Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are the edible shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of many bamboo species including Bambusa vulgaris and Phyllostachys edulis.
They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths. They are sold in various processed shapes, and are available in fresh, dried, and canned versions.
What Are Bamboo Shoots?
According to OrganicFacts.net, Bamboo shoots are the sprouts which spring out beside the bamboo plant. These sprouts or shoots are edible and they belong to the Bambusoideae subfamily of grass. They are the largest and tallest in the grass family. Bamboo is also known to be one of the fastest growing plants in the world. The fastest growing species of bamboo is Chinese Moso. It reportedly grows up to 100 cm per day.
JustHungry.com shares their tips on how to cook bamboo shoots:
Cooking fresh bamboo shoots
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you can get fresh bamboo shoots, here’s how to cook them.
- Select bamboo shoots that are heavy and firm, with a fresh, firm outer skin. (Only about 2 or 3 kinds of bamboo varieties produce edible shoots, and they are all quite large and come from fairly old bamboos. You could experiment with bamboo shoots from your garden, but you do so at your own risk.)
- Peel the tough outer skin off. Cut off the tough root end.
- Put in a pot with enough of the white rinsing water from when you wash rice to cover. (Alternatively you can use plain water and put in some rice bran, wrapped in a cheesecloth.) Bring to a boil, and simmer for about an hour or more, until it is tender enough to poke a skewer through. (Some books suggest putting a couple of hot chili peppers in the simmering water; this is supposed to increase its sweetness, paradoxically.)
- Let cool in the water; if you try to peel it while it’s still hot, the shoot may split.
- Any remaining outer skin should now peel off easily. You can then proceed and use the bamboo shoot in various dishes. Store in the cooking water until you’re ready to use the bamboo shoots.
Using pre-cooked vacuum packed bamboo shoots
You can get canned bamboo shoots, but I much prefer the vacuum packed kind. They are a pale shadow of freshly cooked bamboo shoots, but they haave to do. They come packed in a little water. Leave the bamboo shoots in the vacuum pack until you’re ready to use them.
Essentially they have been cooked in the manner described above, and are ready to use. You may see some white gritty stuff in the inner folds – that’s just rice residue. Rinse it out in water.
Once you’ve opened a vacuum packed bamboo shoot, try to use it up right away.
Check out recipes for bamboo shoots in our Pinterest page.
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