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Japanese in origin, kinpira is more of a cooking style than a recipe. First, thinly sliced root vegetables are lightly sauteed in oil, and then a glaze of soy sauce, mirin, and other optional seasonings are added. The vegetables retain their bright color and nutrients this way, and the sweet and salty seasoning is universally appealing. Served as a side dish, kinpira is a great jumping off point for a healthful meal.

One popular version of kinpira includes carrots and burdock root. I chose to substitute parsnip for the burdock, and it complimented the carrots very well. You can use any root vegetable you please with this method — it’s really hard to go wrong! I used a julienne slicer to cut my vegetables, but you can also use a chef’s knife for thicker matchstick pieces.

Carrot and Parsnip Kinpira

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1 tsp. agave syrup
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. peanut oil
1 large parsnip, peeled and julienned
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
1 tsp. black roasted sesame seeds

1. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, mirin, agave syrup, and sesame oil. Set aside.

2. Heat the peanut oil in a large (12″) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the parsnip and carrots, stir-frying for about five minutes, or until they start to wilt a bit.

3. Add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet and stir-fry for another two minutes.

4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

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