What are bamboo shoots
The young edible shoot of the bamboo plant is a favorite seasonal vegetable among the people of Asia. Grown in several parts of Japan, China, Taiwan, and India, the tender and crisp shoot has numerous health-boosting qualities.
In Chinese: Sǔn jiān
In Japanese: Take no ko
In Korean: Juk sun
In Vietnamese: Măng
The fresh shoots comprise of multiple fibrous layers arranged in a conical pattern.
Shape: The soft and young shoots appear like a cone, resembling maize.
Size: It is 6 to 12 inches long with a diameter ranging between 1 and 6 inches.
Color: The young shoots are yellowish green with brown overlapping skin layers.
Taste: It has a mild sweet flavor similar to baby corn.
Given below is the nutritional value of 100 g of fresh bamboo shoots.
|Dietary fibre||2.2 g||5%|
|Energy||115 (27 kcal)||–|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||0.15 mg||13%|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.07 mg||6%|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.6mg||4%|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.161mg||3%|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||7 μg||2%|
|Vitamin C||4 mg||5%|
Reduces cholesterol: The low-calorie bamboo shoots are rich in dietary fibers that control the blood cholesterol levels.
Acts as an immune-booster: The presence of essential vitamins and minerals in the crispy shoots strengthens the immune system, thereby protecting the body from several illnesses.
Controls weight: The tender shoots of bamboo contain negligible amount of fats and carbohydrates, helping in maintaining a healthy weight.
Protects the heart: The phytonutrients and phytosterols in the shoots facilitate smooth flow of blood throughout the body, thus reducing the risk of heart disorders.
Prevents cancer: The antioxidants in the healthy shoots cut the risk of cancer.
Lowers blood pressure: Consumption of this potassium-containing vegetable can aid in maintaining normal blood pressure levels.
Promotes digestion: The fiber-rich shoots improve digestion by regulating bowel movements.
- In Japan, China, and Taiwan pickled bamboo shoots are eaten with regular meals.
- In Thailand, boiled shoots are used in soups, salads, stir-fries, and curries.
- Tama or fermented shoots of bamboo is a seasonal delicacy in Nepal.
- Water-soaked shoots, called Khorisa, are eaten in Assam, India, during monsoon.
- The broth of the vegetable is used to prepare delicious soups.
- In Vietnam, chopped shoots are stir-fried with other vegetables.
- Juice of bamboo shoots can be applied on external wounds for faster healing.
- A decoction of the shoot can be taken along with honey to cure respiratory disorders.
- In Ayurvedic medicine, the shoot extract is believed to cure poisoning caused by snake or scorpion bites.
- Intestinal worms can be killed by drinking the juice of the shoot
There are no side effects of these shoots. However, overconsumption of the vegetable could lead to abdominal discomfort. If the shoot causes allergy, then it must be immediately discontinued.
Consumption During pregnancy
As the shoot causes uterine contractions, it should be avoided during early pregnancy. However, in Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed to induce labor during the last month of pregnancy, when the due date is near.
How to prepare and cook bamboo shoots
The cyanogenic glycoside in the raw shoots contributes to the bitter taste, causing difficulty digesting. Prior to cooking, the fresh shoots must be thoroughly washed with cold running water.
How to cut and boil
The tip of the shoot and the roots should be trimmed off, followed by peeling of the hard, non-edible outer skin. The shoots have to be sliced vertically before boiling them in water for 20 minutes. If the bitterness persists, then add few drops of vinegar to some fresh water and boil the vegetable again. The shoots can also be pre-cooked in a microwave by placing them in an uncovered shallow pan of water for 5 minutes.
- Bamboo shoot yum
- Scalloped bamboo
- Bamboo shoots cooked with sausage and dried mushroom
- Red bamboo salad
- Caramelized jackfruit and bamboo dessert
- Bamboo shoots-stuffed pork and ginger leaf
- Sticky rice with bamboo
- Purple noodle wok-tossed with bamboo and pork
Where to buy
Canned, bottled, and refrigerated bamboo shoots are available in local markets and online stores throughout the year. The fresh ones are sold between late spring and early fall.
How to store
The fresh, unpeeled shoots should be kept in a covered glass or plastic container and stored in the refrigerator. However, do not refrigerate them beyond two weeks. If they are exposed to sunlight, a bitter taste develops. So, a cool, dry place is ideal for storing the raw vegetable. Cooked shoots can also be frozen to prevent them from getting damaged.
Sliced Jerusalem artichokes, water chestnuts, and white cabbage can be used as substitutes for the shoots.
- The raw shoots are eaten by the people of Nagaland, India.
- Japanese call bamboo shoot as the “king of forest vegetables”.
- The fibrous shoots are used to prepare health beverages in China.
- by Sean Northampton
- 9th November 2016
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