“K” is for Kinpira

Kinpira is a traditional Japanese dish that not only tastes amazing, but also gives your body energy, strengthens your intestines, and purifies your blood. That might sound icky, but trust me, this is a meal worth making at least once a week in the colder months. I learned about kinpira while reading The Kind Diet last year. It is incredibly simple to prepare and requires very few ingredients: sesame oil, carrots, burdock root, salt, ginger juice, shoyu, and water. I usually add sauteed kale (or green peas) and brown rice, but it isn’t necessary (it just makes for a more filling meal).

Are you wondering what burdock root is? Burdock is a vegetable that looks like a fibrous brown carrot. It has a sweet, earthy taste and is a member of the sunflower family. Have you ever gotten burrs stuck to your socks when hiking through a forest? Those burrs are most likely the fruit of the burdock root! Cool, huh? Burdock root is loaded with calcium, protein, and potassium. It is a liver detoxifier and helps support digestion. Want a recipe? OK!

This is adapted from The Kind Diet and The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics



1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 large burdock root, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
1 large carrot, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
few pinches sea salt
2-3 Tablespoons water
1-2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 Tablespoon minced ginger root
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional


1. Warm the sesame oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the burdock root and a small pinch of salt. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often. You can add a few splashes of water if the burdock starts sticking to the skillet.
2. Add the carrots and saute 3 additional minutes.
3. Now add the water, Braggs, and ginger (make sure to add any juice from the minced ginger as well). Cover, reduce heat to low, and allow the vegetables to steam for 15 minutes. If you prefer more tender burdock root, steam for about 20 minutes. Continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve hot.

I love serving kinpira over brown rice. Feel free to add whatever veggies you prefer. This is such a clean, simple, satisfying dish.

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9 thoughts on ““K” is for Kinpira

  1. I love kinpira! I’d never heard about it, but when I was getting into macrobiotics a few years ago it was in all the cookbooks – probably because it’s so good and so delicious.
    Thanks for the reminder, I need to make me some very soon! I can”t get burdock much here, but I usually sub with black radish and it works pretty well.

  2. I’ve never had kinpira but I have heard lots of people say it’s good. It seems like a simple recipe (my favorite kind). I may have use something in place of burdock when I make this, our stores never seem to carry it.

    • The only place I can find burdock is at my local co-op. You could also try Asian markets. I think I may have found burdock there too when I was in a “Must have burdock!” kind of mood!!

  3. Burdock can sometimes be described as being slightly bitter, but I’ve never noticed bitterness when I make kinpira. Maybe we should make kinpira next week? It’s so easy!

  4. i have The Kind Diet, but i let a friend borrow it forever ago and i don’t remember much from it at this point (i need to get it back.), but i love the look of your kinpira, Amy! it looks colorful ‘n delicious, sounds good for me, and easy enough to make, too. i believe that’s a winning combination! i’ve gotta try this – and i like your idea to add in some kale, peas, and brown rice. yum!

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