Have you seen gobo (burdock root)? Have you cooked it? If so, did you wonder how to clean it, and cut it? In the last blog post, we introduced a recipe using the sasagaki-cut gobo. Sasagaki-cut is the most common way to cut the gobo. Today, we will introduce how to clean and sasagaki-cut it.
How to clean
The aroma of gobo is contained in the skin, so after washing off the soil, scrape the skin lightly with the back of a knife or scrub gently with a tawashi (scrubbing brush) to remove the skin lightly. If you do not scrub at all, it will have a somewhat earthy flavor, and if you remove the skin until the entire gobo is completely white, the finished gobo will have a weaker flavor.
How to sasagaki-cut
Cut off the root end of the root before sasagaki-cutting first.
To make thicker slices with a knife, grip the gobo with your left hand and place your fingers under the gobo as well. Place the gobo as if you were sharpening a pencil by placing the gobo at an incline about the thickness of your finger placed under the gobo. The thicker slices are suitable for dishes where you want the gobo to have more presence, and they also give an accent of texture: thick at the beginning and thin at the end, which cannot be achieved with the peeler's sliced gobo.
When using a knife for thin sasagaki-cutting, place the gobo on the cutting board without holding it in your hand and roll it with your left hand while sasagaki-cutting. Thinly sliced gobo is used when you do not want to add much texture to the gobo, but want to add flavor to the dish. It is often used when you want to make a dish elegant, especially at the restaurants. The left hand is placed on top of gobo and is moved up and down while rolling the gobo, while the knife in the right hand is moved quickly from side to side at a slight angle, almost parallel to the gobo. If you do this while constantly moving your left and right hands, you will get a thinly sliced gobo.
When using a peeler, it is easier to do the same as the thin sasagaki-cutting above, laying the gobo on a cutting board for peeling. Place your left hand on top of the gobo and move it up and down, rotating the gobo while your right hand holds the peeler against the gobo to peel it.
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