Bamboo shoots also known as “the king of forest vegetables “also called bamboo sprouts are edible shoots of the bamboo species. They are crisp, tender, and comparable to asparagus and with a flavor very close to corn. Bamboo shoots have been used in Asian cuisine for a long time in soups, salads, stir fry dishes, and more. However fresh bamboo shoots are a seasonal delicacy but in several countries like America and a few others freshly frozen shoots are imported from places like China, Taiwan, and Thailand, however, the canned and tinned varieties are available all year round at supermarkets and food stores across India as well.
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The bamboo plant is a member of the grass family and after about 3-4 years of implantation these shoots arise from beneath the existing ones and that’s how they grow and develop. They are then picked, cleaned, checked for quality, and graded and processed further or sold fresh. Cooking bamboo shoots requires that they are well cooked or boil them/blanch them partially if being used fresh or else opening a tin/can of bamboo shoots is ready to use without much to do.
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Bamboo shoots apparently are not very popular when we talk of Indian cuisine or our regular recipes with masala blends and gravies/curries etc however this ingredient has seen a limited acceptance on our menus with a very limited choice of guests/foodies who like to indulge in it. To many, it is yet not much known or the familiarity process has not yet been done too well.
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My very own experience with bamboo shoots dates back around fifteen years ago when I first had it in a Chinese stir fry recipe with hot garlic and pepper sauce. The first impression in the cooked and well-presented form was a wow but upon finding out more about it and actually doing it from scratch was a completely different mild and distinctive taste, flavor melange which led to a positive output-driven experiment series with a lot of scope for innovation and creativity attached.
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Let us have a look at a few Health Benefits of Bamboo Shoots:
- Bamboo shoots have been regarded as a great ingredient for immunity boosting, they have a considerable amount of vitamins and minerals to benefit.
- Bamboo shoots are also good for those who want to go on a weight loss program and diet and it works well too.
- Bamboo shoots are very low in fats and calories therefore they are recommended for a lot many healthy recipes and they also make us feel full after consumption.
- Bamboo shoots have a high content of protein which is essentially required by us on day to day basis and this is one of the ways we can have a variety as well.
- Bamboo shoots are also good for digestion in our body and they also help in healthy and regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
- Bamboo shoots are also low in sugar content and hence make it a good choice for many to have it including those who may be on the border line of diabetes, besides they also help reduce dissolve the harmful LDL cholesterol in our body.
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Here are a few ideas on how to use Bamboo Shoots [tinned or canned] in Cooking and Baking:
- Adding sliced or diced bamboo sheets to a nice piping hot clear soup or broth works well during rainy season as well. Add your favorite colorful veggies or boiled chicken cubes along as well to the bowl of goodness.
- Bamboo shoots go well in salads, they can be dressed with a combination of saute mushrooms, blanched baby corn, cooked yellow or green zucchini, can also use boiled pasta like macaroni, penne etc. for dressings we can choose from olive oil with mustard/lemon- herbs or with a light mayo-mint dressing, for low-cal use green yogurt or hung curd with date and nut basil pesto.
- I also like adding bamboo shoots to my stuffing’s and fillings for several dishes be it indian style malai koftas- stuff the koftas with small dices of bamboo shoots with a little grated paneer/cheese and some chat masala.
- A stuffing for a paratha as well works well with bamboo shoots I prefer it with a little cooked soy keema and green peas combination in my whole-wheat double layered paratha option.
- Bamboo shoots are good to add to a wok toss recipe with a selection to go with prawns/shrimps/ shredded chicken/ lamb etc as well, cook it with a little ginger-garlic, onions, sliced chilies, some soy-chili/ garlic-pepper sauce/schezuan sauce etc.
- Adding bamboo shoots to fried rice/ stir fried hakka noodles or into a white/red or pink pasta recipe does a good job and a combination as well adding value and nutrition as well side by side. Do not cook it too much though since the canned one is a little delicate at times.
- Bamboo shoot- walnut and mushroom pate – a twist to the classic chicken or goose liver pate is an ideal option to pipe out with a little cream cheese added onto savoury crackers or offering it as a dip as well with chips.
- Bamboo shoot curry- Thai style with a combination of shitake mushrooms, boneless fish cubes, lemon grass, galangal, basil and choice of red, green or yellow curry paste and laced with nice thick coconut milk served with steaming hot jasmine rice is a heavenly meal.
- Snacking ideas with bamboo shoots adding it as a stuffing into tikkis/cutlets, spring rolls, wantons, fillings for sandwiches, wraps and rolls etc.
Here are a few Simple- Easy Recipes with Bamboo Shoots:
Recipe-1] CURRIED BAMBOO SHOOT SOUP
Recipe-2] ASIAN STYLE BAMBOO SHOOT POT
Recipe-3] WARM BAMBOO SHOOT SALAD
Recipe-4] SHRIMP AND BAMBOO SHOOT PILAF
Recipe- 5] SPROUTS AND SHOOTS STIR FRIED NOODLES
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.