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Takenoko (Bamboo Shoot)

Takenoko (Bamboo Shoot)


Spring is bamboo shoot season. Even though many fruit and vegetables are grown in green houses or cultivated in the Southern Hemisphere to supply all year round demand, I still see fresh bamboo shoots only in spring.

Asians including Japanese consider bamboo shoots as spring delight. In order to eat, the strong bitter taste must be removed first. The bitterness start to be formed as soon as bamboo shoots are picked. Unless otherwise you pick bamboo shoots in a bamboo forest and eat on the site, they need preparation.

I buy bamboo shoots at a Chinese grocery store. One of the point to choose fresh bamboo shoots is to look at the roots. Fresher ones don’t have red spots around the bumpy surface. Unfortunately, most of the grocers intentionally cut off the roots off, so that all bamboo shoots on the stores look fresh.

If you can’t see the roots of bamboo shoots, choose the one with fresher looking outer layers and heavy in hands. As soon as you bring them home, prepare them to stop getting even bitterer.

How to Prepare Fresh Bamboo Shoot (See Video Above)

It’s not difficult, but the people who don’t have time for a lengthy preparation can look for boiled and vacuum packed bamboo shoots at Asian grocery stores. They are readily available throughout the year.

  1. Cut off 1/5 of the tip diagonally.
  2. Score the layers.
  3. Add bamboo shoots, 1 cup rice bran, and a few dried red peppers in a large pot.
  4. Fill the pot with water to cover the bamboo shoots completely.
  5. Boil for 2~3 hours.
  6. Use a otoshibuta (drop lid) to submerge the bamboo shoots in water.
  7. Add water in the middle if water level drops.
  8. Test doneness using a skewer.
  9. Cool it down completely in the water.
  10. Remove the layers and cut the tough parts off.
  11. Prepared bamboo shoots can keep in water for 3 days.
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