Saturday, February 16, 2019

How to forage and cook bamboo shoots

Nothing like freshly foraged bamboo!

I live in the Waitakere Ranges and there is quite a bit of bamboo here, mostly considered a weed, but as you know I eat quite a few weeds, and this is no exception. I have some in my driveway too, but I tend to walk down to the neighbour, who has some really big clumps of big bamboo! Or it brings it to me, since he sees when new bamboo shoots up... you have to be quick picking the shoot, once they are out of the ground they grow very quickly! The image below is the maximum length allowed.

I started cooking bamboo shoots when I was living in Japan, they were different kind, much 'fatter' but these are good too, better than buying canned bamboo! Peel off the outer green layers, then cut into slices (I also like to cut the tips into two to see the layers), and discard the hard nodes. Rinse and cook for about 20 minutes in the water left over from rinsing rice (or add a little rice bran to your cooking water, I don't have rice bran so I keep the rice rinsing water), a pinch of salt and a chili (optional, but apparently it takes away the bitterness). 20 minutes suffice for small tender shoots, but if you have longer ones just make sure that you can pierce them with a knife or leave 5 minutes longer. If not using immediately store in lightly salted water.

The tips (the best part) can be served as a side dish for a Japanese dinner, the round bits are good in stews and stir fries, but I tend to cut off and discard the nodes, which are harder (I do this before cooking the bamboo shoots if small and tender, but after when my neighbour brings me big long shoot which are quite hard to cut). 

For this stir fry I used bamboo shoots (previously cooked as above), oyster mushrooms, and carrots. Heat a little vegetable oil with a few drops of sesame oil, add a tsp of mince ginger and then the chopped vegetables. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, then add a tbsp of lemon juice and 2 tbsp of Japanese soy sauce, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 6-7 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add chopped coriander at the end (optional). Serve with rice. 

Happy weekend!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

1 comment:

  1. Dejar Alessandra,
    I'm Arantxa. I'm trying to send you an email but can't find your address. Could you get in touch with me:


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