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.

Omelette

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.

Salad

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!

Dinner

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!

Conclusion

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!

Sources:
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 HealthAmbition.com. 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.

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