Since there were extra Japanese yams left over after we made yaki-imo 焼き芋, I decided to make something different with them. There is a classic candied Japanese yam called "Daigaku-imo" 大学芋 which is deep fried yam coated with a layer of candy (or melted sugar). I decided that is not something I would like to cook or eat. So, instead, I decided to make this dish which I saw the recipe on line, especially since I also had half a burdock root left over. I substantially changed the way this was cooked. I thought it would be difficult to cook the vegetable through just sautéing it as suggested in the on-line recipe.
I garnished it with white sesame. The spicy and sweet sauce clings to the surface.
One Japanese "satsuma-imo" Japanese yam (#1), washed skin left on, cut into irregular bite sized pieces.
Half a gobo burdock root, skin scraped off and cut into bite sized pieces (cut on the bias as I turned it 45 degrees. This method is called "Ran-giri" 乱切り.
Garlic and ginger, skin removed and finely copped, the amount is to your liking.
Potato starch for dredging the vegetables.
Oil for deep frying.
For the sauce: 1 tbs Sriracha (or more if you like spicy), 1 tbs soy sauce, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp sake
1. Soak the gobo in water with a splash of vinegar for 20-30 minutes, drain and wash.
2. Cook the gobo in water for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
2. Soak the yam in water for 20-30 minutes and pad dry.
3. Dredge the gobo and yam in potato starch and deep fry for 5-8 minutes until the yam is cooked (#3),
4. Add 2 tbs of water to the pan and then add the sauce mixture.
5. Keep tossing the vegetables until, a thick sauce develops and coats the vegetables (#4).
The original recipe said to sauté all the vegetables dredged in potato starch. Gobo is rather hard, however, so I didn't think it would get cooked through if I just sauteed it, so I decided to precook it in water. In addition, instead of sautéing the vegetables in a small amount of oil, I deep fried them. I did not think just sautéing would work well especially if the vegetables are coated in potato starch, I also thought the yam would not cook easily that way. By deep frying, the potato starch made a nice crust (We enjoyed snacking on the deep dried yam which was very good as is.) I added the sauce mixture and the crust added to the nice clinging sauce.
When we tasted it immediately after it was cooked and still hot (temperature wise), it was spicy but once cooled down it became much milder. This dish has a very good texture contrast between the yam and gobo. The salty, sweet and spicy combination of flavors really worked well. Although we had this as a drinking snack, this is perfect starch side dish.