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Bamboo shoots are the edible shoots of the bamboo plant and are usually harvested before they are two weeks old. The shoots have a tough exterior and a tender interior with a faintly sweet flavour. It is important to peel the bamboo shoots before using since they have a bitter taste and are difficult to digest.
Bamboo shoots may be huge and thick and in many cuisines, it if first boiled in water till cooked and then sliced. These sliced bamboo shoots are further used in recipes as required. Alternatively, peel, thinly slice the bamboo shoot and soak in water for 3 days. Keep draining and replenishing with fresh water every day. This way toxins present in bamboo shoots get washed away.
Bamboo shoots are available fresh as well as canned. However, do note that fresh shoots have a better texture and flavour than canned shoots.
How to select
Bamboo shoots can be purchased sliced- fresh or canned. If purchasing canned, ensure that the cans are not puffed. Check the brand, manufacturing and expiry date before purchasing. Do note that canned bamboo shoots are parboiled.
· It is widely used in Oriental cooking, specifically in Indonesian,Vietnamese and Thai cuisines. In Indonesia, bamboo shoots are thinly sliced and then cooked with vegetables, spices and coconut milk or just in coconut milk. In Vietnamese cuisine, bamboo shoots are thinly shredded and use in stir fry recipes.
· Pickled bamboo shoots are used as a condiment in gravies, stews etc.
· In India, it is used widely in curries, pickles etc. The main regions consuming bamboo shoots are Karnataka, Assam, Jharkhand etc.
· Chinese cuisine uses them in dumplings, soups, salads, noodles and gravies.
· Serve sliced and cooked bamboo shoots as an vegetable accompaniment with butter and soya sauce.
How to store
Fresh bamboo shoots can be stored for up to a week under refrigerated conditions. Ensure that you place the bamboo shoots in water and keep changing the water daily. Keep away from sunlight. Canned bamboo shoots, if opened and unused, should be transferred to a bowl containing water. Change the water daily but use within 4 days.
· It is low in fat and low in calories
· It is a good source of fiber which helps keep a check on cholesterol levels and chronic constipation.
· Being a good source of potassium, it can aid in maintaining normal blood pressure and a steady heart beat.
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