It has been a while since I last made a soup with Burdock Root, 牛蒡 (also called Gobo or just Burdock). While this root is literally the foundation for a common weed that some find pesky, burdock root is known in several Asian food cultures to have cancer fighting abilities and health benefits. Europeans have also used this root for centuries in drinks and in hair conditioning home remedies. You may also find it interesting that this root is actually a cousin to the artichoke plant which studies have shown strengthens the liver and reduces cholesterol, according to a 1998 Stanford University Pharmacology Magazine Publication.
So what awakened me to make a burdock root soup? Well, I do like burdock roots as a vegetable, especially as a crunchy pickled gobo ingredient in Japanese sushi! But to gain the most out of the health benefits this burdock root can offer, I like to use them in a Chinese soup. And my parents did just that over the weekend when I visited them. They taught me another one of their burdock soup recipes. The soup tasted great and it felt so warm and nourishing in my stomach after drinking my first bowl. (Thank you Mom and Dad for all these years of your wholesome soups!)
After getting back home, I decided to (dare I say) modify the traditional recipe a tiny bit. Although the original all-vegetarian recipe was delicious, I opted to add some lean pork for an extra bit of flavor and omitted another ingredient which I frankly ran out of at home. Despite adding the meat to this otherwise-vegetarian soup recipe, my total bill for this soup that serves 8 was still under $6.50. A great family soup in my low-budget soup category that is packed with fiber, and healthy nutrients. You can also add some brown rice to a bowl of this soup to make it a full meal – not the proper traditional way of serving this soup of course. But it does work as a complete meal with meat, vegetables, and rice if you are in a hurry.
And here you have it below, a slightly modified Burdock Root Daikon Carrot Pork Soup (牛蒡蘿蔔瘦肉湯). See below for the recipe.
Ingredients for this Burdock Root Daikon Carrot Pork Soup:
Here are all of my vegetables peeled and cut up nicely for the soup. Yes, I like making pretty carrot flowers out of my vegetables! =) And notice that even the leaves at the top of a daikon are also used in the recipe.
- Cut the pork to ¼ inch thin slices. Boil a small pot of water to blanch the meat. Set aside meat when done.
- Boil 10 cups of water in a larger soup pot. When ready, add the ginger and blanched pork. Cover and cook on high heat until it boils. Then turn the heat to Low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash, peel, and cut all vegetables to ½ inch thick slices.
- After cooking the meat for 30 minutes, add all ingredients, except for the salt, to the soup pot. Cook on high heat until it boils. Then turn the heat to Low again and simmer for 1 hour.
- When done, sprinkle in the salt as desired to season. Serve while hot.
Reference: Stanford University Pharmacology Publication – burdock root