Teriyaki-Style Burdock, Carrots, and Leeks

(recipe, Peter Berley)


This sweet-salty side dish, often part of a Japanese bento box, features the earthy flavor of burdock and the nutty crunch of sesame seeds. My version gets a kick from ginger and lemon.


  1. ½ cup honey
  2. ⅓ cup soy sauce, preferably naturally brewed
  3. ⅓ cup mirin
  4. 2 tsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  5. ½ cup water
  6. 2 Tbsp. neutral vegetable oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  7. 1 lb. burdock, scrubbed and cut into matchsticks
  8. 1 large or 2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, cleaned and cut into matchsticks
  9. Sea salt or kosher salt
  10. 8 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  11. 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  12. 2 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
  13. Lemon wedges, for serving
  14. 1 bunch of watercress, tough stems discarded


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and water.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the burdock and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and cook and stir until the leeks wilt, about 2 minutes. Pour in the honey mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the carrots, cover the pan again, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
  4. Uncover the pan, raise the heat, and simmer until the juices have reduced to a glaze. Sprinkle the vegetables with the sesame seeds and scallions, and serve with lemon wedges on a bed of watercress.


Editor’s note: What’s missing from the Peter Berley recipes on Culinate are his hints on meal planning, tofu pressing, and sesame-seed toasting, as well as tasty tidbits on nori, mirin, and burdock. By all means, get your hands on his book for the full meal deal.