Bamboo shoot recipes to celebrate spring


When spring arrives, you’ll find bamboo shoots (筍; takenoko) in Japanese supermarkets. The vegetable is a staple ingredient in springtime meals, adored for its nutty crunch and nutritional value.

Most people eat bamboo shoots in the form of menma (メンマ; fermented bamboo shoot) in ramen dishes. However, there are many other ways to utilise bamboo shoots besides using it as a ramen topping. Explore other ways to cook the vegetable with these 8 bamboo shoot recipes.


1. Simmered bamboo shoots


Simmered bamboo shootsImage credit: @qo_op_ms

A classic, easy-to-make bamboo shoot dish is simmered bamboo shoots. It can be completed in 5 steps if you’re using store-bought boiled bamboo shoots. 

Yet, the result is mouth-watering – the infusion of traditional Japanese condiments, along with a coat of papery bonito flakes, elevates the bamboo shoots from plainness to flavourful wedges that’ll stimulate your taste buds.

Simmered bamboo shoot dishImage adapted from: @tomo_es.21

Moreover, this simple dish can be kept up to 14 days in the refrigerator when properly stored. This means that you can cook a big batch of simmered bamboo shoots and serve them as side dishes for the next 2 weeks. This is ideal for busy individuals without enough time to cook every day.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Boiled bamboo shoots

  • 1 unpeeled bamboo shoot, about 350g
  • 5-7 cups of rice water

Condiments and topping

  • 300ml dashi soup stock
  • 40ml mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  • 30ml dark soy sauce
  • 10g dried bonito flakes

Steps:

Boiled bamboo shoots

  1. Cut away the bamboo shoot’s pointed tip and its inedible root end. Then, peel off the hard outer layers and slice off the thin fibrous layer with a small knife. 
  2. Submerge the edible remainder in a pot of rice water and boil for about 1.5 hours. When it becomes soft enough for a wooden skewer to penetrate through, rinse and soak the bamboo shoot in water until later use.

Simmering

  1. Separate the thin and thick portions of the bamboo shoot. Cut the thicker portion into 1.5cm slices, then halve the slices. Cut the thinner portion vertically into quarters. 
  2. In the pot, add dashi stock and the bamboo shoot pieces. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then add mirin. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, then add dark soy sauce.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid once you observe that the liquid level is beginning to lower. Cook for about 15 minutes over high heat.
  4. Switch off the heat and sprinkle in dried bonito flakes. Allow the ingredients to cool for about 1 minute so that the flavours from the condiments can infuse into the bamboo shoots, before reheating the pot over low heat. 
  5. Stir continuously for 15 seconds to prevent the bonito flakes from burning. Serve immediately.

Check out the original recipe here:

筍の土佐煮/Bamboo Shoot & Dried Bonito
play button
筍の土佐煮/Bamboo Shoot & Dried Bonito

2. Bamboo shoot rice


Takenoko Rice
Image credit: @mojikanoe

During the Edo Period, bamboo shoot rice was a popular dish amongst the common folks. When bamboo shoots are added to rice, the rice gains a subtle earthy flavour, making it fragrant and delicious.

Bamboo shoot riceImage credit: @at_.cafe

Now, with the help of automatic rice cookers, the ever-popular springtime dish can be prepared effortlessly.

The following recipe is suitable for vegetarians. Feel free to modify the dish by adding additional ingredients to your liking. Popular options include squid and shiitake mushrooms.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g rice
  • 1 boiled bamboo shoot, about 250g (refer to simmered bamboo shoots recipe)
  • ½ fried tofu sheet
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • About 450ml dashi soup stock

Steps:

  1. In a rice pot, polish the rice by using your palms to swish it around in water, grinding the grains gently against the pot and each other. Drain the water and repeat the process until the water becomes mostly clear.
  2. Soak the rice for about 30-60 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, separate the bamboo shoot into thicker and thinner portions. Cut the bigger portion into half vertically, then into 5mm slices. Cut the thinner portion into half horizontally, then into 5mm slices.
  4. Dice the fried tofu sheet into 5mm cubes.
  5. Drain the water from the rice. In the rice pot, add in light soy sauce and mirin. Finally, add the dashi stock until it is double the rice level. Stir the mixture gently.
  6. Cover the rice with the fried tofu pieces and bamboo shoot slices.
  7. Cook it in the automatic rice cooker.
  8. When it’s done, mix the rice before serving.

Check out the original recipe here:

たけのこご飯の作り方☆Bamboo shoot rice☆
play button
たけのこご飯の作り方☆Bamboo shoot rice☆

3. Tsukune with bamboo shoots


Tsukune with bamboo shootImage credit: @mai3k

Tsukune are deep-fried Japanese-style chicken meatballs that are often served skewered on bamboo sticks. Adding bamboo shoots to tsukune brings a refreshing touch that contrasts against the greasiness and saltiness of the dish, while adding an extra crunchiness.

Tsukune with bamboo shoots can be served with different dipping sauces, such as sweet soy sauce and salted egg yolk sauce. You can also garnish the dish with Japanese pepper leaves for extra flair.

Makes 8

Ingredients:

Tsukune

  • 60g boiled bamboo shoot (refer to simmered bamboo shoots recipe)
  • ¼ onion
  • 300g minced chicken meat
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Salad oil

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2 tsp sugar

Steps:

  1. Chop the bamboo shoot into 5mm cubes, and the onion into 2mm cubes.
  2. In a big bowl, mix together minced chicken meat, sake, potato starch, salt, and pepper. Lastly, add the bamboo shoot and onion cubes and mix evenly.
  3. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and roll them into meatballs.
  4. Add salad oil to a frying pan and fry the meatballs over medium heat.
  5. Once one side starts browning, turn the meatballs over and cover the pan with a lid.
  6. Turn down to low heat and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce mixture by combining soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar.
  8. Once the meatballs are cooked, wipe off the excess oil in the pan with a paper towel. Then, add in the sauce mixture. Bring it to a boil for about 30 seconds and allow the meatballs to absorb the sauce. The mixture can burn easily, so do add a few tablespoons of water if it’s boiling too vigorously.
  9. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Check out the original recipe here:

たけのこ入りふっくら鶏つくね【人気料理研究家が教える!今日使える簡単レシピ】
play button
たけのこ入りふっくら鶏つくね【人気料理研究家が教える!今日使える簡単レシピ】

4. Grilled bamboo shoots


Grilled bamboo shootImage adapted from: Nest Space

The next time you’re at a BBQ party with your friends, you can opt for grilled bamboo shoots to feel less guilty about the calories you’re about to ingest. Glazed with a coat of sweet sauce, grilled bamboo shoots are flavourful yet healthy.

Plate of grilled bamboo shoots
Image adapted from: @Sayu_Seifor

This easy and flexible recipe only requires a few ingredients, and you have creative freedom over the choice of glaze.

Ingredients:

  • ½ tbsp sweet sake
  • 2 tbsp bonito stock
  • 1 tbsp Japanese soy sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 boiled bamboo shoot, about 250g (refer to simmered bamboo shoots recipe)

Steps:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, prepare the glaze by combining sweet sake, bonito stock, and soy sauce. 
  2. Cut the bamboo shoot into half vertically.
  3. Use a knife to score the bamboo shoot – make slits across the bamboo shoot to allow the glaze to seep through the ingredient.
  4. Place the bamboo shoot on a grill and brush it with the prepared glaze.
  5. Once the bamboo shoot starts to brown, turn it over and brush the other side with glaze.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until it is evenly golden brown, then serve.

Check out the original recipe here:

【たけのこを味わうレシピ2品!】#042 たけのこご飯と姿焼きの作り方 // How To Cook Bamboo Shoots Rice and Grilled Bamboo Shoots
play button
【たけのこを味わうレシピ2品!】#042 たけのこご飯と姿焼きの作り方 // How To Cook Bamboo Shoots Rice and Grilled Bamboo Shoots

5. Bamboo shoot and pork stir-fry


Stir-fry bamboo shoots with porkImage adapted from: @momu_1001

Bamboo shoot and pork stir-fry is adapted from Chinese cuisine. It is a dish of balance – the sweetness and lightness of the bamboo shoots offsets the saltiness and greasiness of the pork.

There aren’t many techniques involved in this dish. All you need to do is toss the ingredients in a frying pan.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 boiled bamboo shoot, about 250g (refer to simmered bamboo shoot recipe)
  • 200ml sake
  • 250g thick pork belly strips
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp Japanese soy sauce or light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp potato starch solution (ratio of water to starch is 2:1)

Steps:

  1. Cut the bamboo shoot vertically into half, then into 5mm slices.
  2. In the frying pan, bring the sake to a boil for about 1 minute.
  3. Once you smell the sake fragrance wafting from the pan, add in the pork belly strips, followed by sugar, bamboo shoot slices, and finally soy sauce.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 5-10 minutes over low heat. At the halfway mark, lift the lid to mix the ingredients so that the flavours can combine evenly. You should only do this once so that the pan doesn’t lose too much heat.
  5. Add the dissolved potato starch and mix well. Serve.

Check out the original recipe here:

【タケノコと豚バラの甘辛炒め】タケノコの一番美味しい食べ方
play button
【タケノコと豚バラの甘辛炒め】タケノコの一番美味しい食べ方

6. Bamboo shoot spring roll


Plate of bamboo shoot spring rollsImage credit: @verybpcc1130

Inspired by Chinese spring rolls, these bite-sized bamboo shoot spring rolls make for a good side dish or teatime snack. The spring rolls boast several textures as you bite into them – the crispiness of the outer layer, the chewiness of cellophane noodles, and the crunchiness of the bamboo shoots.

Takenoko spring rollsImage adapted from: Alphar’s Movie

Feel free to add other ingredients to the following recipe to enrich your spring rolls. Some suggestions include carrots and fried tofu pieces. You may also swop out pork for chicken.

Makes 10

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 3-7 stalks of garlic chives
  • 100g shabu-shabu pork slices
  • 35g cellophane noodles
  • 140g boiled bamboo shoots (refer to simmered bamboo shoots recipe)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tsp potato starch
  • 1 tbsp Japanese soy sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • A pinch of salt

Spring roll

  • 10 spring roll wraps
  • 1 tsp cake flour
  • 1 tbsp mustard (optional)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar soy sauce (optional)

Steps:

Filling

  1. Chop the garlic chives into 5mm pieces.
  2. Cut the pork into 1cm slices.
  3. Boil the cellophane noodles and clip them into 3-inch pieces. The distance between the tip of your thumb and the top knuckle is roughly 1 inch, so you can use that as a reference.
  4. Cut the bamboo shoot into 3cm long and 1cm wide strips.
  5. Puree the garlic and ginger.
  6. In a big bowl, add the pork slices and sake. Massage the pork slices into the sake.
  7. Add garlic chives, cellophane noodles, bamboo shoots, garlic, ginger, potato starch, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt into the big bowl. Mix the ingredients well and separate into 10 even portions.

Making the spring roll

  1. Place the filling closer to the top corner of the spring roll wrap. Bring the top corner down and roll up the filling. Then, fold in the other 2 side corners to the centre.
  2. Wet your fingertips and dab it with a little bit of cake flour. Spread the moist cake flour along the edges of the final corner of the spring roll wrap. This is to ensure that the spring roll can be sealed up.
  3.  Continue rolling the wrap until you form a spring roll.
  4.  In a pot, heat up the oil to 180°C. Deep fry the spring rolls until golden brown.
  5.  Serve with mustard or vinegar soy sauce if desired.

Check out the original recipe here:

筍と春雨の春巻き
play button
筍と春雨の春巻き

7. Deep-fried bamboo shoots


Deep-fried bamboo shootsImage credit: @askayoppy

With a few simple steps, you can make deep-fried bamboo shoots at home. It’s crunchy, moreish, and more nutritious compared to plain ol’ french fries.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 250g boiled bamboo shoot (refer to simmered bamboo shoots recipe)
  • ½ cup karaage flour or potato starch
  • Oil

Steps:

  1. Cut the bamboo shoots into bite-sized wedges, about 3cm wide and 7cm long.
  2. Place the bamboo shoot pieces into a ziplock bag.
  3. Add in ½ cup of karaage flour or potato starch and shake the bag. Ensure that all the bamboo shoot pieces are coated evenly. Add in more flour or starch if needed.
  4. Heat up a pot of oil to 180°C. Carefully place the coated bamboo shoots in the pot and deep-fry until golden brown.
  5. Place them in a bowl lined with kitchen paper to soak up excess oil. Serve.

Check out the original recipe here:

これは簡単!タケノコの唐揚げ。猫の食欲まで誘ってしまう一品。
play button
これは簡単!タケノコの唐揚げ。猫の食欲まで誘ってしまう一品。

 

Bonus: You can sprinkle sesame seeds over the bamboo shoots to add a nutty flavour.


8. Bamboo shoot soup


Bamboo shoot soup
Image adapted from: @achilles.ken.5

Nothing beats having a bowl of bamboo shoot soup during a greasy meal. The light soup cuts through any greasiness and refreshes your taste buds.

The light soup also offers maximum extraction of the vegetable’s health benefits, making it an ideal soup for people intending to lose weight or lower their cholesterol levels.

Bamboo shoot mealImage credit: @moonsnow_cook

This recipe is almost impossible to fail as all it takes is boiling ingredients in a pot of water. You can complete a full course bamboo shoot meal with this soup recipe, along with the other bamboo shoot recipes above.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 160g boiled bamboo shoot (refer to simmered bamboo shoots recipe)
  • 800ml dashi soup stock
  • A dash of Japanese soy sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried wakame seaweed
  • 4 Japanese pepper leaf clusters

Steps: 

  1. Cut the bamboo shoot into 5mm slices.
  2. Combine dashi stock, a dash of Japanese or light soy sauce, salt, and bamboo shoot slices into the pot. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Then, turn it down to low heat and add dried wakame into the pot for rehydration. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Serve the soup in serving bowls. In each serving bowl, add a Japanese pepper leaf cluster.

Check out the original recipe here.


Spring into action with these bamboo shoot recipes


Spring is the season of awakening, and bamboo shoots pack a unique crunch and an earthly flavour that will awaken your taste buds. Bring the spring to your meals with these bamboo shoot recipes.

For more recipes, check out:


Cover image adapted from: @mojikanoe and @rucifer0914

Follow The Smart Local Japan on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram for more stories like this.