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"Kinpira": A Colorful, Flavorful Veggie Side-Dish for Any Meal


The following recipe is a spin on kinpira, a popular izakaya (Japanese-style pub) dish, using two ingredients that are available just about anywhere in the world: carrot and potato. Although kinpira is commonly associated with gobō, or burdock root, it works surprisingly well with the humble potato. With a delightful texture, this is a great recipe to fall back on when you need that extra dish.

The simple side dish kinpira has become a staple on the menus of izakaya outlets around the world, just as in Japan. While kinpira is typically made with gobō, or burdock root, and carrot, here we use potato in lieu of burdock, which is not so widely available overseas.

Ingredients (serves 2–3)

  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1 potato

The vegetables ready to cook. (©

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • Green shiso, to taste (can be substituted with parsley or other herb)
  • Kinpira sauce:
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking sake)
    • 1 tbsp sake


  1. Peel the carrot and potato. Cut into julienne slices.
  2. Mix the kinpira sauce ingredients.
  3. Add sesame oil to a pan and sauté the vegetables on medium heat, taking care not to singe them.

Stir the potatoes and carrots frequently to avoid burning. (©

  1. When the vegetables are tender, add the kinpira sauce and sauté some more, allowing the liquid to evaporate.
  2. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to finish. Adjust to taste with salt. Garnish with chopped green shiso for added color.

Cooking Tips

  • The potato is best cut into thicker julienne strips, as it cooks easily.
  • If mirin is unavailable in stores near you, dissolve 1–2 tbsp of sugar in 1/2 cup white wine to create a substitute.
  • When sautéing the vegetables, stir them constantly to prevent burning.
  • For an eye-pleasing and appetizing presentation, mound the kinpira in the center of your dish.

(Originally written in Japanese with editorial assistance by Usami Rika and published on November 27, 2017. Photos by Natori Kazuhisa, except where otherwise noted.)

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