Thursday, May 21, 2009

glass noodle salad with lotus root, burdock, & black sesame

burdock root is one of those items in the produce department that took me forever to use, mostly because it looks decidedly undelicious, all hairy & dirty brown, but also because I wasn't sure how I was going to fit a meter of root into my tiny refrigerator. i'm so glad i came around. scrape that scary outside layer off, and you are left with a taste and texture like no other--earthy and sweet, soft and crunchy at the same time. i won't even get started on how healthy it is; a quick google search will blow your mind. it's basically medicine.

so of course it had to go in this yummy salad. i'm such a texture fiend sometimes, and this mix--crisp veggies, chewy cellophane noodles and tofu, and crunchy sesame seeds--really did it for me. and pretty too! i love it when food is such a total experience. anyway, check it out.
100 g cellophane noodles
80 g fried tofu
(2), sliced
1 small carrot, julienned

20 cm burdock root
(3), julienned
5 cm lotus root
(4), thinly sliced
large handful green beans, in 5 cm pieces
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
juice from 1/8 lime

30 mL (adjust according to taste) soy ginger marinade

(1) 春雨, はるさめ (2) 油揚げ, あぶらあげ (3) 牛蒡, ごぼう (4) 蓮根, れんこん (5) いりごま黒

i got the lime from a.l. plaza in kosugi. everything else is from e-town in kosugi.

i was listening to
thievery corporation--abductions and reconstructions while cooking this.

let's go!

1. for both the burdock and lotus root, you have two choices: fresh or pre-cleaned and cut in a little bag. if you buy them fresh, you'll need to take a couple extra steps. for the burdock root, rinse well under cold running water while scraping a knife along the surface to remove the dirt and fibers. don't go nuts here--the peel has a lot of flavor, so leave some on. for the lotus root, remove the peel with a paring knife. for both, cut and immediately soak in 2 cups of cold water & 1 tbsp vinegar for about 5 minutes. then blanch (i'll explain this in the next step). obviously, it's easier to buy the prepared roots, but sometimes you just want to spend a little quality time with your vegetables before you eat them.2. blanch your green beans (and burdock & lotus root if necessary). the purpose of blanching is to make your veggies more tender and enhance their flavor. first, boil water (add 1 tsp salt for every 3 cups water). get a big serious rolling boil going--you don't want the boil to stop when you add your cold vegetables. throw in the green beans and let them cook for about 3 minutes (about 1 minute for burdock and lotus root). drain in a colander and immediately plunge into an ice bath. this is important. if you don't do this, your veggies will keep cooking and you will have a soggy, not as flavorful salad. keep them in the ice water for 5 minutes. 3. cook your noodles according to the package and cool down in cold running water.

4. toss everything together in a big bowl.


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