Kinpira is a traditional Japanese dish cooked in two stages. First the root vegetables are sautéed in sesame oils, then they are long-simmered in water and seasoned with ginger and soy sauce. This stick-to-the-ribs, strengthening dish is sweet and satisfying on a cold winter morning. I am grateful to my daughter for taking this lovely picture before cleaning her plate.
1 large parsnip
3-4 medium sized carrots
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
scant pinch sea salt
small piece (about 2 inches long) ginger root
Process Scrape the brown spots and tiny hairs from the surface of the parsnip and carrots.
Rinse each separately in water. Cut both carrots and parsnips in the same way: first slice them into half-inch-thick oblong ovals;
then cut the ovals into long matchsticks.
Set aside. Heat a stainless steel skillet on a medium flame for about 30 seconds. Add the sesame oil and the toasted sesame oil and allow the oils to merge and warm in the pan. Add the parsnips and use cooking chopsticks to sauté them in the oil, turning them so each side is exposed.
When the parsnips are well-turned, add the pinch of salt and the carrots to the pan, and sauté them with the parsnips. When they are well-mixed, pour water into the pan, to almost cover the root vegetables. Cover the pan and simmer on a low flame, until most of the water has been absorbed. This should take 20 to 30 minutes.
Grate the ginger using a porcelain grater.
Gather all of the shredded ginger (a small fistful)
in your palm and squeeze it over the pan, so the juice flows into the kinpira. Drizzle the soy sauce over the vegetables. Cover the pan and cook until there is no water left in the pan (about 5 to 10 minutes).
The root vegetables in this dish should be dry – they should not be swimming in any sauce at all. Serve warm on individual plates.
©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2014