Saturday, April 28, 2007

Takenoko (Bamboo Shoots) from My Boss

Takenoko Gohan Bento

One good thing about working in a small office in a rural town is that you often get rewarded with fresh seafood, fruits or vegetables for your hard work. Well, actually the quality of your work does not really matter. It’s just a temporary food surplus. Almost everyone around you has at least a farmer or a fisherman in his/her relatives, and you often find yourself involved in an endless barter trading among kind-hearted grannies and aunties (and sometimes uncles, too). This time what I got was these two fresh bamboo shoots.

I like bamboo shoots, but I have to admit that it’s a pain in the neck to cook fresh ones properly to get rid of the harshness. How to do it? You need to pre-boil them in hot water with a lot of rice bran added. And you need to hurry; the longer you leave them in the sheaths like this, the stronger the harshness will be.

If rice bran is not available, you can use rice rinsing water instead. That’s what I did this time. And my mom told me to leave the bamboo shoots in the rice rinsing water overnight after boiling them in it. If it was only my mom who said that, I wouldn’t have believed it, but I found the same advice on the internet, too, so I followed it. But perhaps rice rinsing water is not as effective as rice bran… I didn’t recognize much harshness in takenoko gohan (Japanese pilaf with bamboo shoots), but after eating my takenoko no tosa-ni (bamboo shoots simmered in dashi and extra bonito flakes), I felt strange sensation on my tongue for a while. * Some say that if you boil bamboo shoots long enough and soak them in running water long enough, it is not really necessary to use rice bran or rice-rinsing water. I don't know how true it is, though...

Takenoko no Tosa-ni

But I really enjoyed the crunchiness of the fresh bamboo shoots. :) Thanks, boss.
I guess I'm going to chop up the leftover tosa-ni and use them for another batch of takenoko gohan.



Anonymous said...

That looks great Obachan. I was thinking about posting about takenoko, but after reading yours it looks like too much effort! I think I will go down to the Yakitoriya-obachan and have it there...

purplegirl said...

i've never seen fresh bamboo shoots. i've been using bottled whole ones. i never realized it's quite laborious to prepare them.

obachan said...

Well, if you do it from scratch, it is a lot of work. But if you can get pre-boiled takenoko harvested this year, it's not too bad and could be worth trying. ;)

This is what we do here, but there may be other (easier?) ways to remove harshness. I wonder how people do that in other countries.

Reverend Jon said...

I've just peeled and cut them and cooked them in dashi for about 5 minutes and then made a miso soup with a light miso and some aburage, and there was no harshness. They were ones I had dug myself and they were really rich and buttery. I have also heard that some people eat them raw, dipped in shoyu like sashimi, but I haven't tried it. I just bought some fresh ones from a farmer today, so I'll try with the nuka and see how it turns out. Thanks.