This classic Japanese side dish is tasty and nutritious.
*Burdock root is prized in Japan for its crunchy texture and earthy flavour, as well as its strong medicinal qualities. Some specialist retailers are beginning to stock it in the UK, such as organic box schemes and some branches of Wholefoods. But probably the most consistent way to find burdock roots is to simply grow them yourself. They grow very easily with next to no encouragement in most kinds of soil. Alternatively, simply use parsnips instead for this recipe, or use more carrots to replace the burdock.
*Japanese Seven Spice (Shichimi Togarashi) is a mix of nori flakes, white and black sesame seeds, sansho pepper, chilli flakes, dried tangerine peel, and hemp or poppy seeds, and is a ubiquitous flavouring added to many dishes in Japan. This dish, adapted from a traditional Japanese recipe, is a simple way to enjoy burdock during its autumn and winter season.
John & Jan Belleme are leading autorities on the healing powers of traditional Japanese foods. Before turning his focus to food and health, John was a research biologist for the Veteran's association in Miami, Florida, and he worked in laboratories at the Universities of Miami Medical School and Harvard University Medical School.
For more than twenty-five years John has applied his background in medical research to interpreting the literature on traditional Japanese medicinal foods.
In 1979, after living and studying in Japan for over a year - where the Bellemes learned the craft of miso making firsthand - they co-founded the American Miso Company, one of the world's largest producers of traditional miso.
Since the 1980s the Bellemes have researched and written, and in many cases illustrated, over 130 published articles on the subject of Japanese foods, including four books: Culinary Treasures of Japan; Cooking with Japanese Foods: A Guide to the Traditional Natural Foods of Japan; Clearspring - The Real Taste of Japan and The Miso Book.
John and Jan travel throughout the eastern United States giving lectures about authentic Japanese foods, and every winter, with partner Sandy Pukel, organise a week-long health cruise that features prominent experts in macrobiotic cooking, healthy living, holistic medicine, yoga, meditation, shiatsu, Pilates, and natural beauty aids. They live in Saluda, North Carolina.