Kinpira

Kinpira is pretty much a saute in macrobiotics. It involves thinly cutting a variety of vegetables and cooking them in hot oil. The standard kinpira combination is using burdock, also known as gobo, and carrot. The resulting dish is a bit oily, crunchy, and sweet (especially if you use parsnips). So what’s not to love about that? Just don’t overdo it – kinpira has a lot of energy (the non-macrobiotic term would be lots of calories).

Below: Who remembers Fraggle Rock the TV show on HBO? I sure do! Gobo, in addition to being a root vegetable, was also the name of this character on the show, which was produced by Jim Henson. Ahhh, the 1980s.

Energetics

Since kinpira is similar to a braise technique (saute + simmer), it’s energy is grounding and steady. Kinpira is said to impart strength to the eater. Further, kinpira is made with root vegetables, which are also settling and grounding. This would be a good thing for someone with an overly yin condition since kinpira is generally yang in nature. It’s a good dish for colder weather since root vegetables are in season in cooler weather.

Below: Some actual gobo (or burdock). Unrelated and untrue side note: I am considering becoming a hand model in my spare time. 

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Below: Kinpira can be made with lotus root, the white things with the holes in them. That is NOT Swiss cheese :).

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Below: Chef Rachel Zierzow making a kinpira with carrot, sunchokes, and parsnips. She added some warming cinnamon and other spices to this dish, which was deliciously sweet although it had no sweeteners added.

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To counterbalance the grounding/inward energy of the kinpira, Chef Rachel paired it with blanched greens and millet, both of which have more yin, or rising/outward, energy. The kinpira all had sweetness because of the root vegetables and millet has sweetness, as well. Subtle sweetness is a predominant flavor in macrobiotics because of the well-cooked grains and use of sweet vegetables such as carrots and kabocha squash. However, the sweetness is not extreme as it is in Western diets.

Below: A nice macrobiotic plate of three types of kinpira, greens, and millet.

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One thought on “Kinpira

  1. I actually made kinpira for the last couple of months totally oil-free, just water-sauteed and then long simmered, it has a nice clean taste, too. But I will again make some kinpira on oil, since I added oil back 😀

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