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Saturday, November 7, 2009

burdock pickles with sesame-sichuan peppercorn dressing

Here is another delightful Tsukemono dish that is easy to prepare and most satisfying

you will need
2 pieces burdock, cut in quarters lengthwise and then in 1 inch long pieces.
3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp sichuan peppercorns, toasted (see Note)

2 tbsp shoyu
1 tbsp mirin
2 tsp sake

When working with burdock, as soon as you cut this delightful vegetable, it starts to discolor. So have a bowl of water with a little bit of rice vinegar in it and immediately put your burdock pieces in this bowl as you cut them.
Boil the burdock pieces for 10 minutes, remove from heat, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

While the burdock is boiling, toast your seeds and sichuan peppercorns in a pan over low heat till the seeds to start to pop and give off that wonderful nutty aroma. Grind these down in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor, adding the shoyu and mirin to form a paste.

Drain the burdock and coat the pieces with the sesame mixture. Let marinade overnight before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This will keep in the fridge for several days.

Note: Sichuan peppercorns are not related to black peppercorns. They have a totally different flavor and leave a very nice tingling, numbing feeling on the lips and tongue. This is an essential ingredient in the delightful spicy cuisine of sichuan province and cannot be replaced with other kinds of peppercorns. They are easy to find at any serious spice shop and as always, only purchase high quality spices if you want your food to taste good

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