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Maille failed to find kidnapped Professor Koslow in Korea. However, in a restaurant in Gwangju, he discovered an edible burdock that he liked for its warm and earthy aroma.

Burdock «Hangari»

Stir fried and braised in soy sauce

The most important aspect of Korean cuisine is that a meal is usually accompanied by myriad side dishes: candied lotus roots, marinated black beans, spicy sardines, gherkins with sesame, pickled garlic and, of course, kimchi. Among the numerous local delicacies that Secret Agent Hektor Maille relished at restaurant «Hangari» in Gwangju, at the very beginning of his research into Korean food culture, is edible burdock, braised in soy sauce.

This root vegetable can be peeled like asparagus before use, but it holds more flavour when its skin is not peeled off. Burdock «Hangari» is a simple preparation that retains the distinctive earthy, spicy aroma of the vegetable. The pieces of burs root retain their bite even after a long period of braising.

Ingredients (for 2 or 4 persons)

1 edible burdock-root of about 1 m (300 g)

1 or 2 tablesoons rape seed oil

2 tablesoons soy sauce

2 tablesoons rice vine (a Korean brand if available, otherwise Shào Xīng)

1 teaspoons sugar

1 or 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, freshly roasted if possible

poss. some sesame oil


  1. Scrape the burdock root (if necessary) with a knife unless clean – or use a brush.
  2. Cut in sticks of about 5 cm and put in a bowl with water (as the cut surface gets brown very quickly).
  3. Warm oil and stir fry the drained burdock for 5 or 10 minutes – with care, the pieces soak up the oil they might get burned very quickly.
  4. Ad soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and 2 tablespoons water, braise for another 5 to 10 minutes on low flame.
  5. Ad the roasted sesame seeds and maybe some drops of sesam oil. Serve warm or cold.

Burdock «Hangari» (in foreground near the glass), along with other Korean side dishes on a customised table in Paris (HOIO's menu-test for Episode 6 of «Mission Kaki» on November 20, 2009).

More about the travel adventure of Secret Agent Hektor Maille:

While Hektor Maille sat absorbed in the spicy aromas of these culinary preparations, he pondered the meaning of the Solomon's Seal that had appeared before him all of a sudden:

First Publication: 1-12-2009

Modifications: 25-1-2011, 18-6-2011, 14-11-2011, 13-12-2011