This post may contain affiliate links.
Please read my disclosure policy.
Yamagobo is Japanese pickled burdock root marinated in rice vinegar, sugar and salt mixture. It’s tangy, sweet, and refreshingly crunchy with a bright orange color. Homemade Yamagobo is incredibly easy to make, and great as an accompaniment to sushi rolls or rice meals.
What is Yamagobo?
Yamagobo is a popular Japanese pickle made from burdock root brined in rice vinegar, sugar and salt mixture. It’s often served uncooked alongside other types of tsukemono such as oshinko.
Yamagobo looks a lot like thin baby carrots, but the natural color of gobo (burdock root) is white. Usually orange food coloring or carrot powder is used to give Yamagobo a bright orange color. It can be used in sushi rolls or served as a side dish or snack.
What does Yamagobo taste like?
It’s sweet, tart, and slightly salty, with a really nice and crunchy texture. Yamagobo makes a delicious addition to sushi rolls, rice and noodle meals.
How to cut gobo?
When making Yamagobo, first you’ll need to peel the skin unless you have some really small, young and fresh gobo. I like to cut them into 4-inch segments and then cut each piece into evenly-sized matchsticks.
Pro tip: Soak the gobo root pieces in a bowl of water with a little bit of vinegar for about 15 minutes. This will prevent them from turning brown and remove any astringent taste.
How to make Yamagobo (pickled gobo)
Yama gobo is very easy to make at home, and all you need is a few simple ingredients:
- Gobo (burdock root), cut into matchsticks
- rice vinegar
- Food coloring or carrot powder: This will give your Yamagobo the traditional orange color. You can skip it and it won’t affect the taste.
Simply add rice vinegar, sugar, salt, water and food coloring to a saucepan, then heat until the sugar and salt are completely melted. Let the mixture cool down. In the meantime, add the cut gobo sticks into a container or mason jar. Then add the marinade and cover with the lid. Place it in the refrigerator. It’s ready after 3 days, but you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Where can I buy yamagobo?
You can find yamagobo at local Japanese supermarkets, or order it online from Amazon. But I highly recommend making it at home by yourself, as the homemade version tastes much better.
Yamagobo for sushi rolls
Yamagobo is often used in Maki sushi rolls to add extra flavor and crunchy texture. You can use it as a standalone ingredient, but more often it’s paired with other ingredients to make Futomaki.
You’ll need a sushi rolling mat to make the sushi for the best-looking rolls.
Other ways to use Yamagobo
Besides sushi rolls, Yamagobo is also used to accompany rice, noodles as a side dish, or added to miso soup, stir-fried dishes or salad.
Is Yamagobo vegan?
Yes, it’s vegan and great for making vegan or vegetarian sushi rolls. It’s also one of the popular ingredients to replace salmon or tuna in the sushi.
Is Yamagobo good for you?
In short, the answer is yes. Gobo or burdock root has many health benefits:
- Protects the body from cell damage due to free radicals and reduce inflammation.
- Improves health conditions by removing toxins from bloodstream.
- Inhibits some types of cancer.
You can also cook fresh gobo in Japanese dishes like kinpira.
Yamagobo (Japanese Pickled Burdock Root)
- 1 pound gobo burdock root
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon carrot powder (optional) or orange food coloring (you can skip this ingredient and your yamagobo will have a light brown color)
- Peel the gobo and then cut it into evenly-sized matchsticks. Then immediately place the cut pieces in a bowl of water with a little bit of vinegar for about 15 minutes. This will prevent them from turning brown and remove any astringent taste.
- Place the salt, sugar, vinegar, water and food coloring (or carrot powder) in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Continue stirring the pickling mixture until all the salt and sugar have dissolved. Set aside to cool down.
- Place the cut gobo strips in a sterilized, airtight storage container or mason jar.
- Pour in the pickling liquid, and ensure all surfaces of the gobo are covered.
- Seal with the lid and store the contain in the refrigerator.
- Let it marinate for at least 3 days for the flavors to develop. (It can last for up to 1 month in the fridge)
- Use the pickled Yamagobo in sushi rolls or serve with a bowl of rice or noodles.
- This recipe makes enough yamagobo strips and marinade that fit into one 16-oz mason jar.