred for one more minute. I then braised with mirin (2 tbs) and soy sauce (1 tbs). I stirred until the liquid was almost completely evaporated. I garnished with white roasted sesame seeds.

I don’t remember if the dish I had at the Susukino bar included carrot and aburage. This dish could go with any drink but sake is the best match. Compared to Kinpira gobou, this has a different texture and taste, although the basic seasonings are the same.

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