Category Archives: Food, Home and Health

Bamboo recipes, bamboo in the home, and bamboo in health care

Guest post: Ideas for eating bamboo shoots

A post here that talked about fermented bamboo shoots  inspired Helen, from Health Ambition to offer a guest post to Life with Bamboo. She had already written about the health benefits of fermented foods. Thanks, Helen.

bamboo shootsBamboo shoots have long been a staple of the South and Southeastern Asian diets , whether sliced in coconut milk in Indonesia, served as a pickle in India or in fish stew in the Philippines.

Whilst not traditionally used in the Western diet, we have come to know and enjoy delicious bamboo shoots through the rise of Asian restaurants and supermarkets that we are now lucky enough to have on our doorstep. But bamboo does not just have to be enjoyed as part of these Oriental cuisines! This healthy and nutritious food can be used as part of our everyday cooking routine. Here are some ways to spice up some of your favorite dishes by adding some delicious bamboo throughout the day!

Bamboo for Breakfast

With all the below ideas, if you are using fresh bamboo, prepare first by boiling to destroy the harmful toxins, if using canned, they can just be drained and used immediately.


An omelette is a great start to the day, it’s quick and easy to prepare and will provide sufficient energy to last you through till lunch. But to avoid that omelette becoming bland, add some bamboo!

Grate a bamboo shoot and mix together with some finely sliced onion, salt and heat together with butter. After 5 minutes add eggs, fold in the mixture and cook as usual. The subtle savoury flavour of the bamboo comes through remarkably well and provides a satisfying kick.

If you are worried about the cholesterol implications of the eggs, don’t! Research has shown that bamboo can reduce cholesterol!

Bamboo for Lunch

Chicken Soup

Many popular chicken soup recipes include noodles like vermicelli to give a contrast against the watery soup and soft chicken. Instead, replace these noodles with some finely sliced bamboo shoots. As the soup nears completion, add in the bamboo for the final 5 minutes and gently stir to allow to infuse into the broth.

The bamboo adds a subtle flavour combined with a gentle crunch to satisfy the mouth. Although chicken soup may be considered a homely Western meal, this dish with a little bamboo is popular throughout Vietnam called Bun Mang Ga.


fresh bamboo shoots

The inner heart of the shoots

Bamboo salad is often found in Chinese restaurants served cold as either an accompaniment or starter with a little sesame oil and coriander. But it can be used to spice up your traditional garden salads.

Prepare your favourite garden salad as normal (tomatoes, cucumber, radish etc.) using ingredients that are in season. Add sliced bamboo shoots (if you are using fresh bamboo, allow to drain and cool after boiling), and toss with a little olive oil. You will find that the textural bamboo contrasts beautifully with the soft salad ingredients, and you should be able to forego any pepper or spice as the bamboo provides that extra boost!


Traditional Roast

One of the most satisfying meals is a traditional roast with chicken, beef or pork accompanied with a selection of oven cooked vegetables. Bamboo is not usually considered a staple of this popular dish, but it adds a surprising dimension to that already fantastic meal.

Prepare fresh bamboo by boiling, draining and then slicing fairly thickly (although you can use canned bamboo, after being in water for so long they do not roast particularly well). Cook your vegetables as usual on a baking tray in the oven covered with a little oil. For the final 10 minutes add the drained bamboo.

The bamboo can replace some of the more crunchy vegetables such as swede or carrots, and gives a cheeky twist that will surprise your family!


Bamboo is not just for traditional Asian dishes! It is extremely versatile and adds a distinctive yet mild flavour and texture to many of your favourite foods. Use your imagination and try to incorporate it wherever you can. Spice up those dishes by adding some delicious bamboo!

The Nutritional Facts of Bamboo Shoots and Their Usage as Important Traditional Foods of Northeast India
Nutritional Properties of Bamboo Shoots: Potential and Prospects for Utilization as a Health Food
Advances in Studying on Physiological Activity and Curative Effect of Bamboo Derivatives

Helen Sanders is chief editor at Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.

Bamboo pegs – a review

bamboo peg

Simple as it gets

Have you ever really given much thought to those ubiquitous little helpmates, the common peg? Can’t say I have, even though I use pegs for many little clippy-kinda jobs besides hanging clothes out to dry. There are some who have given pegs a great deal of thought. Back in 2006 there was a special exhibition of nearly 300 different pegs.

Until I got my first box of bamboo clothes pegs, I never thought of pegs as a tool of beauty and charm. My first box of bamboo pegs came as a bonus with a customer loyalty programs at an organic grocer store in Townsville. I must confess to thinking of the pegs as a bit of a gimmick at first, but not anymore.

 The Mieco pegs I took home are packaged in rustic-looking recycled light cardboard packets. When new, the pegs have that delightful bamboo lustre to them.

As a lazy peg user, my preference is always to leave the pegs on the clothes line, to patiently await my next load of washing. This treatment of pegs turns the plastic ones brittle rather quickly. I tend not to buy plastic pegs. Alas, the cheap wooden pegs last only a little longer. The springs in the pegs acquire a propensity to fling half the peg into grass under the clothes line, never to be seen again.

bamboo pegs

Wooden pegs and bamboo pegs

So, imagine my surprise, when side by side with wooden pegs, the bamboo pegs I thought of as novelty, are out-pegging all forerunners. The bamboo pegs that I left on the clothes line are looking a bit weathered and mouldy, certainly. But, they are still strong. The bamboo pegs that still reside indoors, for use during inclement weather and all the other little jobs pegs are so handy for, are still looking gorgeous.

They are not cheap. They are slightly smaller than the average mass-produced wooden peg. They do look a bit mouldy after being left in the weather. Notwithstanding these minor drawbacks, I’m buying more. They last longer, they look better, and they’re made of bamboo.  eBay offers a selection of bamboo pegs. The brand I have are also available on ebay.

mini dustpan and broom with bamboo

bamboo, bamboo dustpan, bamboo brushFor some time now I’ve been looking for a dustpan and broom small enough to use and store in my Caddy van home. I was thrilled to find the perfect little set with, no less, a bamboo handle. Then I saw the price – over $30. No.

But I’m persistent.

A little more searching came up with the same product, shipped from the US to Australia for about $10 (it was on sale). Yes.

dustpanbroomApart from looking great, with its bamboo ring handle, it is a good size for me to keep in the van and it is made with recycled plastics. The brush just clips into the pan and stays there. Measuring 170 mm at the base, a tiny bit more in height, and only 45 mm wide, it can be hung up, or stood on its edge.

It’s cute and it works well. The bristles on the brush are the just the right length and thickness and the soft flexible edge on the pan helps with getting the sand/dust/dirt/whatever onto the pan. The whole unit has a quality feel to it. In summary, I love it!

Mine came from iHerb. You can use this link  to get $5 off your first iHerb order (search for Mini Brush & Dustpan). Or find one on Amazon or eBay.

Bamboo on the Internet – one more for 2015


Kokopelli silhouettes dance under a stormy sky in hopes for rain.

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, there is no sign of a wet season coming to break the drought in this part of Central Queensland. Perhaps that’s why I noticed this very handsome bamboo-handle umbrella but was a bit taken back by the $450 price tag. It’s just the sort of thing I’d leave behind in someones umbrella bin, I’m sure. There are, however, some much more reasonably priced ones on Amazon.


bamboo, bamboo toothbrushYou’ve seen bamboo toothbrushes on these pages before. This one comes from Selfridges, with a marketing strategy focused on dirty weekends???? No prices because they were out of stock when I looked. Is that an indication of popularity? Of course you will find a large range, probably much cheaper, on Amazon.

Not on Amazon but interesting all the same:

bamboo, bamboo robot

This looks really different – a bamboo robot kit. Geekdad was gifted one and tells his little story about making it.

bamboo steamerThere’s nothing new, or even exciting about bamboo steamers. Ubiquitous in the East, here is a lovely little story from Taiwan about the construction of, and demand for, bamboo steamers. Of course there are plenty on Amazon, just not of the size of the ones featured in this story.

If I still ate toast, I’d love to have one these: eco+toaster. Yes, it’s a see-through toaster with a bamboo frame.

bamboo toaster

Random recipe: Bongulo chicken, from India.

KostaLife gives us images and a recipe:


  1. Chicken skinless – 500 grm.
  2. Salt to taste.
  3. Red chilly powder -1 tsp.
  4. Turmeric powder -1/4 tsp.
  5. Ginger Paste -1tsp.
  6. Garlic paste -1tsp.
  7. Garam masala Powder-1tsp.
  8. Oil- 2 tsp
  9. Chopped onions -2 tsp
  10. Chopped chillies- 1 tsp
  11. Chicken masala powder-1 tsp

BambooChicken3Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl. Stuff in bamboo and cook over fire, according to the images. An alternative recipe can be found here, with more details about how to put the chicken mixture in the bamboo. A quick YouTube search will give more detailed instructions.


That’s probably all from me for 2015. May all life’s best be yours in 2016.


Bamboo on the Internet for April, 2015 (and May)

A very late Bamboo on the Internet, but with some very fine excuses. Really. Some of them may even be translated into posts for this blog.

  • Two more items for a bamboo WTF category: Bamboo water. Yes. Water infused with an extract from bamboo leaves. Variously described with words like, “clean, fresh, bright, energising, sweet…” the creator has chosen to add cane sugar, unfortunately. Learn more here.  The second, and more perplexing bamboo product is Gucci’s Bamboo Fragrance. Presumably named for the bamboo shaped lid, not the top notes of bergamont.
  • furnitureThe bamboo furniture seen at the left is simplicity personified. Follow the link for a gallery of 14 more images.
  • I know how handy bamboo skewers are for fixing/supporting/balancing/holding, even though I’ve never used them as skewers. This model of the Eiffel Tower used over 200 of them.
  • Bamboo fences are very popular in northern NSW, where I was earlier this year, but how about a bamboo fence 11 kilometers long? Its part of a competition to promote the use of bamboo fences in Sabah.
  • Froute PodMore gorgeous, practical, and innovative ideas from Giant Grass, in Melbourne. It may be just the thing if you want to be an airbnb host and don’t have that extra room for guests. The pod is transportable and easy to set up with only 2 people.
  • Bamboo charcoal is now a trendy go-to ingredient for cocktails, according to The Drinks Business.
  • vietnam milan expoThe Vietnam pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo features a ‘forest’ of bamboo-clad columns. More images and a story at arch daily.
  • Here is a lovely, and short, story about a Buddhist monk in Vietnam who saves rare bamboo species.
  • The Huffington Post recently published a photoblog featuring colourful bamboo and paper umbrellas.
  • pickled bambooSome food items of interest over the last two months include: a bamboo shoot and squid flavored with green leaf-bud miso dish from Asahi Shimbun; a recipe for pickled bamboo from a new book (available from Amazon) reviewed here; and, I was going to include a video called ‘bamboo cooking‘ but it turned out to be only a very poor interview to promote the bamboo water mentioned above. It’s so dreadful, it’s almost worth watching.

Bamboo on the Internet for March, 2015

bamboo prawnsBetter late than never? Bamboo on the Internet for this month is delayed by an abundance of delightful small and large adventures – none of which have anything to do with bamboo. To start, Bamboo Prawns, but not as we know it. Should you find yourself in An Nhon Town in the central province of Binh Dinh, Vietnam, you could pick up a pair for as little as US$16.

bamboo bikeNow that bamboo bikes are all the rage, the competition is fierce to gain an edge over all the other bikes on the market. Last month I wrote about a bamboo-flax composite bicycle. This month I’m bringing your attention to a bamboo-balsa composite frame with 3D printed parts. The bike has an inner layer of carbon fiber, followed by laminated layers of woven bamboo, a balsa core, another layer of woven bamboo, and finally a protective layer of resin.

Learn how to make fire with bamboo. The lesson starts at 4.45 minutes:

bamboo massageAnother must-have from Japan. Chris sent me a photo of a bamboo massage tool. It’s hollow, and he assures me it’s not as uncomfortable as it looks. (Thanks, Chris.)  Tattoos created with bamboo needles on the other hand, are painful. Read a first-hand account of a Westerner getting some traditional tattoos at Wat Bang Phra in Thailand. Interestingly, he mentions that invisible tattoos are becoming popular. Using sesame oil instead of ink, the tattoos still imbue the same protection as ink tattoos because the monks use the same process, design, mantra and powers as they do for ink tattoos.

winerackThis bamboo wine rack caught my attention for it’s sheer simplicity. But once you start looking at wine racks on Amazon, there are lots of different designs.

To finish up, here is another purely gratuitous image involving food. If you’re lucky enough to be dining out in Seoul, you’ll find the Spring Bamboo Delicacies special set at The Westin Chosun. bamboo shoots, bamboo spring

Treating Bamboo

bamboo borer beetleLast weekend Byron Bamboo and the Bamboo Society of Australia hosted a bamboo treatment workshop. Bamboo is fine strong material for construction but does need some kind of treatment to protect the timber against insect damage and infestation.

The two most common treatments are probably solutions of borax and copper sulfate. Copper sulfate can be purchased on eBay or Amazon, and borax is available on eBay. The workshop, however, focused primarily on the Indonesian product Freemite. Freemite is an organic pesticide and termite treatment. It contains neem, borax, chilli, camphor, and a number of other plant extracts. The product developer, Theirry, gave a lengthy presentation about the product and how his team use it in Bali to treat bamboo poles on a large scale. Solution left over after bamboo treatment is also used as insect spray and insecticide in the home and garden.

bamboo boucherie

Setting up for the Boucherie method

At the workshop it became clear that here in Australia the choice of borax or copper sulfate varied. Participants seemed to agree though that the simplest method of infusion was by transpiration. Little equipment is needed, just a bucket really. Freshly cut bamboo is placed upright in a bucket of the chosen solution and the natural actions of nature replace the sap with the treatment solution. Another method is the Boucherie method, where the sap in the bamboo is replaced by pressure. While not too complex, a special set up is needed.

transpiration method bambooIn Bali, the Freemite crew treat bamboo poles by submersing them in long, narrow concrete tanks filled with the Freemite solution. No experimentation seems to have been done there with the simple transpiration method. Perhaps because of the industrial scale of the operations in Bali. Some BSA members undertook to experiment with Freemite using the transpiration method. The resulting treated poles will be tested at the University of Technology, Sydney to establish how effective the transpiration method is using Freemite. Hopefully I’ll be able to share the results here in due course.