October 7

What is Yamagobo? How to Make it the Right Way

Written by: Claire

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Do you enjoy the sweet and sour taste and crunchy texture of pickled veggies? If you answered yes, you should try Yamagobo. 

Made out of burdock root, a vegetable full of antioxidants, Yamagobo offers a delicious flavor that brightens up any Japanese dish.

If you’ve never heard of Yamagobo, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to go over exactly what Yamagobo is and how it’s utilized. 

What is Yamagobo?

Yamagobo is a type of Japanese pickle. It’s made from burdock root, salt, rice vinegar, and sugar. It usually has an orange color, similar to a carrot. Yamagobo is often used in Maki sushi rolls.


What is a Yamagobo Roll?

sushi-rolls

A Yamagobo roll is a sushi roll comprised of yamagobo, rice, and nori –a type of seaweed. Other sushi rolls can have Yamagobo in addition to fish and other vegetables. Yamagobo is often mistaken for carrot in sushi rolls.


What Does Yamagobo Taste Like?

Similar to other pickled veggies, Yamagobo tastes both salty and tart with a hint of sweetness. Burdock root itself tastes bitter, sweet, and earthy. When pickled, gobo retains some of its natural sweetness and earthiness with a more tart and salty flavor.


Yamagobo Vs Gobo

burdock-root

Yamagobo is the pickled version of burdock root, while gobo is the root itself. Gobo becomes yamagobo when pickled. 


How to Make Yamagobo

Recipe Ratio:

For each pound of Gobo, use a ½ cup sugar, ½ cup rice vinegar, ½ cup water, and 1 tbsp of salt

Steps:

  1. Cut your Gobo into small, even pieces.
  2. Soak the pieces in a bowl of water with a dash of vinegar for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Boil the vinegar, sugar, water, and salt on the stove until everything is dissolved. You can add food coloring or carrot powder for the orange color.
  4. Let the mixture cool.
  5. Put the strips of Gobo in a container and pour the pickling liquid over the Gobo.
  6. Store in the fridge for 3 days before consuming.


How to Make Yamagobo Sushi Rolls

maki-rolls

If you have a bamboo mat and want to make Yamagobo maki at home, start by making sushi rice. Once the rice is done, place a piece of nori on the bamboo mat. Spread the rice over the sheet of nori, then add the strips of Yamagobo on top. Once all of the components are there, roll the sheet up into a roll and cut the log into pieces, if you choose. 

You may find that you prefer pairing the Yamagobo with other veggies or fish. If so, you can add them to your sushi roll before you roll it up. This will offer more complexity of flavor. However, if you want the Yamagobo to be the star of the show, you can skip adding the other ingredients and let the Yamagobo shine. 


Yamagobo Recipes

Yamagobo

Chokeberry Yamagobo

Japanese Pickles - 3 Ways


Yamagobo Sushi Recipes

These unique recipes are sure to get you excited about this wonderful and unique pickled vegetable!

Gobo Sushi Recipe

Krabby Makirritos

Salmon Skin Roll


Yamagobo Substitutes

jars-of-pickled-vegetables

Substitutes for Yamagobo include pickled radish, carrot, or pickled turnip. The carrot will provide the texture and look of the Yamagobo, though not the pickled flavor.

The pickled radish or turnip will offer the pickled flavor, but not the orange look. Depending on the recipe, any of these substitutes can offer the crunchy texture that Yamagobo provides.

So if you’re in a pinch and don’t mind missing out on the flavor of Yamagobo itself, don’t sweat it. Use the carrot.


What Else is Yamagobo Used For?

Yamagobo is utilized in other traditional Japanese rice and noodle dishes, however it’s most commonly seen in sushi.


Is Yamagobo Gluten Free?

Yes, Yamagobo is gluten free. Salt and sugar are gluten free naturally, and rice vinegar is not made with any grains containing gluten. Thus, as long as your vinegar is gluten free, your Yamagobo should be as well. 


Is Yamagobo Vegan?

Yamagobo can be vegan, though if you’re using standard white sugar, it is not. White sugar is refined with animal bone char, so it’s not technically vegan. Yamagobo made with organic or unrefined sugar is vegan. 


Is Yamagobo Healthy?

jars-of-pickled-foods

Yamagobo, just like anything else, is healthy as long as you don’t have excessive amounts of it. Gobo itself has properties that contribute to killing germs, increasing urine flow, and reducing fevers and inflammation, among other potential health benefits.

Yamagobo has a good amount of potassium, which helps with regulating muscle contractions. Lastly, eating fermented foods can help improve gut health, which is important for digestion and the brain-gut connection.

All in all, Yamagobo offers many health benefits, so including it in your diet is a healthy choice. 


Where Can I Buy Yamagobo?

You can buy Yamagobo online or at your local Asian or Japanese market. Search your local area for a store that offers it. Alternatively, buy burdock root and make some yamagobo at home.


Conclusion

If you’re a sushi lover, yamagobo is an ingredient to know. Its crunchy texture and complex flavor make it a wonderful addition to any dish, especially sushi. Or, if you’re a fan of pickled veggies, you can try it on its own to get the full flavor.

The main component of Yamagobo, burdock root, has many health benefits, so it’s a great choice if you want to add more flavor and nutrition to your diet. Adding the salt, sugar, and vinegar makes it that much more interesting for your palate. 

In terms of procuring the carrot-look-alike, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find. But why not try making it at home? Then you can let us know how it goes! 

Have you had Yamagobo? What do you think of it? We’d love to hear about your culinary adventures.

Claire


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About the author

Claire is a writer with a passion for all things food and travel. Based in Brooklyn, New York, she loves to explore and try all the different cuisines the city has to offer. She’s always open to try something new! When she’s not writing or sampling new restaurants, she enjoys streaming the newest TV shows, staying active, and daydreaming about her next trip by scrolling through AirBnB listings.

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