A simple bamboo shoot recipe- braised bamboo shoots with soy sauce and sugar. This is just the season for bamboo shoots. Bamboo shoot is a magic ingredient that can be used in soups, stir-fries, stews, hot pots, salads, and pickles. You can't imagine how popular it is in China.
What are Bamboo shoots
Bamboo shoots, also known as bamboo sprouts, are the newly emerging and edible culms of bamboo plants, which are a type of glass. These young shoots are a popular ingredient in many Asian dishes, as they have a unique tender-crisp texture and a delicate flavor that pairs well with spices and other ingredients. Bamboo shoots are low in calories and carbohydrates but high in fiber, making them a healthy addition to any meal. They also contain various minerals and vitamins, including potassium, calcium, and vitamin B6.
Last weekend, Elaine visited my grandma for a birthday celebration. Guess what? We enjoyed a bamboo shoot celebration and I took lots of fresh bamboo shoots home. culms of bamboo plants. These young shoots are a popular ingredient in many Asian dishes, as they have a unique tender-crisp texture and a delicate flavor that pairs well with spices and other ingredients.
When to harvest bamboo shoots
Bamboo shoots are usually harvested when they are still young and tender before they have a chance to develop a hard outer layer. The harvesting season for bamboo shoots depends on the location and climate and may differ from February to May. In general, bamboo shoots can be harvested in the late winter or early spring, just as the new shoots are starting to emerge from the ground. So we have winter bamboo shoots (冬笋) and spring bamboo shoots.
Where to buy bamboo shoots
You can buy bamboo shoots at many grocery stores, Asian markets, or online food retailers. If you have a local Asian market or specialty food store, they may carry fresh or canned bamboo shoots in the produce section or canned goods aisle.
- Fresh bamboo shoots are typically available in the spring when they are in season, usually already blanched and packaged with water.
- Canned bamboo shoots are available year-round and can be found in the canned goods section of most grocery stores or online retailers.
- Dried bamboo shoots (笋干) are preserved bamboo shoot that has been dried and packaged for later use. They are made from fresh bamboo shoots that have been boiled or blanched, sliced or chopped, and then sun-dried or air-dried until they are completely dehydrated. Dried bamboo shoots can be used in soups and even salad after being rehydrated.
Is bamboo shoots healthy?
Yes, bamboo shoots are not only delicious but also healthy food in general. Bamboo shoots are low in calories and fat, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and have antioxidant properties that can help protect against chronic diseases. They may also have anti-inflammatory effects and help with digestion. However, they contain small amounts of cyanide, which is not a concern with moderate consumption of properly cooked bamboo shoots.
What does bamboo shoot taste like
Fresh bamboo shoots have a delicate flavor that is mildly sweet with a subtle earthy and nutty taste. The taste can be described as a combination of mild asparagus, and water chestnuts.
Cooked bamboo shoot can absorb the flavors from the sauce and partnered ingredients.
How to prepare fresh bamboo shoots for cooking
The fresh bamboo shoot usually has a bitter taste. Some are quite faint while others might be quite strong. If you can find fresh bamboo shoots, you need to follow the steps and make sure they are prepared appropriately.
Peel: remove the outer leaves or sheaths of the bamboo shoot using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler if the peels are still attached. You may need to remove several layers to reach the tender, edible core, then cut off the tough spots.
Clean: rinse the bamboo shoot thoroughly under running water, making sure to remove any dirt or debris.
Blanch: we blanch the bamboo shoot in boiling water for a while (based on how large the bamboo shoot are) until they become soft.
Soak: soak them in clean water for 2 to 4 hours. Change the water twice or three times. Then you can taste it and see whether the bitter taste is removed.
The packaged bamboo shoot sold on the market is pre-cooked and can be used directly. You can encounter bamboo shoots with a faint bitter taste and do not require such a long soaking time.
How to cook with bamboo shoots
There are lots of ways of cooking bamboo shoots including in soups, salads, braised dishes, and stir-frying. Following are some of the ideas.
- Stir-frying: Cut bamboo shoots into thin slices or small pieces and stir-fry them with other vegetables, meats, and sauces for a quick and easy meal. My favorite method is to stir fry with pork belly.
- Soup: you can use bamboo shoots in chicken soup.
- Grilling: Marinate sliced bamboo shoots in your favorite marinade and grill them over high heat for a smoky, charred flavor.
- Pickling: pickled bamboo shoots are called sour bamboo shoots or 酸笋. It can be quickly pickled with vinegar and salt or finished in a Sichuan pickled jar.
- Stuffing in dumpling filling: Chopping the bamboo shoots and mixing them in dumpling filling can give your dumpling filling a crunchy texture.
My grandma loves to add some to her pickling jar. I love to cook a pot of healthy chicken soup. My husband loves salad and frying with pork belly. Almost everyone loves bamboo shoots in my family. By the way, I suggest you cook bamboo shoots with red braised pork belly. That's will be killing.
Cook's Note for braised bamboo shoots
- The key ingredient to make the bamboo shoots delicious is to use lard or other animal fat. You can learn how to render lard at home. If lard is not a common ingredient in chicken. Chicken fat is a great choice too. Get a small piece of chicken fat and heat over a slow fire until the oil comes out. Animal fat can soften the texture and make the bamboo shoots softer.
- Watch carefully during the simmering process. Check from time to time to avoid burn.
💭In other seasons, bamboo shoots are sold packaged in water or dried bamboo shoots. Dried Bamboo shoot is a great ingredient for soups and you can use packaged bamboo shoots or canned bamboo shoots as a substitute for fresh bamboo shoots in this recipe.
Braised Bamboo Shoots
- 250 g bamboo shoot , pre-treated with boiling and soaking or you can use packaged ones.
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce (1.5 tbsp. light soy sauce + 0.5 tbsp. dark soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp. rock sugar
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- How to prepare fresh bamboo shoot for cooking
Cut the bamboo shoot into smaller pieces.Bring a large pot of water to a boiling and then place the bamboo shoots in.Cook for 4-5 minutes (or 7-8 minutes for larger pieces). Transfer out and then soak in clean water for at least 10 hours. Change the water twice during this soaking process. This helps to remove the bitter taste (possibly contained in fresh bamboo shoots ) of the fresh bamboo shoots.
- Heat oil over fire with high fire and then place bamboo shoot in, fry for 1 minute until slightly softened.
- Add soy sauce and sugar. Cover the lid and slow down the fire and simmer for another 4 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for a while until the sauce are almost attached to the bamboo shoots.